Cromwell

1970

Biography / Drama / History / War

4
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 5036

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 17, 2020 at 03:57 PM

Director

Cast

Richard Harris as Oliver Cromwell
Alec Guinness as King Charles 'Stuart' I
Timothy Dalton as Prince Rupert
Robert Morley as The Earl of Manchester
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.25 GB
1280*534
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 19 min
P/S 2 / 17
2.33 GB
1920*800
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 19 min
P/S 6 / 25

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by benbrae76 8 / 10

What happened to the warts?

Being a lay student of these times I was naturally interested in this movie, and to a great extent I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable, but what happened to the Battle of Marston Moor? Was history wrong and the battle never fought? Cromwell was depicted as the over all commander of the New Model Army (i.e the "Roundheads") at the battle of Naseby. He wasn't, Sir Thomas Fairfax was. Cromwell was the commander of the cavalry.

The Civil War was not a conflict over religion, although it played it's part. It was about "the divine right of kings", against the governance of, by and for the people, i.e. Rex v Parliament. Divided loyalties and opinions were split right across the board.

The capital charges of treason brought against the king was, to my mind, not altogether trumped up, and had some validity. However it was of course a "show trial", and to bring it about the laws had to be changed rapidly. There was no edict at the time that allowed anyone to put a monarch on trial. Issac Dorislaus (a Dutch lawyer) came to the rescue of Parliament. He wrote an order that would enable it to set up the court. This order was based on an old Roman law which stated that a military body (in this case the Parliamentary forces) could legally overthrow a tyrant. Naturally Charles I did not agree, either to this law, or that he was a tyrant. He was still the King, still the Head of State, and as such, above the law. He could do as he wished, and was answerable only to God. For him it was an unfortunate way of looking at things.

The casting of this movie was extremely well thought out, but with one exception. Cromwell himself. I'm not criticising Richard Harris in any way. He played the role superbly, but I'm sure he didn't have an Irish accent. Also he had some extremely noticeable warts on his face which Richard Harris did not. Had the make-up artists gone on vacation? To his credit Richard overcame this miscasting, and acquitted the characterisation of the brusque, complex, and religiously enigmatic Oliver Cromwell with great fervour and passion, and I doubt if anyone else could have done it any better.

On the subject of accents, I wonder whether or not the Scottish accent adopted by Alec Guinness was apt. As Charles I left Scotland at the age of 4, and lived in England until his death, surely he would have cultivated an English one? True he had a Scottish tutor, but I'm still left to wonder. Perhaps someone could set me right.

(Just as a byline, I find it curious that Richard Harris, being an Irishman, accepted the part. In the greater part of Ireland the very name of Oliver Cromwell is loathed and reviled, and for good reason, so it says much for Harris's devotion to the acting profession that he actually did.) Being a musician, I was highly amused at seeing (and hearing) bugles played on horseback during a 17th century battle, reminiscent of the US 7th cavalry. Such instruments weren't developed to such an advanced stage until late into the following century (the 18th).

As another reviewer has noted, Cromwell was certainly not one of the "Five Members" who were to be removed from the House and arrested. These were: John Pym, John Hampden, Denzil Holles, Sir Arthur Haselrig and William Strode. A sixth man, Lord Mandeville (the future Earl of Manchester) was also to be taken.

There are quite a few more historical mistakes and omissions on which other reviewers have remarked, and I don't intend to repeat them. But in defence of the producers it must be said that "The English Civil War" was a momentous stage in British, perhaps even world history, and to illustrate it all in a couple of hours is impossible. Much as Shakespeare, when writing "Henry V", managed on a small stage to capture the flavour of Agincourt and events leading up to it, so this production coped well with a similar task on film. Therefore if certain liberties were taken, and artistic licence used, I think they can, in this case, be excused. Should it have encouraged one student to scuttle towards the history books (or now websites), to learn more about the whole period, then I would say it was a job well done.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10

This Country Will Be Well Governed If I Have To Do It Myself

Cromwell was an ambitious undertaking for Director Ken Hughes and his two stars Richard Harris and Alec Guinness. He managed to capture the spirit of that part of the 17th century even if he didn't get all his facts right.

Like the many tellings of the story of Mary Tudor and Mary Stuart which have them in climatic meeting, we have Oliver Cromwell and Mary Stuart's grandson, Charles I meeting not once, but several times. They too never met, but the story demands it.

In point of fact Oliver Cromwell was a minor figure in the war between the Crown and Parliament until the Parliamentary Army lost a series of battles and looked like they were going down for the count. It was at that point that Cromwell emerged as a military leader. It turned out that this previously obscure member of Parliament who had no previous military training had a natural genius for warmaking. He turned that army around and eventually Parliament won.

Cromwell could have been George Washington at this point and retired to the farm, but he used his prestige and not as reluctantly as this film shows to make himself the military dictator of Great Britain with the title of Lord Protector.

The experience of Cromwell's reign scarred the English body politic for generations and to a large degree the American one as well. The whole struggle over which interpretation of Christianity would hold sway was something all of the ancestors of the American founding fathers had to deal with. That's when the idea came to them to have no established religion in America. Cromwell's large standing Ironsides Army enforcing his dictatorship led to a positive mania about no standing armies, no quartering of troops and even the right to bear arms. All this because of a collective memory of the Lord Protector.

Richard Harris is a lean and mean Cromwell who keeps saying he just wants to go back to the farm, but somehow winds up grabbing for more power. Alec Guinness is the perfect conception of that luckless monarch Charles I. Please note the relationship between Guinness and Queen Henrietta Marie played by Dorothy Tutin. Two things should be remembered there. First Henrietta Marie is the sister of Louis XIV of France, a monarch with considerable more power than Charles has. Note how Tutin is constantly berating Guinness for not standing up to the Parliament. He does and see where it gets him. Secondly Charles I is one of the very few English monarchs with no royal paramours. He and the Queen were actually in love and he knew her advice was from the heart if it proved disastrous.

Please note a couple of other good performances, Timothy Dalton as Prince Ruppert of the Rhine, Charles's nephew from Germany who actually was a whole lot smarter than he's shown here. And Robert Morley as the Earl of Manchester, one of Cromwell's rivals in the Parliamentary camp.

Oliver Cromwell died in 1558 quite suddenly and within two years the Stuart Monarchy was restored under Charles II, oldest son of Charles I and Henrietta Marie. The collapse of the Protectorate is a subject that English historians have some raging debates over. It was very much like the collapse of the Soviet Union in our time. The collapse of the Protectorate and the Restoration of the Stuarts was filmed in Douglas Fairbanks Jr.'s The Exile and really needs an up to date treatment.

Cromwell as a film is magnificently photographed and directed and actually won an Oscar for costume design. But the flaws in the story line are too many and don't use this film as Cliff's notes kids.

Reviewed by Wulfstan10 5 / 10

Pretty lavish but uneven and inaccurate

This film ultimately fails as an historical drama. It has some pretty good elements. The production values of the costumes, scenes, etc., are overall quite good. Guinness is great as Charles: he looks a lot like him, and he does a good job at conveying the king's tyrannical, autocratic stance, his conviction in his belief that he's right, his nobility to the end, and the fact that while he usually ended up taking bad positions or doing the wrong things, he did so not entirely for bad reasons (at least in his own mind), for he was sure that he was right. The film also makes some modicum of effort at showing Cromwell's more troubling qualities, too, making him out to be the noble hero, but not entirely covering up his transformation into ruthless, hypocritical dictator.

However, the film has equally strong bad points. It tends to drag at many points and frequently gives the impression of being an overly drawn-out stage production that fails to be fully convincing. More serious, though, is the problem that, although presenting itself as historical, it plays fast and loose with history. It does not fully explain the causes of the Civil War or the differences of viewpoints within each side, especially the Parliamentarians, not all of whom were fighting for the same reasons. It portrays the Royalist forces as the flashy, well-equipped and stronger element when in reality the Parliament forces were not only much more numerous, but usually much better equipped as well (after all, it was not a war of rag-tag, grass-roots rebels trying to topple the government; each side represented in part one branch of the government and Parliament, not the king, was the body that held the purse strings). In addition, the Royalists often did quite well in battle despite their inferior forces. It clearly makes Cromwell out to be too important from the start: rather than being one of the key leaders in the beginning, he really started out as a military commander and simply rose to prominence over time. Finally, Cromwell, despite some of his autocratic tendency coming through, is still shown to be too much the reluctant, noble hero, and the film only hints at his other face, one which in short order made him none too popular in England, let alone Ireland. Needless to say, nothing is mentioned of his willingness to shed the blood of Royalists and Catholics, or to destroy historic architecture that conflicted with his Puritan views.

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