Cinema: Duel in a Tapestry

Becket is a cerebral film spectacle based on the play by Jean Anouilh, in which English history wars with an impudent Gallic wit. Director Peter Glenville has flung the drama onto the screen like a vast Bayeux tapestry, held fast with the lancet-sharp performances of Peter O'Toole as Henry II, England's first Plantagenet ruler, and of Richard Burton as the 12th century martyr Thomas Becket. Henry loved Becket, raised him to eminence as Archbishop of Canterbury, then lost his onetime friend in a struggle between church and state that ended with Becket's murder...

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