Sharp, Anthony


Sharp, Anthony
(1915–1984)
   Anthony Sharp manages to embody the living image of the British establishment in his two roles for STANLEY KUBRICK: as Lord Hallon in BARRY LYNDON (1975), and most especially as the minister of the interior in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971). In each role, Sharp plays a sort of malign mentor to the hero of the respective film. Lord Hallon advises Barry (RYAN O’NEAL) in his illfated quest to acquire a peerage, and the minister recommends Alex (MALCOLM MCDOWELL) for the terrible Ludovico Technique.
   At the age of 22, Sharp made his professional acting debut as the sergeant in a touring production of Macbeth. Further roles in repertory companies followed, until World War II interrupted his career. After serving for six years in the Royal Artillery, Sharp returned to the stage,working steadily in and around London, in plays from the classic repertory as well as in new works. Sharp directed many plays, and was also a playwright, with The Conscience of the King and an adaptation of Thomas Love Peacock’s Nightmare Alley to his credit. In later years, he worked often on television, appearing in such series as Upstairs Downstairs and To The Manor Born.
   In A Clockwork Orange, Sharp plays the Machiavellian minister of the interior with all of the oily charm he can muster. Upon arriving at the prison to search for likely subjects for the Ludovico treatment, the minister stops for a moment in what can only be Alex’s cell, decorated as it is with a small bust and picture of LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN. Oozing urbane sophistication, the minister rubs his hands with delight at having found such a worthy subject. He describes Alex as “enterprising, aggressive, outgoing, young, bold, vicious. ” Minus the adjective, ‘young,’ the minister could very well be describing himself. The two characters are further linked in their use of language. If Alex’s teenage Nadsat slang, a Slavinfluenced rhyming dialect, often obscures meaning, the minister’s mastery of English goes to the other extreme. The minister manages, with consummate diplomatic skill, to duck the very real moral concerns raised by the prison chaplain (Godfrey Quigley) around Alex’s reconditioning. And in the final scene, the minister, addressed familiarly by Alex as “Fred,” also negotiates an armed truce with Alex, while using only the most polished and urbane diction to disguise his series of veiled threats and blackmail. Sharp’s performance in Barry Lyndon amounts to little more than a cameo, but it is memorable nonetheless. As Lord Hallon, Sharp is again the polished nobleman, who advises Barry to seek out the assistance of Lord Wendover in acquiring a peerage. Sharp’s final appearance in the film is worth noting: a medium closeup during Barry’s attack on Lord Bullingdon, clearly muttering to himself, “What frightful behavior!” Sharp’s other films include Never Say Never Again (1983) and The Confessional (1975). He was married to the actress Margaret Wedlake.
   References
   ■ “Anthony Sharp,” Internet Movie Database, www.imdb.com;
   ■ “Anthony Sharp” (obituary), Variety, August 8, 1984.
   T. D.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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