Best Picture Winners Part 39 (of 87): A Man For All Seasons


Title: A Man For All Seasons
Year: 1966
Starring: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Orson Welles
Runtime: 2 hr 1 min

What It Is: Sir Thomas More is a man of great morality, and in the time and place in which he lives that might not be the best character trait. You see he lives in 16th century England a place run by “The Mad King” Henry VII. More is a lawyer and more so the chancellor of England, but when he seeks to get his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled in order to marry Anne Boleyn More will not allow such “heresy” in his words. It is this action that causes More to resign from his appointment as chancellor. It also causes Henry to reject the Roman Catholic church and do what he wanted to anyway. Still Henry seeks More’s approval of his newest nuptials. This is a slowly paced borefest, and after you see the other nominee you’ll know the definition of “Oscar bait”.

Memorable Quote: Sir Thomas More: I do none harm, I say none harm, I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith I long not to live.

Competition: Decent. Up first is Alfie which sees Michael Caine chasing skirts and all the while beginning to learn a thing or two. Based on a Bill Naughton play Alfie is not a man who has any regard for the woman in his life. Gilda is one such woman and she is newly pregnant by Alfie’s hand, or…other appendage. Meanwhile Vivien Merchant plays a married woman named Lily who shacks up with Alfie. For her performance she did recieve an Oscar nomination. Despite it’s title The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! this one is about when a Soviet submarine is caught in a sandbar off the coast New England Lt. Rozanov (Alan Arkin) is tasked with attempting to remove it. This Cold War era comedy still plays rather well but its title over shadows any legacy left behind. Arkin is fun & funny but sadly the direction is too wishy washy and limp wristed to really sink in. Steve McQueen received his only Oscar nomination for The Sand Pebbles. In this war drama based on a Richard McKenna novel he plays machinist Jake Holman. Holman is based in the Yangtze River. As Holman makes enemies of the crew on his ship, due to his hardworking attitude and lack of pushing work off to the migrants on board. Lastly Liz Taylor won an Oscar for her performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Her smoldering lava of a turn as Martha made this Mike Nichols film into one of the 60’s best. This will not be the last time we have that discussion in regards to the late Nichols’ films. Sandy Dennis supporting here tells a story of a relationship and sanity in ruins.

Next year is 1967, and this is a great freaking year. I cannot wait to share with you guys the excellent films that came out that year.

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