We now see a slightly different side of Henry, during his wedding to Anne Boelyn we see him mistake a man in the crowd for More, this shows us that Henry is till hoping, up until the last minute that ore will join him. We know that Henry regards More as a friend and that he really would have liked his fellowship on the act. This scene isn’t in the original text but again I think that it works well because it shows us that Henry is not just a cold hearted monster, and also makes us think that More may have taken the wrong option.
I think that a stage version without this scene would portray Henry in a more harsh way and also lose out from not showing the other options More could have taken.
The next scene is in the tower, I think that this is a key part of the film. The setting is sombre grey and cold that symbolises the political climate at the time and at this time More was a social outcast.
During this scene we see Cromwell defeated by More, More shows his deep knowledge of the king, which is much to Cromwell’s aggravation, because More proves to know Henry better than Cromwell. More tells Cromwell that Henry will not lie on oath and this annoys Cromwell.
When More leaves for his home he calls for a boat, but on realising who he is all the boats men turn their torches to the river symbolising they are not in service.
This shows us the common man’s actions, he doesn’t want to put himself in any danger of displeasing the king. More begins to walk home and on the way he meets up with Norfolk. We now get o see how More looks out for his friends however much they may dislike him as a result. More intentionally picks and argument with Norfolk so that he will no longer associate with him. This shows us that More knows that he is a dangerous person to associate with. We also learn a little about Norfolk’s character, he cannot understand why More wont join them….. for fellowship.
On More’s journey home it is very windy, this shows the forces of state moving against him. More next meets Margaret and she tells him that a new act has been passed through parliament, More immediately asks her what the wording says because he thinks there may be a chance that he can sign it. It is now significant that the words “so far as the law of God allows” have been taken out this is what More could have “legally” objected to but now he has no ground to oppose the act.
The next time we see More he is in the tower of London, he is then taken for questioning by Cromwell. More sits down in front of Cromwell, Cranmere and Norfolk. Again Norfolk shows that he cannot understand why More is opposing them and why he would take such a prominent stand. The actor portrays More very well in this scene, he answers the questions directly and quickly in order to give away as little of his thoughts. We see in this scene that Canmere is the first person to get to More, instead of repeatedly asking More what he is opposed to Cranmere asks,
“Is this what your unsure of?” this is the first time ore has been asked anything other than what he is opposed to. This is the first time we see More hesitate over his opinions. At the end of Mores interview we see Cromwells true cruelty, when More asks for some more books Cromwell looks at him and says, “You have books? you shouldn’t have books.” Cromwell knows that More loves learning and reading and thinks that having even one book may be helping More stay strong. This shows Cromwell’s cruelty and also his knowledge of human weakness especially Mores. It also tells us a little about More whose love of learning can get him through almost anything, this shows us that he has a truly strong soul.
In the following scene we see Rich’s cruelty and selfishness Rich says to Cromwell “Rack him”. This must of totally shocked More when a man whom he had welcomed into his home offered jobs to and befriended could in return be so cold hearted to him. More and the audience also know that Rich is only saying this because he thinks it may be what Cromwell wants to here. Rich is quickly corrected and told that at this point the king will not allow this to happen.
We next see More in a different cell, during the scene More comments that his cell is damp on account f it being close to the river, this shows us that Cromwell is trying to drain More of both his physical and mental strength. The following part of this scene More receives a visit from his family and I think that this part has a huge impact upon the viewers because it really brings home the consequences of Mores actions.
The first thing that I noticed about Mores family was that the quality of their clothes had deteriorated. We see that Mores spirits have been lifted by the visit, until he finds out that Meg has sworn on oath to try to persuade More to sign to the act. Margaret pleads with her father to return home, she understands why he is taking the stand but she wants her old life back, she is intelligent but she is also human. More and Alice under go a role reversal, More initially takes charge by telling his family to leave the country on separate boats from separate ports, this shows us that More knows that Cromwell may go after them. But suddenly More breaks down leaving Alice to become dominant and take control of the situation. I think that if performed on stage this scene would be extremely dramatic and have a massive impact on the audience because the atmosphere would be greater than that created by the film.
The camera moves to a court scene, we see the royal coat of arms, which includes lions and unicorns. We also see Henry, these things together emphasis the force of state and the fact that Henry has won. In contrast to this we see More alone which signifies that it was only More who stood for his beliefs until the end. More asks for a chair and we know that Cromwell has succeeded in draining More physically but not mentally.
When the trial begins we see a contrast between Cromwell’s harsh and direct technique and Mores light and humorous touch. During the trial it becomes clear to More and the viewer that the trial has been fixed and More has no chance of winning, we also realise that More had under estimated how far Henry was willing to take the case. During the trial More stays calm and quiet until Rich gives his ” evidence”, More now knows that he has absolutely no chance of winning because Rich has lied upon oath and More refuses to stoop so low. At one point Rich looks at More at the viewer thinks maybe, just maybe Rich will change his mind and not commit perjury. When Rich has given his fake evidence More says to him,
” In truth Rich I am sadder for your perjury than for my peril” I feel that this statement sums up More completely, he is more concerned that Rich has lied to God than he is about himself being found guilty and being executed. When More finds out that because Rich has committed perjury he has been appointed attorney general of Wales he jokes, “It benefits a man nothing to sell his soul for the whole world, but for Wales.” this shows Mores humour in the worst situation and also his strength of character. Once again More shows his knowledge of the law, when the judges set his punishment More says, “When I was practising law it was customary to let the accused have something to say”. When More does begin to speak Cromwell turns to him and says
“We can clearly see your malicious” this is the point at which the judges do use their authority over Cromwell and allow More to continue speaking. When More is eventually sentenced he again is shown alone, this makes the audience think that even though he took and amazing stand he ended up alone. This runs parallel to a statement made by a woman she said, “Even though you were honest you still came to this”.
We then see More with his head in the block and he is about to die, we once again see the common man who this time takes the place of the common man he asks More and God to forgive him. The film ends in a similar way the way it began. The scene is outside Hampton Court, this shows Henry’s power and the fact that the forces of state are once again returning to normal. A voice over tells us what happened to all the people we saw More come into contact with throughout the film.
This part is put in at the end of the film instead of three-quarters of the way through, as in the original text. I think that it is better here because in the text you find out what happened to More before you read the actual event, which for me spoiled the ending. The film version comes to a conclusion in a better way because the sorry is well rounded off and leaves the viewer with something to think about because it is only at the end that we find out that rich was the only one who died in his bed. The message here I think was that even though Rich committed perjury and was generally dishonest he was the only one who died peacefully where as More who was always honest died in a awful way before his time.
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