Friday, 21 May 2010

Best Actor 1964: Peter O'Toole in Becket

Peter O'Toole received his second Oscar Nomination for playing King Henry II in Becket.

This is the first time O'Toole played Henry II since he would play him again in The Lion in Winter. O'Toole is possibly the only person who was nominated for the same role twice and is almost equally great in both. O'Toole really shows a different side of Henry in Becket but still the same person as in the Lion in Winter. He shows a younger Henry, a more exuberant Henry, and a Henry with vastly different problems than the one in the Lion in Winter.

O'Toole plays Henry in a very loud and almost over the top manner, but I do not ever think he goes completely over the top. He shows Henry to be a boisterous man, but also at times one who has a greater understanding of things. O'Toole is always effective and Henry changes emotions in a heartbeat, which O'Toole handles very well. O'Toole makes it believable that Henry would say how he hates Becket so much, but then despair over having to mistreat him.

O'Toole like Burton commands great presence in this film. He always gives the proper strength to his performance to show the strength of the King. O'Toole controls the scenes without Burton impeccably well, and never does anything that is even slightly dull. Something interesting I found in his performance was that is was both dramatically compelling and very entertaining at times too. I really enjoyed the scenes where he ridicules his children and mother, because O'Toole was so entertaining in them. O'Toole finds the proper balance though and never forgets the different facets of the character. 

Like I said in Burton's review, Burton and O'Toole work fantastically together.  every scene they share together is brilliant. Their best scene though being their last scene together which works incredibly well because both men are at the top of their form. O'Toole best scene probably alone though is his scene where he indirectly signs Becket's death warrant.O'Toole shows all the sides of Henry here brilliantly. He shows the man's humble and his cruel side, and is the equal of Burton's last scene.


Anonymous said...

Definitely a great performance from what I remember.

joe burns said...

I think he'll be ahead of Burton in your ranking. Would you say his performance in The Lion In Winter is better?

Louis Morgan said...

Well both are interestingly different, since he is more entertaining in Becket, but in The Lion in Winter he packs the greater emotional punch. But overall I'd say he was slightly better in the Lion in Winter.

Tanvir Bashar said...

Which actors wud u say r o tooles contemporaries