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Forgotten Classics: Cromwell

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  • Forgotten Classics: Cromwell

    I have had a hard time finding an English Civil War film. Whether it's just a forgotten war or simply a time period where no one can see the costumes and take the people seriously, ECW movies seem to be in short supply. And now that I have found Cromwell, I doubt I'll find another I can appreciate as well. I happened to stumble across it on Netflix in the People Who Liked El Cid Also Liked reccomendation box. Now that I've seen it, I'll definitely have to get my own copy.

    Cromwell starts out with a star studded cast, and I was surprised to see that even Timothy Dalton was on the roll, dapper as ever despite a pre-James Bond appearance. Richard Harris plays the roll of Oliver Cromwell. Someone left the cake out in the rain and this time it's personal. (We'll see how many get that joke!) Alec Guiness appears as the king of England.

    I thought of posting this on my period film thread but it deserves special recognition. As a period film it is a fine work. The costumes are colorful, even the table manners are up to period, and the actors do a fine job portraying the values and zeal of the time.

    What really surprised me were the battle scenes. I have learned not to expect much of battle scenes in the '60s, '70s moviemaking era. They just didn't have the technology and choreographical skill to really make rip roaring action sequence. But the battle scenes of Cromwell are shockingly good. Rather than haphazard, low budget, and often very brief spouts of action, Cromwell does a fine job. I do not know if the Battle of Edgehill was reenacted in historically correct fashion, but it is definitely well choreographed. The soldiers march in proper formation and close order and when the men melee the battle actually looks like a [email protected]!!s out fight rather than hokey hack and slash where the actors just do the left hack, right hack screenplay fencing that gets old in two seconds.

    And despite the costumes, I was able to take the characters seriously. Although Richard Harris' soldier training sequence did make me laugh. Man was not meant to vault over walls while wearing Hessian boots and pantaloons. It just looks ridiculous.

    I was very pleased and very impressed. It's not every day you can get a movie with the dialogue and historical flavor of the '60s with the battle scene quality of a modern movie. Definitely worth seeing. And I'm going to hit up Barnes & Noble and see if I can get my own copy.
    A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

  • #2
    It is a great film. Alec Guiness was also great as Charles.
    If the art of war were nothing but the art of avoiding risks,glory would become the prey of mediocre minds. Napoleon


    • #3
      I'll agree that Cromwell is an above average movie. It might possibly have the best battle scenes of the matchlock period.
      Lance W.

      Peace through superior firepower.


      • #4
        Good movie. I'd like to own a copy.
        "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence".




        • #5
          One of the reasons for the 'accurate' looking battle scenes, is because the UK is and has been very big in ECW re enactment. Accuracy for living the life, costume accuracy and battlefield tactics is the watchword of the English Civil War & Sealed Knot Societies. There are even people who live the life 24/7 & live in period dwellings.

          ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
          All human ills he can subdue,
          Or with a bauble or medal
          Can win mans heart for you;
          And many a blessing know to stew
          To make a megloamaniac bright;
          Give honour to the dainty Corse,
          The Pixie is a little shite.


          • #6
            Boy howdy, I gotta rent that.
            I often think how much easier the world would have been to manage if Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini had been at Oxford. Lord Halifax


            • #7
              I got my VHS copy a few years, when our local video shop was selling off most of his stock to make way for DVDs. Great film.
              Never Fear the Event

              Admiral Lord Nelson


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