“The King” and Agincourt in (almost) black and white….
Not having Netflix myself, I went to my daughter’s house to watch The King. I enjoyed it very much, but have some gripes, not least a desire to keep scratching or wishing the characters would wash their hair…and the rest of themselves. I really don’t think the highest in the land went around looking quite so scruffy.
And the medieval period was a time of colour. They loved colour, the brighter the better…so why is the film relentlessly grey, dark and full of shadows? Even the trailer picture is like it (see above).
The actual battle scenes of Agincourt were conducted in mud, which maybe the clash really was (I’m not an expert on Agincourt), and the armoured soldiers from both sides pitched in like ants swarming over something they relished. What with grey armour and mud, it was absolutely impossible for them to know who was on which side. And what banners appeared were dull and virtually monochrome. Hardly anyone seemed to have identifying colours or badges. How the heck could they tell if they were killing the enemy or one of their own? It was just a huge, bloodthirsty scrum. And they all looked like this even before they collided in the mud!
Yes, yes, maybe medieval battlefields were like this, but I’m sure they had sensible ways of identifying each other – it wasn’t Towton in the middle of a snowstorm.
The illustration below is more or less from the period, and shows that contrary to wearing no identification, the armies on both sides wore easily discernible colours.
Maybe the director’s desire to show the grim side of it all was allowed to overwhelm some obvious facts. Shame. But still, in spite of all that, an excellent film. I just wish that viewing it wasn’t like looking through really dark shades on a sunless day.
Timothée Chalamet was a revelation as Henry V. Perfectly cast, perfectly acted…and a perfectly achieved English accent. No one could have guessed that he is really American. I think we may look forward to a meteoric career…if there isn’t one, it will be a great shame. Here’s hoping he’s offered the right sort of role in future.
Robert Pattinson was wonderful as the Dauphin. There may not have been any carpet handy, but he chewed everything else. Brilliant. Welcome proof that the awful Twilight films weren’t the peak of his ability.
To see how the battle scenes were filmed, try You Tube.