Thursday, May 13, 2004

A Man for all Seasons - true today

This film blew me away when I saw it on the big screen at the age of six.

Actor Paul Scofield portrays Sir Thomas Moore, a respected English statesman, whose steadfast refusal to recognize King Henry the VIII's mariage to Ann Boleyn cost him his head. It won 6 Academy Awards in 1966 and was directed by: Fred Zinnemann (who also directed the original "Day of the Jackal")

I watched this film again on DVD last weekend.

This exchange (also a passage from the play by Robert Bolt) was absolutely amazing, and I think it's extremely relevant today:

LADY ALICE MOORE: Arrest him! He's a bad man. He's dangerous!

MOORE: There's no law against that.

SON-IN-LAW ROPER: There is! -- Gods Law!

MOORE: Then God can arrest him.

LADY ALICE MOORE: While you talk -- he's gone!

MOORE: and go he should if he were the Devil himself... until he broke the law.

SON-IN-LAW ROPER: So... now you'd give the Devil the benefit of law!

MOORE: Yes! what would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get to the Devil?

SON-IN-LAW ROPER: Yes... I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

MOORE: Oh? and when the last law was down and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide Roper? - the laws all being flat.
This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, mans laws not Gods and and if you cut them down -- and you're JUST the man to do it -- do you think you could really stand upright in the winds that would blow then?
Yes, I'd give the Devil the benfit of law for my own safety's sake.

This scene remided me that US Attorney General John Ashcroft may be the only guy around who knows which way the winds are blowing...

Link to EFF Analysis of the US Patriot Act

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