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Max von Sydow could transform the trashiest pulp fantasy flick into a cultural touchstone - MW

Thinking of the great Max von Sydow, it's hard not to remember the iconic images of medieval knights looking through the cruel grim gaze in Ingmar Bergman's seventh seal, or get a shave from Mathieu Amalric in the bell diving tour of Julian and the Schnabel butterfly. But there is another side of the Swedes who are nominated twice for an Oscar.

Nowadays, it's strange to see an Oscar-winning temple concierge become a villain in a superhero movie, or wear a mo-cap outfit to play a four-legged alien in some illusion of strange space. But in the 80s, Von Sydow, who became people like Flash Gordon, Dune and Conan the barbarian, would surprise the public a little more.

Maybe he only has a knack for choosing the right movies to join. Conan the Barbarian by John Milius, since 1982, is a film mainly directed by a bodybuilder with limited English pronunciation (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and 6ft - a great monument of American dancer. The big name is Sandahl Bergman, who briefly appeared in Bob Fosse's All That Jazz, but also has limited acting experience. But the presence of Von Sydow - as well as Milius' innate understanding of the brutality and glory of the sword and wizard genre and a remarkable cast of support - led to a fantastic movie party. next to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy at the top of the genre.

Von Sydow briefly appears as King Osric the Usurper, who takes Conan and his friends on a mission to save the daughter of the King from sect leader Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones in the filling form). ), and it probably has more lines than Schwarzenegger. His furious Diatribe gets angry at the horror of the serpent Doom, adds a classic veneer of classic elegance to the traps imagined by Robert E Howard, and reminds us that we do not just watch the action with your fingertips.

Von Sydow plays an important role in the Flash 1980 space romance Flash Gordon, another film that mixes serious points like Brian Blished and Timothy Dalton with untested actors (in this case, acting). rookie Sam J Jones in the title role). Whatever you think of the questionable wisdom of choosing a Nordic actor as a foreigner with oriental features in 2020, Von Sydow Times to become the Ming the Merciless is a great thing.

As with every Von Sydow performance, no matter how silly the project and how lowbrow the genre, there is never a sniff of suggestion that he is phoning it in: the actor, who had been a fan of the comics as a child, gives it everything as the cruel and maniacal cosmic nutter and is at the very heart of the movie. Yes, it’s pure space pantomime, but this is pantomime of the highest order, as full of delightfully hammy power chords as the Queen songs that soundtrack it.

Von Sydow has never done anything quite as brazen as Flash Gordon in his later career. But it was definitely things like this - as well as his appearance in space fantasy Dune David Lynch - which led to him being cast as Lor San Tekka in JJ Abrams as The Force Awakens. We have never explored (at least on the screen) so much about the importance of the Mysterious Force's work of mystery in Disney's Star Wars, but Von Sydow has had enough. was present in his brief death scene with the space theater 's Adam Driver Kylo Ren believing it once again after the horrors of the prequel trilogy.

A less typical Von Sydow performance is his extremely vicious twist when pre-crime police chief Lamar Burgess in Steven Spielberg, a beautifully crafted futuristic thriller by Steven Spielberg, based on Philip K Dick's 1956 short story. People are jailed for murders that they have not committed. This was a rather difficult turn, as a clear, alert villain knew he had put in place measures to control the heart of the devil, but simply couldn't break the clarity on his own. Dermatologist's on a profound system of disorders.

I doubt it will be for his early '80s movies that science fiction and fantasy fans will miss him most. For a generation or two of genre enthusiasts, Von Sydow is a rare example of seriousists whose presence can elevate the light of fictional fiction into works of fiction. first, like Alec Guinness or James Earl Jones before him. He will be very missed.


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