Hordern, Michael


Hordern, Michael
(1911–1995)
   After a brief career in teaching, Michael Hordern made his stage debut in 1937 and eventually appeared in 80 productions. His first appearance in film was in an uncredited role in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), followed by A Girl Must Live (1939); but his acting efforts were put on hold by a stint in the military during World War II. In 1946, he resumed his film career with roles in no less than four films that year, including David Lean’s Great Expectations. He later appeared in the delightful Ealing Studios comedy Passport To Pimlico (1949), and was a memorable Jacob Marley in the classic film of A Christmas Carol (1951; released in Britain as Scrooge), opposite Alastair Sim’s Scrooge. (Hordern would later reprise Marley’s ghost in a 1972 television version of the Dickens classic; still later, he would play Scrooge in a 1977 TV production. )
   Hordern’s film roles most often veered into comedy, as he played easily frustrated government officials and/or henpecked husbands, as in Richard Lester’s A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (1966), and The Bed-Sitting Room (1969). He was also known for his Shakespearean performances, as King Lear and as Prospero in productions of The Tempest.
   Hordern’s work for STANLEY KUBRICK consists of a single role, that of the narrator in BARRY LYNDON (1975). The narrator is Kubrick’s departure from the novel, as WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY’s novel consists of Barry’s first-person narrative. Never appearing onscreen, Hordern’s narrator describes the action, interprets the characters’ motivations (seldom flatteringly), and even makes pointed political commentary. The narrator opens the film with what amounts to a joke. As two men stand in a field, preparing for a duel,we learn from the narrator that Barry’s (RYAN O’NEAL) father had been “bred to the profession of the law, and that he would doubtless have made an eminent figure in that profession. ” As the narrator pauses, the figures in the field fire upon each other; one falls dead, and the narrator finishes his sentence: “. . . had he not been killed in a duel, which arose over the purchase of some horses. ” By the end of the film, however, the narrator is no longer laughing, nor is he timing his delivery to such comic effect. His final words amount to a shrug, as he admits he has not the power to follow Barry’s final years with any accuracy. He does make one last statement of fact, though—that Barry never saw Lady Lyndon (MARISA BERENSON) again.
   It is worth noting that the acid content of the narration lessens in the later sections of the film, as Barry’s fortunes turn for the worse. What are virtually the narrator’s only positive words about Barry come in a description of Barry’s abilities as a father to young Brian, soon followed by the revelation that the child has not got long to live. Hordern’s tones are warm and mellow, serving to deepen the tragedy to come, and the restraint with which he expresses relief that the child is at least in no pain is one of the most moving moments in the film.
   Hordern was knighted in 1983, for services to the theater. His last screen role was in the 1994 TV miniseries Middlemarch, as Peter Featherstone.
   References
   ■ “Michael Hordern,” Internet Movie Database, www.imdb.com;
   ■ “Michael Hordern” (obituary), Variety, May 5, 1995, p. 64.
   T. D.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Michael Hordern — Nombre real Michael Murray Hordern Nacimiento 4 de octubre de 1911 Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, Inglaterra, Reino Unido …   Wikipedia Español

  • Michael Hordern — Sir Michael Hordern Born Sir Michael Murray Hordern 3 October 1911(1911 10 03) The Poplars, High Street, Berkhamsted, England Died 2 May 1995(1995 05 02) (aged 83) Oxford, England Occupation …   Wikipedia

  • Hordern — Sir Michael Murray Hordern (* 3. Oktober 1911 in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire; † 2. Mai 1995 in Oxford) war ein britischer Bühnen und Filmschauspieler. Leben Hordern begann seine künstlerische Laufbahn als Darsteller auf den Bühnen verschiedener… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Michael Elliott — Born Michael Elliott 1953 London Occupation Theatre and Television director Years active 1954–1984 Spouse Rosalind Knight (July 1959–1984) (two daughters) …   Wikipedia

  • Michael Hordern — Sir Michael Murray Hordern (* 3. Oktober 1911 in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England; † 2. Mai 1995 in Oxford, England) war ein britischer Bühnen und Filmschauspieler. Leben Hordern begann seine künstlerische Laufbahn als Darsteller auf den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Michael Hordern — Sir Michael Hordern, né le 3 octobre 1911 à Berkhamsted (Royaume Uni) et mort le 2 mai 1995 à Oxford (Royaume Uni), est un acteur britannique. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Filmographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hordern, Sir Michael Murray — ▪ 1996       British actor (b. Oct. 3, 1911, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England d. May 2, 1995, Oxford, England), as a stage, screen, and television actor for more than 60 years, used his distinctive voice, careworn features, and wry humour in a …   Universalium

  • Michael Gough — For other people named Michael Gough, see Michael Gough (disambiguation). For the American voice actor, see Michael Gough (voice actor). Michael Gough Gough as Alfred Pennyworth in Batman Born 23 November 1916( …   Wikipedia

  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Toll trieben es die alten Römer Originaltitel: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Produktionsland: USA / CH Erscheinungsjahr: 1966 Länge: 92 Minuten Originalsprache …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Toll trieben es die alten Römer (Film) — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Toll trieben es die alten Römer Originaltitel: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Produktionsland: USA / CH Erscheinungsjahr: 1966 Länge: 92 Minuten Originalsprache …   Deutsch Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.