Two Excellent Films With Oscar NominationsA Man for All Seasons poses the question: What would a man sacrifice for his principles?
When Henry VIII seeks approval to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn, the Pope stands in his way, and his new Chancellor and Cardinal--Sir Thomas More--stands in his way as well, leading to England's split from the Roman Catholic Church and the creation of the Anglican Church, the Church of England.
Henry VIII wants Sir Thomas More's blessing in his action, but does not get it as Sir Thomas feels compelled to stand upon his principles and do the right thing.
Henry VIII gets every person of any consequence in England to sign an oath (the Act of Supremacy), endorsing his action, except Sir Thomas, who will not sign, and remains silent as to the reason why he will not sign.
This movie (made in 1966, the year I graduated from Michigan State University) won 6 Oscars in 1967, among them Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. A Man for All Seasons is a period piece with exacting details of the day and time. Sir Thomas More is a scholar and statesman who becomes the leading humanist of the Renaissance Era.
A Man for All Seasons is a story about everything that is right in England and life (Sir Thomas More's integrity to his principles) and everything that is wrong in England and life (greed, avarice, lust, lying, cheating, stealing, the corruption of power, and the corruption of religious leaders).
In the end, Sir Thomas is the only person in England who will die for his principles, and commit himself to God's hands for judgment. He is betrayed by an ambitious, lower level appointed attorney general, Richard, whose outright lie condemns Sir Thomas to be beheaded.
Sir Thomas More loses his head (no pun intended) but most importantly, not his soul. Sir Thomas is later canonized as Saint Thomas More by the Roman Catholic Church. Henry VIII subsequently dies of syphilis, and the evil Thomas Cromwell (who orchestrates Thomas' demise) is himself judged a traitor to England 5 years later and is beheaded.
This movie does not deviate from the truth of Sir Thomas More's stance, and as such provides a role model for acting with right thinking and right motives, even at the cost of one's life.
The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl has to be the best pirate movie ever made, earning 5 Oscar nominations, and Johnny Depp (as Captain Jack Sparrow) delivered the best pirate performance ever.
Depp earned a Best Actor nomination following release of the film in 2003, but did not win, of course, because he chooses not to live in Hollywood and practice the art of kissing up, sucking up, and putting on a public display of importance, like I care what actors think about politics.
Johnny Depp looks and acts like a pirate you could like, and his wearing of the costume and persona is second to none (Savvy, Mate).
This story is really about Captain Jack Sparrow losing his ship (The Black Pearl), and then embarking on a quest to find and win The Black Pearl back from his rival Barbossa (played by Geoffrey Rush) while helping save the governor's daughter Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightly) from fellow pirates along the way.
Also chasing Elizabeth is the dashing Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who enlists the aid of Captain Jack Sparrow to find her kidnappers.
This film is littered with interesting characters who collectively help make this film great entertainment under the direction of Gore Verbinski. The Curse of the Black Pearl has great writing, directing, acting, photography, suspense, action, surprise and a musical score to match.
And the end? A man finding his freedom with the ship he loves. What could be better?
The Curse of the Black Pearl became the 22nd highest grossing film in USA film history, pretty improbable for a pirate flick, but then there is Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. I have seen this film three times and would see it a fourth, which is really saying something for me.
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