While we await the arrival in November of the next Churchill film, Darkest Hour, with what looks to be an extremely promising performance by Gary Oldman, let us take note of the passing a few days ago of the actor who up to now offered by far the best screen portrayal of Churchill: Robert Hardy. Turns out Hardy had been a student of both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis at Oxford, and while known to many viewers for his run in “All Creatures Great and Small,” Churchillians recall him for his performance in the eight-part BBC miniseries produced in the late 1970s about Churchill during the 1930s—his “Wilderness Years.”
Richard Langworth, one of the principal keepers of the Churchill flame in the U.S., recalls Hardy here.
Meanwhile, some time ago I went to the trouble of excerpting 20 minutes from “The Wilderness Years” of Hardy’s depiction of some of Churchill’s great speeches (culminating in what I regard as maybe his greatest speech, made in protest of the Munich agreement in 1938), which I have used to good effect in the classroom. The DVD recording of “The Wilderness Years” that is available these days is of surprisingly poor quality, and the sound is slightly grainy. But even at that, Hardy’s performance is superb. And I thought it worth sharing with Power Line readers: