Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Paul Scofield

Kudos to BBC2 for tonight’s ‘Arena’ documentary on Paul Scofield, who died earlier this year.

Contributors included Simon Callow, Donald Sinden, Felicity Kendal and Nicolas Hytner, who directed Scofield in his final film role – Judge Danforth in ‘The Crucible’ – in 1996.

In the main, the documentary focused on his theatre work for the RSC, featuring some jaw-dropping archive footage, particularly of his performance as Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s ‘Amadeus’.

Milos Forman’s adaptation, long a favourite of mine, has now been compromised for me. As memorable and as nuanced as F. Murray Abraham is, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch it again without wondering how different – how much more compelling – it might have been with Scofield in the role.

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