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Discuss what and how the film version of A Man for All Seasons adds to the original script by Robert Bolt.

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Introduction

Discuss what and how the film version of A Man for All Seasons adds to the original script by Robert Bolt. Consider the two different productions, (stage and film) discussing the different decisions a film and theatre director would have to make in order to show how the man sir Thomas More maintains his beliefs against all odds. Thomas More was alive in the sixteenth century he died in 1535. During his life More became know as a noble and honest man. More was also widely respected by both the public ad the king. At the time Clement V11 was head of the Roman Catholic. In 1531 Henry v111 decided he wanted a divorce from Katherine of Aragon, so that he could legally marry Anne Boleyn. The only way he could do this was to make himself head of the church in England, so that he could annul his marriage to Katherine. In the same year the act of supremacy was passed, making Henry the head of the church, The wording of the document was " so far as the law of God allows" both More and bishops fisher refused to sign the act. In 1533 Cranmer officially annulled and Henry was allowed to secretly marry Anne Boyln. In 1534 the act of supremacy was passed, which stated that any succession to Anne Bolyn was next in line to the throne. On the 13th of April, More and Bishop Fisher refused to take the oath and were therefore condemned to life imprisonment and underwent forfeiture of their goods. The next step Henry took was to make a new act of supremacy, this time leaving out the words "so far as the law of God allows" failure to sign this act meant High treason had been committed, for which the punishment was death. Sir Thomas more was executed on the 6th of July 1535. ...read more.

Middle

During the conversation Margate comments that Rich should be put in prison, but again showing his understanding and respect for the law More says that to his knowledge Rich has never actually broken the law and therefor should not be put in prison. More also comments that even the devil himself should not be put in prison if he had not broke the law. Throughout the film the audience sees this turn against More because he never breaks the law but is imprisoned and killed. The next scene I feel is important because it shows Rich going to meet Cromwell, water imagery is again used. This time the water is dark and murky, which gives the impression that forces and opinions are getting mixed up and this is making the future unclear, it also shows that the once stable forces of state are gradually becoming unstable. I think that this scene is the scene in which we learn the most about Cromwell and his techniques. He shows how cunning he is, because he starts off by joking with Rich in a somewhat friendly way, this is an attempt to put Rich at ease with the situation, it is also an attempt to become friendly with Rich so later he will feel more comfortable divulging information to Cromwell. We also learn a lot about Rich because we witness him consciously going along with Cromwell because he thinks he may get something out of him. When Cromwell thinks he has got Rich in a relaxed state he suddenly pounces, " A goblet, he gave you a goblet" this shows how powerful Cromwell would have appeared and how he knew how to pick the perfect moment for his questions. I think that this scene was well portrayed in the film, because when you see Cromwell come across in such a strong way it is easy to see why people were intimidated by him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also by doing this, the audience would get to know the characters and their strengths and weaknesses, this would help them to relate with More because they would then appreciate how strong the characters were that More had to face. Another way in which both performances could show Mores stand would be to show Mores closeness with his family, because then the audience realises how hard it would have been for More to take the stand that he did, because he was torn between his love for his family and his love for god. In the film version, on several occasions More is shown alone, this emphasises that he was the only person who took the stand and just how remarkable it was. This could also be done in a live performance. During a stage performance the audience would become involved with More's life and because of this they would begin to think "has he done the right thing?" and "what would I do?" this helps More stand be seen for the amazing stand it was. This could also be done in the film version but not to such a great effect. The use of the common man is one of the main points that makes More's stand really noticeable. We are given the common man to act as an average person, much like ourselves, so by looking at the common man's actions we can see a huge contrast between Mores actions and actions similar to our own. In the film the role of the common man is taken on by a number of actors which enhances the film, it shows us that the common man can be in a number of different places or jobs but still has the same basic instincts. In conclusion I think that although the stage performance would have a better atmosphere, I think that the film version of A Man for All Seasons would best show how Sir Thomas More stood for his beliefs against all odds. By Carla Jones 11y October 2002 ...read more.

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