Sunday, June 12, 2011

Robert Bolt

Reading Gregory Wolfe's Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age, Michael Potemra discovers something I never would have suspected:
.... I learned a remarkable fact that I think will be as surprising to many others as it was to me. Robert Bolt, author of A Man for All Seasons — the play and film about St. Thomas More that is beloved of many religious people, conservatives, and others — “was a multiply married, luxury-loving, alcoholic atheist . . . [who] not long after throwing off his [childhood] Methodist faith . . . became a card-carrying member of the Communist Party.” I was delighted to learn this: It’s yet another example of how God, and the Muses, make brilliant use of broken vessels.
The film of A Man for All Seasons - the one starring Paul Scofield - is among my favorites. It's not very good history but it is a very good film and its protagonist a rather more admirable person, at least by modern standards, than the actual man. That a Communist could write a script with so much appeal to conservatives and Christians is a wonder. Bolt also wrote the screenplays for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and The Mission, among others.

Beauty in a Dark Time - By Michael Potemra - The Corner - National Review Online