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Cromwell, Disgusted with the policies of King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell plans to take his family to the New World. But on the eve of their departure, Cromwell is drawn into the tangled web of religion and politics that will result in the English Civil War.

A Fascinating Vista!

Cromwell, A wonderful film which ranks with El Cid as one of the best historical blockbusters ever made. I’ve mentioned before that imaginative “B” directors often turn out staid and uninspired “A” work. This hasn’t happened here. True, some critics feel that the non-battle scenes lack power, but I found them far more interesting and forceful. The inner action of men’s minds, the crackle, dart and thrust of their speech, their motives, aspirations, stubborn beliefs and hidden agenda formed for me a richer panorama, a far more fascinating vista than the mere brute clash of iron against steel.

The acting is well-night perfect with both Guinness and Harris superbly cast as contrasting king and conqueror. It is these two powerful players, both giving the performances of their lives, who rightly dominate the action. The director’s script — following history itself — brilliantly thrusts them center stage and cleverly keeps them there until the inexorable end.

It’s hard to keep audience interest alive when the outcome of the plot is so well-known, but Hughes manages to work up such sympathy and suspense, we concentrate all our attention on events as they unfold so fascinatingly before our eyes. The sets, the costumes, the rich details and panoply of court and parliamentary life are alone so gripping — and beautiful to behold — that occasionally historical events seem like an intrusion! And that is exactly the right approach for a writer- director to take, crowding our hearts with such an abundance of inspiring and abhorrent images and ideas, there is no time to reflect. In Hughes’ hands history is always vigorously alive, never static or blandly familiar, — let alone moribund or dull.

The Day of the Jackal

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