Monday, 22 July 2013

Richard III & Anne Neville: A Defining Moment


Such beautiful scenes last night in "The White Queen". We seem to have turned a corner with Richard III, who until now was remembered only as the Laurence Olivier caricature.
We now know what he looked like. 5 feet 8 inches, muscular, good-looking and with scoliosis to the spine which meant that he was slightly disabled, but definitely not a hunchback--indeed, his scoliosis would only have been seen, if at all, when he removed his shirt, and even then it may have been hidden underneath the muscle. 
Another myth was that he menaced Anne Neville into marrying him. He is on record as going to pieces when she died, and in public. Kings never did that sort of thing unless they were genuine.
This Richard--Aneurin Barnard--I find staggeringly charismatic. Like John Barrymore, he has "The Profile". His gaze is intense, and he exudes charisma. That little scene where he told her he loved her, then asked her to marry him, will go down as a defining celluloid moment--like the end of "Queen Christina" or "Ashes & Diamonds"--but most especially because, historically with what is happening in Leicester, it comes at precisely the right time.
It was also a nice touch, when they were making love on their wedding night--purposely staged so that we could see his bare back, and how normal he was.
"The White Queen" is one of the nicest things that has been on British television for years. Okay, so they haven't quite got Edward right--even at 6 foot 2 inches and rather hunky, Max Irons still isn't as tall or as powerfully built as Edward was. Margaret Beaufort as the overtly religious, evil Tudor mother, is perfect, as is just about everyone else.
But Richard--he is the icing on a very delicious, richly satisfying cake! 

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