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Tag: royal palaces
There’s nothing more romantic as settings than Royal Palaces and I am always on the hunt for new ways to feature them here.
Early scenes in the film A Man for All Seasons turn the façade of Hampton Court Palace into a veritable character, particularly when the King’s Beasts make dramatic cameos. The ten statues of heraldic animals that flank the bridge over the moat leading to the great gatehouse seem to lick and scream into the cloud-clotted sky. In a powerful scene in the film, a corpulent Orson Welles swathed in luxuriant red as Cardinal Wolsey is troubled by Henry VIII’s arrival as he canters into the castle courtyard. Paul Scofield, who plays Sir Thomas More and has been summoned by the unhappy cleric, looks on.
The pale stone of the bay window above the gate through which the King has entered glows in the low light of evening. Paired with the rain-slicked pavers reflecting the eerie light, the monarch’s mood is perfectly intimated—he wants a divorce and no one seems to be able to get him one.
As the film unfolds, the camera cuts to billowing storm clouds exploding on the horizon, their edges drawing themselves with luminosity as if they are burning from within. Boats deploy and return, their oars slicing through green-gray water hemmed in row upon row of reeds that draw dark datum lines at the river’s edge. When a night-darkened Hampton Court Palace comes into view, messengers and power-mongers slip past torches that flicker on the castle’s bricked façade.
The director, cinematographer and editors who “painted” these scenes transported me to a bygone era when the palace was an important hub of political power and intrigue. This is what I hope to do with my writing about royal palaces here on The Diary of an Improvateur.
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