Edward Woodward

Edward Woodward

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Edward Woodward - 16th Annual United for UNICEF Gala Dinner at Old Trafford - Arrivals - Manchester, United Kingdom - Sunday 29th November 2015

Edward Woodward
Edward Woodward

The Wicker Man (1973) Review


Extraordinary
It's difficult to shake the disquieting climax of The Wicker Man, where pious Police Sgt. Howie (Edward Woodward) of the West Highland Police is confronted by the secrets kept within the isolated Scottish island of Summerisle. Being a decent Christian, he finds himself repulsed by their pagan rituals, open sexuality, and their unwavering devotion to the Old Gods. Much like the unwitting protagonists of Peter Weir's The Last Wave and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now, Howie is facing off against powers much larger than himself (and anything that is dreamt of in his narrow theology).

Called upon to investigate the disappearance of a young schoolgirl named Rowan Morrison, Sgt. Howie finds stubborn, tight-lipped resistance from the local islanders, who carry about their business unmindful of his single-minded detective work. More often than not, they treat him with bemused detachment, laughing into their drinks or simply ignoring him altogether as he marches through the rustic schoolyards, dingy inns, and lush green hills. The locations, filmed in the highlands of Scotland, possess the eerie, musty, ever-haunted quality of an Old Country worn down by time. If there is a central character in The Wicker Man, it's the timeless elements of rock and water, moss and faded wood that comprise the town squares. Sgt. Howie, a man from the city, is clearly out of his depth.

Continue reading: The Wicker Man (1973) Review

'Breaker' Morant Review


Excellent
Before there was Nicholson's "You can't handle the truth!" outburst in A Few Good Men, there was the firey Edward Woodward as an Australian soldier during the Boer War (South Africa, 1899 to 1902). Like Jack, Woodward is on trial for murder -- in this case of Boer guerillas, executed possibly under the implicit orders of the Aussie government. Now a scapeoat, Woodward's "Breaker" Morant is asked to defend his actions. His explanation -- "We caught 'em and we shot 'em under rule 303!" -- is one of cinema's most undernoticed and passionate speeches. The camera cuts away to show us exactly what rule 303 is: The caliber of the rifles used by Morant's division.

Heavy stuff, and though most of the based-on-a-play Morant plays out in holding cells and the courtroom, as a court martial determines the guilt of Morant and two of his compatriots (including Brian Brown in an early role), it's still compelling and fascinating stuff. Morant is a genuine bastard, but he's just following orders and trying to win a war. It's the same argument that we'd see in umpteen Nazi films (and understanding the intricacies of the Boer conflict is probably a fool's errand), but Woodward's Morant makes for a troubling and complex anti-hero. He's aided amicably by Jack Thompson, playing the three lieutenants' good-hearted but ultimately ineffective attorney. (Also of note, this film was director Bruce Beresford's big break. He'd come to Hollywood shortly after Morant hit.)

Continue reading: 'Breaker' Morant Review

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