The camera now pans to a river scene, this time the river is calm and the sun is shinning brightly upon the river. I think that this shows that even though all seems calm at this time there are still the underneath currents just waiting to take over. I think that it reflects the current situation, More has just received the position as chancellor, and so far there is little for him to be worried about. What More may however not realise is that, the longer he refuses to sign to the act the stronger the currants will get, and eventually they take over entirely.
We now see Henry who is on his way to see his friend, Sir Thomas More. This is the only time that Henry would appear in a stage performance, which may be better because it would further show how although he appears for a very short amount of time his actions influence the whole play. Henry is not travelling alone, but with a large group of people. In the film there is an effective extra part to Henrys arrival scene, when the boat he is travelling on arrives at Henrys house the boats man cannot sail up to shore so stops the boat near the grass verge, Henry very confidently jumps out of the boat and the finds himself knee deep in muddy water, all is then silent in an air of anticipation as to what response Henry would make to this. Henry starts to laugh and on some sort of magical cue so did everyone else.
This shows just how careful every one was around Henry, they all knew that one false move could send them to jail or worse. This also shows the contrast between More and Henry. This is the only scene in which we hear henry speak yet he influences the whole play. In the film Henry is dressed entirely in gold, this shows him as a huge golden blob almost like the sun, all-important, and the world revolves around it. Henry is surrounded by and aura of power, there is also a connection to Edward 1v who’s logo was the sun in splendour. From this we can tell that at the time Henry was still a very much beloved king.
The camera again pans to Comwell who is dressed all in brown, he looks at More as if to say “Why are you here?” this shows that Cromwell is becoming more powerful. Next there is a scene between Henry and More, Henry is desperate for More to sign the act and is determined to take More with him. Henry greatly respects More and wants to keep their friendship, but underneath the friendship More and Henry both know the threats are still there. Henry tells More that he wants him to sign more than anyone else which I think must have put More in a very compromising situation because he always tried to uphold his loyalty to Henry.
More refuses to sign the act, but Henry still implies that if More doesn’t actively protest against him then they can stay friends. After this Henry selfishly leaves without eating, this shows us that Henry was used to getting his own way and when he didn’t become anti-social. During the scene we see a side of Henry which may somewhat explain his power, When Henry arrives at Mores house he talks to Margaret about her intellect. The pair begin a conversation in Latin and when he thinks there may be a chance of her being more advanced than him he ends the conversation and asks her,
“And can you dance?” When her reply is negative he is pleased and feels he has come out of the conversation on top. It is clear that Henry loves to be the centre of attention and absolutely hated being upstaged. Henry leaves the meeting because Anne Boelyn likes to dance in the evenings, This shows us just how involved Henry had become with her in a short amount of time. It shows again that Henry is probably of an unstable temperament and can fall in and out of love easily.
In the next scene we see Roper, Alice and More with the left over food, Roper congratulates More on his argument with Henry but More is quick to point out that Roper should be careful over what he says, especially about the king. This shows Mores personality and intelligence, he already knows that he has to be cautious over what he says and also that if Henry cant influence him then he may go after his family or friends.
Rich is constantly backing away from the trouble surrounding More because he knows that it may displease the King if he is scene to be associating with More. I think that this sums up Rich’s character extremely well, because although More has always been there for him, and supported and attempted to find him a job, Rich doesn’t seem to find it difficult to turn his back on More. During the conversation Margate comments that Rich should be put in prison, but again showing his understanding and respect for the law More says that to his knowledge Rich has never actually broken the law and therefor should not be put in prison. More also comments that even the devil himself should not be put in prison if he had not broke the law. Throughout the film the audience sees this turn against More because he never breaks the law but is imprisoned and killed.
The next scene I feel is important because it shows Rich going to meet Cromwell, water imagery is again used. This time the water is dark and murky, which gives the impression that forces and opinions are getting mixed up and this is making the future unclear, it also shows that the once stable forces of state are gradually becoming unstable. I think that this scene is the scene in which we learn the most about Cromwell and his techniques. He shows how cunning he is, because he starts off by joking with Rich in a somewhat friendly way, this is an attempt to put Rich at ease with the situation, it is also an attempt to become friendly with Rich so later he will feel more comfortable divulging information to Cromwell. We also learn a lot about Rich because we witness him consciously going along with Cromwell because he thinks he may get something out of him. When Cromwell thinks he has got Rich in a relaxed state he suddenly pounces,
” A goblet, he gave you a goblet” this shows how powerful Cromwell would have appeared and how he knew how to pick the perfect moment for his questions. I think that this scene was well portrayed in the film, because when you see Cromwell come across in such a strong way it is easy to see why people were intimidated by him. In a way it made me a little more sympathetic with the characters Cromwell did persuaded to give false evidence.
The scene now changes to the convocation of bishops, amongst their conversation the general message the viewer gets is that Henry is overpowering the church, and after being fined for taking so long over their decision they decide to agree to the act. This shows us that it was not only More who was opposed to the act, it also shows us that it was just More who stood for his beliefs. As a result of the bishops decision More e decides to give up his position as chancellor. The scene in which he does this is very significant and also very well produced in the film. As More goes to take off his chain, Roper walks toward him, in an offer to help More remove the chain, but More turns instead to Margaret who says.
“If you like” this shows that although she doesn’t fully agree with what More is doing or even understand why she is willing to help him if he wants her to. When she makes the comment she is also allowing More a little time to reconsider his action. When More doesn’t change his mind Margaret goes on to help her farther remove the chain showing that she is willing to support his stand. I think this scene is very well portrayed by all the actors in the film because the viewer really gets the feeling of how close More is with his family.
Straight after this scene the film moves on to show the consequences of Mores actions, we see More having to part with some of his staff. Up until this point we have seen Alice as a housewife, pure and simple, but now we get to know her real character, a sharp minded and worldly wise woman. Although she is not well educated she can see things from a perspective that More cannot, she realises that even if More abides by the law fully, if Henry wants him to be found guilty he will be. She shows this knowledge when she says to More.
“Poor silly man, do you really think that they will leave you here to fish?” She is saying that henry wont leave More to a quiet life because More has displeased him. More tries to show Alice that he is only doing what he thinks is right and that at the same time trying to protect his family. More asks Alice to put her hand on the bible, and swear she knows nothing of what he is thinking. Alice is an honest God fearing woman and More knows that she would never commit perjury, he therefore thinks it would be better if she knew nothing of what he was thinking.