A Man for all Seasons (about Sir Thomas More)

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I eventually got around to watching the film A Man for All Seasons, which was recommended by the popular Catholic speaker Bishop Barron.

From IMDB:
The story takes place in sixteenth century England. But men like Sir Thomas More, who love life yet have the moral fiber to lay down their lives for their principles, are found in every century. Concentrating on the last seven years of the English Chancellor's life, the struggle between More and King Henry VIII hinges on Henry's determination to break with Rome so he can divorce his current wife and wed again, and good Catholic More's inability to go along with such heresy. More resigns as Chancellor, hoping to be able to live out his life as a private citizen. But Henry will settle for nothing less than that the much respected More give public approval to his headstrong course.

I really enjoyed some of the moral complexities of Sir Thomas More's position, where he had to tread a very fine line between not assenting to what he perceived to be heresies against the Roman Catholic Church and not actively engaging in (what would be seen as) treasonous opposition to the authority of the King of England. The movie shows him as a morally upright Chancellor who never accepted bribes. This integrity is contrasted with the contagonists of the show named Richard Rich, who insists that "everyone has a price" and who was willing to set aside moral scruples for recognition. More advised him to become a teacher instead of a barrister, because More knew deep down he did not have the moral fiber to deny himself the temptations that came along with power. Rich rebuffed this advice and instead threw in his lot with Chief Minister Thomas Cromwell, who was responsible for laying out the legal case for King Henry VIII's divorce and marriage to Anne Bolyn, as well as laying the foundations for the dissolution (ransacking) of the monasteries in England and Wales by a quisling aristocracy and granting the Monarch supremacy over the Church of England.

While the show does not have a happy ending, it was an enjoyable to witness the legal complexities that abounded in societies that thought of themselves as liberal (Cromwell often contrasted free England with "tyrannical" Spain due to the respect for rule of law) in spite of being transparently totalitarian by our own standards of free speech and freedom of association. I see reflections of it in our own society, where scientific bodies and institutions have replaced religious ones as the chief fulcrum of power by which the ruling powers manipulate the world.

This was one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Sir Thomas More is acted by Paul Scofield, who was the actor in the 1960 play the 1966 movie was based on.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Just thought I'd mention that Sir Thomas More is a direct line ancestor of mine. His gr. gr. granddaughter, Cicely, married Peter Knight. They became the parents of Capt. Peter Knight who emigrated to Virginia colony.
 

goyacobol

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
While the show does not have a happy ending, it was an enjoyable to witness the legal complexities that abounded in societies that thought of themselves as liberal (Cromwell often contrasted free England with "tyrannical" Spain due to the respect for rule of law) in spite of being transparently totalitarian by our own standards of free speech and freedom of association. I see reflections of it in our own society, where scientific bodies and institutions have replaced religious ones as the chief fulcrum of power by which the ruling powers manipulate the world.

Thanks for sharing @whitecoast. I remember watching this years ago and it really impressed me. I thought the actor who played Sir Thomas More, Paul Scofield, made it riveting to watch.
 
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