There are many great male and female actors that I admire and respect. Some are: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Roberts, John Malkovich, Natalie Portman, Harrison Ford, Sandra Bullock, Johnny Depp, Julianne Moore, Robert De Niro and Denzel Washington just to name a few.
It’s amazing how they can mask themselves into many different personalities, send you on a voyage of make believe and put you on an emotional roller coaster ride in the movie. Making you love or hate the character they portray at that moment in time. Personally I love every minute of it. Doesn’t matter if they are making me laugh, cry, or scaring me to death. Somehow I get sucked in completely.
But all-time great actors are slowly diminishing, again there are too many to list them all here, but one that easily comes to mind is ‘Christopher Lee’.
Generally you may get an actor going into an almost magical scene on a particular movie. But Christopher Lee somehow was on a completely different level. He had so many magical moments it’s difficult to comprehend.
Christopher Lee dedicated 70 years into the field of acting, covering up to 208 films. He was a true master of his trade. With the variety of films under his belt, it doesn’t matter where you live in this world. Even if you are a semi-film enthusiast with half a brain cell, love or hate him, chances are you would have heard of Christopher Lee.
However if someone was to state his name into a crowded room of different ages and background. Everyone will have a different character movie image. That was the magic of Christopher Lee.
For some it would be the vampire Count Dracula – it’s said he added the ‘seduction’ element into the role when it was not part of the character’s personality. This aspect was so successful on screen they continued on with part of the theme on other vampire movies for decades. Probably the reason why the ‘Twilight’ movies was such a big hit.
If I was in that crowd the movie image I would easily get would be ‘Francisco Scaramanga’ from the James Bond movie: ‘The Man w
ith the Golden Gun’. This is where he plays a freelance professional assassin, with psychopath tendencies, and accumulated a lot of wealth from his killing trade.
I am told Christopher Lee got the part because he was Ian Fleming’s cousin (author of James Bond books). All the same I personally feel he was perfect for the role.
I can remember being despised at the character when I first saw the film. That would be a good compliment to Christopher Lee. He probably had to dig deep into that persona for us to have a reaction to the character.
For others he played the famous crime fighting detective Sherlock homes, Lord Summerisle who gets stuck into a weave of deceit from the film The Wicker Man.
But let’s not forget the classic menacing Sith Lord Count Dooku from Star Wars trilogy. This character was such a success in the films ‘Lucas Arts production’ decided to continue on with this character on their animation part of the franchise for 15 years.
And finally the last and most famous of his characters was the evil wizard ‘Saruman’ from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy.
With so many film coverage for just over 70 years, it would be hard to miss the significant footprint he left behind in the entertainment industry.
However…Amazingly, there is something about Christopher Lee that only a handful of people knew.
In recent years whenever he was asked ‘What is your greatest piece of work?’ He would reply with an unexpected answer…
You can even see this on YouTube at some of his interviews.
Whenever he would answer you could see his facial expression and demeanor would change dramatically into a sense of sadness, regret, angry, and a little resentment towards the film industry.
It’s a very strange thing to see – In all the decades he’s been masking so many multiple personalities. You would think he would be able to hide this, but this question always seems to stump him and get him to change his mood.
If you are a Christopher Lee fan I wonder if you know the answer.
He would often reply with a grin of dismay, stating:
“The most important film I made, in terms of its subject and the great responsibility I had as an actor was a film I did about the founder of Pakistan, called Jinnah. It had the best reviews I’ve ever had in my entire career – as a film and as a performance. But ultimately it was never shown at the cinemas.”
He also stated it was his most difficult and challenging role. He had to conjure up and utilize all of his skills accumulated over several decades to crunch out the right balance for this performance.
This was also an important to the Pakistani people, for a non-Pakistani to play such a significant role was an added pressure on Christopher Lee had to deal with.
By the time it was released in 1998 it was an overnight success in Pakistan, and it has remained an all-time great classic in that country.
But for political, cultural, social, racial reasons. The film has very little promotional coverage in the west, only to be placed to one side to gather dust forever. This was the greatest slap in the face any actor would ever receive.
Actors are exhibitionist. Their performances is an art-form. It is everything to them, therefore this must have devastated Christopher Lee, to shun out his best body or work for stupid ideological reasons was completely unreasonable.
It’s like spending a lifetime sculpting to beautiful statue from a slab of stone. You spend year after year chipping away, spending blood sweat and tears, working on it in every waking hour. Carefully calculating each and every aspect of the statue, studying the smoothing out the grooves. Until one day it is finished. But the people in power decide to hide or destroy your work in an instant.
Personally I don’t think Christopher Lee ever recovered from the strain of this situation. Sadly he died in 2015. I wish I had met him before his passing. If I did, I would have helped to promote the greatest performance of his acting life ‘Jinnah’.
But that time has passed. The next best thing I can now do now is to shine the light on the film after his death. You can obtain this film for yourself on link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jinnah-DUAL-FORMAT-DVD-Blu-ray/dp/B01KO1JDK2?tag=selectsnatch-21
In life he may have felt he missed the boat. But now in spirit I would like to think he gets comfort in knowing some people are now watching his best work ordered from the web.
You may have thought this was an obituary on Christopher Lee. I can assure you it’s not. This blog is for you, the reader.
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