Becket | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

England's King Henry II and his Saxon consort Thomas Becket are great pals, partners in boozing, hunting and wenching. Then Henry, attempting to curtail the power and purse of the dominant Roman Catholic Church, appoints Becket as the Archbishop of Canterbury. In a surprise move, Becket rises to the occasion, defending the church against the crown, causing international discord and breaking Henry's heart. Peter Glenville's 1964 historical drama -- re-released in a restored print -- is primarily a two-man show as Henry (Peter O'Toole) and Becket (Richard Burton) ratchet up the stakes in their public feud and private torment. Both actors are at the top of their game; they, along with co-star John Gielgud, received Academy Award nominations for their work in Becket. Lest you think that the British court intrigues of the 12th century offer nothing for the 21st-century viewer, remember that the battles between church and state still wage fiercely in our courts. Disregarding the men in tights, you may be surprised how contemporary Becket plays. Starts Fri., March 16. Manor (AH)

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