Worst Movie on the American Revolution


I have long been a fan of the late British actor Jack Hawkins.  Above however is perhaps his worst performance as General Cornwallis in a dreadful Italian-French film Lafayette (1961).  The  wardrobe budget did not extend far enough for makeup to make Hawkins look anything like Cornwallis.  The film has him surrendering his sword to an actor who does not look anything like George Washington, and making a fictitious brief speech.  Historically of course Cornwallis did not appear at the surrender ceremony at Yorktown, sending instead his subordinate General O’Hara.  Washington had him surrender his sword to General Benjamin Lincoln who had surrendered Charleston to Cornwallis in 1780, Washington no doubt appreciating the irony.  Most historical films mangle the history, but in this production history was first tortured and then murdered.

Last night my wife and I watch QBVII (1973), a fictional account by Leon Uris of a defamation suit against him in 1964 in which the Plaintiff received a half penny as damages.  Hawkins was portraying the magistrate in the trial, his throat cancer reducing his voice to a quiet croak but giving his last performance before his untimely death a dignity and gravity befitting his career.


His two finest performances were in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) where he was a doppelganger for Field Marshal Edmund Allenby and as Consul Quintus Arrius in Ben-Hur (1959):


Published in: on March 16, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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