With Sir Sean Connery passing at age 90, the tributes to the great Scot actor are flying across the printed press and the Internet.
Yes, he was the first and best film actor to portray Ian Fleming’s iconic character James Bond (American actor Barry Nelson first portrayed Bond in a poor TV adaptation of Casino Royale), but he was much more.
He offered many other fine and memorable roles in such films as The Hill, The Offense, The Great Train Robbery, The Molly Maguires, The Rock, The Anderson Tapes, The Hunt for Red October and many other great films.
Kyle Smith at the New York Post touches on three other Sean Connery films, two of which are favorites of mine, The Man Who Would be King and Robin and Marion, and a film I didn’t care for, The Untouchables, but agree that Sean Connery was great in his role.
Sean Connery may have been the ultimate British adventurer-rogue, but when I think of great Sean Connery portrayals, my mind goes right to Danny Dravot, aka “The Man Who Would be King.”
Connery and Michael Caine had the time of their lives playing two scrappy British sergeants out to retrace the steps of Alexander the Great and conquer Afghanistan in the exhilarating 1975 John Huston film based on Rudyard Kipling’s novel. At one point Danny and Caine’s Peachy Carnahan are trapped on a mountain with no possible means of escape. And what do they do? They have a laugh about all the good times they’ve known. A big, roaring, boisterous laugh. Such a laugh that the two men touch off an avalanche which creates a bridge of snow over a chasm that allows them to escape. That was Connery and Caine throughout their careers — two working-class blokes bluffing themselves to one great big merry laugh of a life.
… Two other great death scenes displayed Connery’s range, his emotional warmth, his vitality: in “Robin and Marian” (1976), in which Connery plays Robin Hood at the end of his life and an incandescent Audrey Hepburn plays his lady fair in what turned out to be her final great performance, on his deathbed Connery’s Robin delivers an indescribably beautiful farewell: “I love you. More than all you know. I love you more than children. More than fields I’ve planted with my hands. I love you more than morning prayers or peace or food to eat. I love you more than sunlight, more than flesh or joy.”
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