FIVE OF CHRISTOPHER LEE’S MOST MEMORABLE SCENES
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The Curse Of Frankenstein
Inviting his friend Paul into his lab, Frankenstein proudly shows off the results of his latest brain surgery. When the Baron snaps his fingers, the Creature awkwardly rises and staggers forward, hands hanging limp, dragging its feet, uncomprehendingly glancing around. Then, on command, it drops to the floor, like a trained dog. A masterpiece of mime by Lee, it’s steeped in pathos.
VIOLENCE IN THE LIBRARY
Lee could showcase his humanity as Dracula, but this scene shows the flip side of the coin. As a vampire woman tries to feed on his new librarian, Dracula bursts through a door, eyes blazing, fangs bared and bloody. Then he leaps over a table, hurls her to the floor and carries her off. Lee could do suave, but he could also project feral physical power.
LORDING IT OVER
The Wicker Man
The first meeting between Edward Woodward’s Sergeant Howie and Lee’s Summerisle is a perfect lesson in delivering exposition, but it’s the verbal fencing that delights, as the amused pagan Lord flashes a full- beam smile at the god- fearing copper and describes Jesus as “son of a virgin, impregnated, I believe, by a ghost”. Buttoned- up plod is hopelessly out- matched.
The Man With The Golden Gun
Playing an assassin whose weapon slots together from a cigarette case, lighter, pen and cufflink was a challenge for Lee but he nailed it for this scene. As Scaramanga’s boss Hai Fat lectures him about interfering, the assassin casually sits in his chair, assembles his gun, shoots him, and exits with a quip: “Mr Fat has just resigned.” It’s everything you want from a Bond villain.
TALKING THE ORC
The Lord Of The Rings
Lee’s defining moment as Saruman comes in The Two Towers. After assembling the biggest bomb the world of men has ever seen, the white wizard glides out onto his balcony, where an army of Orcs wait on his every word. The imagery echoes Nuremberg, but it’s Lee’s sonorous delivery that truly chills. “There will be no dawn for men,” he declares. And you believe him.