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. In 1935, four hundred years later Sir Thomas More was declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Although both the film and play of A man for all seasons are based on the same text by Robert Bolt, the film version uses different dramatic devices and has different ways of showing Mores stand and enhacing the play. I will focus on different ways I feel the film version (which I have viewd) and a stage version (which I have not viewd) would portry the play. Although I will not be able to see a stage version of a man for all sesons I will try to asses the similarites and differences between a stage and film version.
The film opens in Hapmton court, which immediately emphsises Henrys power and the emense forces of stae, which at the time are stable. The film the shows Wolsey, he is heading for Mores house, this is the first pointin which water imagry is uesed, it is there to make us awaer of the currents that early on are beginning to stir against More. From this scene the camera movestomores house, during this scene we see how close Mores family is .
Amongst the filial closeness we see human nature and all its weaknesses, but as a contrast to this we see More’s understanding of this weakness, this givees the viewer a real insite into his character. We see how inteligent he is but also how kind and understanding he can be. More recievs a letter and the viewer watches as he firstly rads it and then goes on to brun it, again this shows us what mOre is like and how inteligent he is, as he shows a great understanding of the law and also that he may already know that forces are starting to turn against him. We also start to suspect that more will take a stand and that he may already know it. Before More goes to see Wolsey he draws Margret and Alice together to say evening prayer, he finishes by saying ” and bless our Lord the King ” this shows us his lalalty to both Henry and God. It also reminds us later on in the film that although More does in a way turn against the King he alwasys wants to be as faithfull as possible towards him.
Richard Rich also appears in this scene, and we also geta good insite into his character, because More leaves the house saying to rich ” I may have a position for you “, later More returns and tells Rich that the position was that of a school teacher, and Rich almost laughs at this gesture, and goes on to tell More that Master Cromwell said he may have a position for me, Rich then goes on to associtae himself with anyone how he thiks may help him. The next scene again uses water imagry, this time we get a stronger felling that the forces may be moving against him. We also begin to think that more may have to fight to stand against them. At the end of Mores boat journey we see More over pay the boats man, thi helps us build up the side of Mores character, not as the inteligent and powerfull man but as a caring and honest person.
When More enters the room in which Wolsey is at we see Wolseysitting in a large chair behind an impresive desk, this is done to intimidate More and I feel that this oint comes strongly across to the viewers. In this scene it becomes obious that More and Wolsey know eacgh other in some deapth. More knows that Wolsey has a spy network in operation and Is therefor carfull about what he says and does, Wolsey knows the strength of Mores character andalso knows that More is very unlikly to cahnge his opionion over something as important as either of the acts. I feel that this scene also shows that Wolsey may have underestimated More slighty, More is very carful over what he says to Wolsey and does not say anything incriminating, at this point I got the feeling that Wolsey had origionally thought that More may slip up and say something wrong.
I really thought that this scene was well produced because the audience really gets the impression that Wolsey is trying to intimidate More and we therefor see More’s strength of character, as he doesn,t seem to even notice this fact. In myopinion this scene would come across better on the film version than stage because the lighting can be effectivly used to highlight Wolsey showing his power. The audience gets to know More in a little more depth in ths scene becaue we firstly see how cautious he is, even in the early stages of the film, and secondally we are shown Mores strengthof character.