Thursday, January 21, 2016

Period Drama Actor: Alan Rickman


Last week we lost a very talented actor who portrayed a wide variety of characters in his 69 years. Every Janeite or Period Drama fan will easily recognize our own dear Colonel Brandon from Sense & Sensibility (1995). Here's a look at some of those roles and a bit about the actor's life and some quotes.

Interesting Facts:
Full Name: Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman
Height: 6' 1"
Born: 21 February 1946, Hammersmith, London, England, UK
Married To: Rima Horton, who he met in college in 1965. Alan once said: "She's incredibly tolerant. Unbelievably tolerant. Possibly a candidate for sainthood."

Short Bio: Parents are Bernard Rickman and Margaret Doreen Rose. Has English, Irish and Welsh ancestry. Before becoming an actor, he studied graphic design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and at the Royal College of Art, forming a successful graphic design company, Graphiti, with several friends. He didn't start acting until he was twenty-eight year old. During his time at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he worked as a dresser for actors. Called stage acting his "first love" and often took breaks from film and television to preform in plays. Lost his short but difficult battle with cancer on 14 January 2016.

Personal Quotes:
"I do take my work seriously and the way to do that is not to take yourself too seriously."

"I approach every part I'm asked to do and decide to do from exactly the same angle: who is this person, what does he want, how does he attempt to get it, and what happens to him when he doesn't get it, or if he does?"

"I don't play villains, I play very interesting people."


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A Few Of His Roles:


Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet (1978 TV Movie)
One of Mr. Rickman's first television roles was as Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet. He looked so young! I tried to find a video clip but alas there are none available on YouTube.

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Obadiah Slope in The Barchester Chronicles (1982 TV Mini-Series) 
Besides Sense and Sensibility (1995) this has to be my second favorite of Mr. Rickman's period drama roles. Obadiah is a slick operator with a pious air who at once makes the viewer laugh and cringe! Below is a few funny scenes that a YouTuber put into a video, the last one with Obadiah falling flat on his behind always makes me laugh!


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Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
I don't really recommend this film but this rather odd version of the classic Robin Hood story is proof positive that Alan Rickman was excellent at portraying bad guys! An interesting happening in this film sees Alan Rickman acting alongside Geraldine McEwan for the second time, the first time being in The Barchester Chronicles.

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Colonel Christopher Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995)
This is definitely my most favorite role that Mr. Rickman has taken on. In this film he perfectly captured the kind, gentle and passionate nature of the mature army colonel who finds true love with the passionate Marianne Dashwood. When I think of this adaptation some of the loveliest scenes that come to mind include Colonel Brandon showing his true love for Marianne by putting her needs and the needs of her family above his own needs. Below is a clip of my most favorite Colonel Brandon scene where he reads a poem from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene to Marianne.



My heart melts into a puddle after viewing this scene! Yes, Alan Rickman is definitely my favoritest Colonel Brandon of all time! And I for one don't mind in the least that Emma Thompson made up a first name for this Jane Austen hero, there is something handsome in the sound of Christopher Brandon! Also check out this short interview from the set of the film.

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A few other roles:
  • Voice of Blue Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland (2010) & Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)
  • Professor Severus Snape in eight Harry Potter films (I've never seen them myself but it's one of his best known roles)
  • Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest (an oddball sci-fi flick where he plays an alien)
  • Voice of Marvin the depressed robot in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (alongside Martin Freeman and Bill Nighy!)

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His Voice
One of the most interesting and lovely things about Alan Rickman was his unique voice. Here's a recording of him reading Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 in his rich smooth voice (or "dark foreboding tones" as Anne Shirley might say).


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So here's to the incredible Mr. Alan Rickman. You dear sir will be sadly missed. Below is a video clip that made me tear up when I watched it because while writing this post I felt like Marianne in the scene. Thank you our Colonel Brandon! You were a true gem and will never be forgotten.


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What is your favorite Alan Rickman role?

How many of these films have you viewed?



9 comments:

Lois Johnson said...

I first knew him as Colonel Brandon and naturally loved him in that role. I'm not sure if I saw him next in Harry Potter or Barchester Chronicles after that but he was great in both of those roles. He's quite hilarious and sinister as Obadiah Slope. :)

Hamlette said...

I had a very sad weekend over Alan Rickman's passing -- watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in his honor. One movie I've seen him in that you didn't mention is Quigley Down Under, where he played the bad guy quite deliciously.

Daniela said...

What a loss, he was so talented !
RIP Alan !

P.S.: the new 'dress' of your blog is simply wonderful, really charming !
Sending hugs to you, lovely Miss Laurie
fondly
Daniela

presentsofthepast.com said...

Lovely tribute. He was such a versatile actor and will be missed.

Carissa Horton said...

Dearest Alan. He's going to be so very much missed, taken far too soon.

I haven't been, necessarily, a long-time fan of his. But I've loved him ever since a close friend of mine showed me Sense & Sensibility. There was just not turning back after that point.

I've seen him, obviously, Sense & Sensibility, Harry Potter 1 - 8, Galaxy Quest, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Die Hard. The latter has far too much language in it, but is probably my favorite of his roles! He's delightful and devious as the villain, a perfect opposite for Bruce Willis. He's also played Rasputin and was superbly cast and I watched him in a movie where he played a ghost. It's been so long I don't remember the title.

All I do know is that British cinema will never be the same without him!

Jayne M said...

He will be sorely missed. And I agree with you - my favourite is Colonel Brandon and he will always be my favourite Colonel Brandon. Whenever I hear either name, I will think of him.

Liane said...

One of my favourite actors!
My favourite Alan Rickman role was definitely as the Sherrif in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. My favourite movie of all time. followed closely by Love Actually and Sense and Sensibility.

Thanks for a great read xx

Kelly-Anne said...

Oh, this was a wonderful tribute to a fantastic actor, Alan Rickman! I knew him as Conel Brandon and also as the horrible Sherrif in Robin Hood...let me just say how awful that version of RH was...some rather creepy parts best skipped!
Thank you for sharing this, Miss Laurie...I continue to enjoy your lovely, unique blog!
Blessings!

The Gibson Girl said...

My favorite version of Colonel Brandon! Well, the only one I've seen thus far....quite sad. =( Such a good actor!

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