MCM: Christopher Plummer

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I will fully admit that my love of Christopher Plummer stems 100% from his Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. The guy is dapper as all get out, and I love the cranky hardline character who is softened by luuuuuuv (and musical numbers) but still noble and patriotic. Of course, Plummer has been in many other films and TV shows, many of them historical! So let’s give him a little love.

 

Little Moon of Alban (1958)

An Irish nurse falls in love with an English soldier (Plummer) during World War I.

1958 Little Moon of Alban

Such practical headwear!

 

Wind Across the Everglades (1958)

About bird conservation in early 20th century Florida. Plummer plays “Walt Murdock” in his first leading film role.

1958 Wind Across the Everglades

He’s clearly rakish and possibly a ne’er-do-well.

1958 Wind Across the Everglades

More so you can get a sense of the women’s costumes in this film…

 

A Doll’s House (1959)

A TV movie adaptation of the 1879 Ibsen play.

1959 A Doll's House

I big puffy heart that profile.

 

The Prisoner of Zenda (1961)

A late 19th century-set story about an Englishman who impersonates his cousin, the king of a fictional European country.

1961 The Prisoner of Zenda

Seems TV fantasy, that’s for sure.

Talk about a Prince Charming! (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

 

Cyrano de Bergerac (1962)

A TV movie adaptation of the famous 17th century-set play.

1962 Cyrano De Bergerac

I disapprove of them covering Plummer’s shaggable nose.

 

Hamlet at Elsinore (1964)

A TV movie adaptation of the Shakespeare play, filmed at the Danish castle (Elsinore) in which the story is set.

1964 Hamlet at Elsinore

With Michael Caine.

1964 Hamlet at Elsinore

More likely from when Plummer played Hamlet at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1957, but too good not to include.

 

The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

As Roman Emperor Commodus in this story about the decline of the Roman empire.

1964 The Fall of the Roman Empire

Blurry, but the best I could find.

1964 The Fall of the Roman Empire

Behind the scenes.

 

The Sound of Music (1965)

If this needs introduction, we can’t be friends. Ok, ok, as the singing Captain von Trapp in this musical set during the very beginning of World War II in Austria.

CRISP WHITE TIE (*faints*)

A beautiful singing voice.

1965 The Sound of Music

Love the tilt of that hat!

 

Triple Cross (1966)

Based on a real-life British double agent, Eddie Chapman (Plummer), during World War II.

1966 Triple Cross

Back when men were allowed to have chest hair!

1966 Triple Cross

That’s Romy Schneider, aka Empress Elisabeth/Sissi

 

The Night of the Generals (1967)

A murder mystery that jumps between World War II (in which Plummer plays Field Marshal Erwin Rommel) and the 1960s.

1967 The Night of the Generals

Best I could do.

 

Oedipus the King (1968)

As Oedipus in the ancient Greek tragedy.

1968 Oedipus the King

Someone’s having a hard day.

1968 Oedipus the King

Someone on FB commented that wrinkle-free polyester had a bigger role in Ancient Greece than we thought…

 

Battle of Britain (1969)

A film about, shockingly, the Battle of Britain during World War II. Plummer plays a squadron leader in the Royal Canadian Air Force (side note, Plummer is Canadian!).

1969 Battle of Britain

*stares nobly into distance*

1969 Battle of Britain

Her hair is SO ’60s!

 

Lock Up Your Daughters! (1969)

Based on a 1959 stage musical that is itself based on a 1730 Henry Fielding comedy (“Rape Upon Rape” – yeah, we can’t use that title). I SO WANT TO SEE THIS, if only because Plummer plays “Lord Foppington,” which is just about the best name EVER.

1969 Lock Up Your Daughters!

RUFFLES! (Photo by Eddie Sanderson/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

1969 Lock Up Your Daughters!

I LOVE THIS WIG

1969 Lock Up Your Daughters! Snark Week 2016

We used this as a teaser for Snark Week in 2016, and I don’t think anyone realized this was Plummer!

 

The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969)

Based on a play, Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro goes to the Inca Empire (modern day Peru), where he gets to know Inca leader Atahualpa (Plummer in brownface – NOT OKAY). Plummer had played Pizarro in the stage version, which is much more appropriate casting. Because I am weird, I actually tried to watch this last week, but the Amazon copy is SUPER low quality, I quickly discovered there were no women’s costumes to evaluate, and while I think it may have been an early attempt at a slightly more nuanced view of indigenous Americans, it’s very obviously Of It’s Time.

1969 The Royal Hunt of the Sun

I can’t see past the brownface.

1969 The Royal Hunt of the Sun

Too bad, because look at that profile!

 

Waterloo (1970)

As the Duke of Wellington in this story of the famous Napoleonic War battle.

1970 Waterloo

Whoa whoa whoa whoa Waterloo…

1970 Waterloo

I loves me a man in Tight Pants!

1970 Waterloo

And uniform.

 

Conduct Unbecoming (1975)

1880s, British India, a woman accuses a soldier of trying to rape her. Plummer plays “Major Wimbourne.”

1975 Conduct Unbecoming

I’m getting more 1970s than 1880s from those sideburns, but I’m willing to be corrected.

 

The Assassination at Sarajevo (1975)

As Archduke Franz Ferdinand in this film about the beginning of World War I.

1975 The Assassination at Sarajevo

Powder blue? Really?

 

The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

As author Rudyard Kipling in this story of two British soldiers on the lam in India, and who are mistaken by the locals for a god and a king (because non-Western people are credulous, right? < sarcasm).

1975 The Man Who Would Be King

That’s Plummer, center, with the pornstache, flanked by Michael Caine and Sean Connery.

1975 The Man Who Would Be King

I apologize for the stock image/watermarks, but this suit was too great not to include. Photo by Allied Artists / Kobal / Shutterstock.

 

Aces High (1976)

A week amongst an air force squadron in World War I. Plummer plays a British captain.

1976 Aces High

Leatherbound! (Photo by Freddie Reed/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

 

Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

As King Herod Antipas in this TV miniseries about Jesus.

1977 Jesus of Nazareth

I’m sensing more brownface … Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

 

Silver Blaze (1977)

As Sherlock Holmes in this TV movie.

1977 Silver Blaze

That seems pretty much Official Sherlock Gear.

 

Hanover Street (1979)

As the husband of a woman who falls in love with an American pilot during World War II.

1979 Hanover Street

Yup, that’s Harrison Ford.

 

Murder by Decree (1979)

As Sherlock Holmes in this feature film.

1979 Murder by Decree

Less typical Sherlock wear (Photo by Kent Gavin / Mirrorpix / Getty Images).

 

Riel (1979)

As Sir John A. Macdonald, the first prime minister of Canada, in a TV movie about Métis (indigenous Canadian) leader Louis Riel.

1979 Riel

The real Macdonald did have curly, slightly wide hair…

 

Somewhere in Time (1980)

As the manager of Jane Seymour‘s actress character in this Edwardian-set time traveling romance.

Somewhere in Time (1980)

Dapper!

1980 Somewhere in Time

 

Little Gloria … Happy at Last (1982)

As Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, heir to the Vanderbilt fortune and father of Gloria Vanderbilt.

1982 Little Gloria Happy at Last

Plummer knows how to wear hats!

 

The Thorn Birds (1982)

I don’t quite understand exactly how this works, but the books on which this is based tells the story of an Australian family from 1915-69. Apparently at some point a woman falls in love with a priest. Plummer plays an archbishop, who I can only guess Doesn’t Approve.

1982 The Thorn Birds

I picked this photo simply for KITTY! (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

 

The Scarlet and the Black (1983)

As German Colonel Herbert Kappler in this TV biopic about Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a real-life Irish Catholic priest who saved thousands of Jews and escaped Allied POWs in Rome.

1983 The Scarlet and the Black

Hard to find good visuals.

 

Crossings (1986)

An adaptation of a Danielle Steele novel about a woman traveling between France and America at the outbreak of World War II. Plummer plays “Armand DeVilliers.”

1986 Crossings

Cheryl Ladd!

1986 Crossings

Jane Seymour!

 

The Boy in Blue (1986)

As the businessman backing late 19th-century competitive rower Ned Hanlan (played by Nicolas Cage, and let me tell you, Google image this. It’s worth your while).

THE BOY IN BLUE, Christopher Plummer, 1986

Okay, whatever? © 20th Century Fox

 

A Hazard of Hearts (1987)

As the father of Helena Bonham Carter‘s Regency-era heroine, who gambles away his daughter’s hand in marriage and fortune.

1987 A Hazard of Hearts

Sorry again for the watermarks, I couldn’t find anything better.

 

A Ghost in Monte Carlo (1990)

An adaptation of a Barbara Cartland novel set in late 19th century Monaco. Plummer plays (Russian?) “Grand Duke Ivan.”

1990 A Ghost in Monte Carlo

The costumes in this look decent, although all I can find are crappy screencaps.

 

Young Catherine (1991)

As Sir Charles Williams, British ambassador to Russia who advises a young Catherine the Great.

Young Catherine (1991)

Good movie, BAD costumes.

 

Malcolm X (1992)

As the racist chaplain of the prison in which Malcolm X is imprisoned.

1992 Malcolm X

 

Nuremberg (2000)

WAIT THERE IS A NAZI-RELATED MOVIE I HAVEN’T SEEN? It’s only available in crappy quality on YouTube! Shakes tiny fist! I shall be undeterred!

Ahem.

2000 Nuremberg

 

Nicholas Nickleby (2002)

As the creepy and rich Uncle Ralph Nickleby in this feature film Dickens adaptation.

2002 Nicholas Nickleby

I like the longer hair on him!

 

Alexander (2004)

As Aristotle, tutor to the young Alexander the Great, in this dumpster fire of a movie.

2004 Alexander

At least it’s not So-crates?

 

The New World (2005)

As real-life Captain Christopher Newport in this story of the Jamestown colony in Virginia.

2005 The New World

I’m not a 16th-century expert, but I generally liked the costumes in this.

 

Caesar and Cleopatra (2009)

A filmed version of the Shakespeare play as performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

2009 Caesar and Cleopatra

The actress playing Cleopatra is DARLING!

 

The Last Station (2009)

As Leo Tolstoy in this film about the last few months of the Russian author’s life.

2009 The Last Station

Eggbeard sighting

2009 The Last Station

 

The Tempest (2010)

Another filmed version of a Stratford Shakespeare Theatre production.

2010 The Tempest

 

Barrymore (2011)

As actor John Barrymore, who is trying to raise funds to revive his 1920 Broadway hit Richard III. Plummer won a Tony for the stage version of this.

2011 Barrymore

I love a man in a good mid-century suit!

 

The Exception (2016)

As the deposed German Kaiser Wilhelm II, living in exile in the Netherlands as World War II begins.

2016 The Exception

Plummer looked great in this ceremonial uniform.

2016 The Exception

And I enjoyed him in this role.

 

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)

As Charles Dickens’ fictional Ebenezer Scrooge, manifested in front of the author himself.

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)

I have zero desire to watch this.

2017 The Man Who Invented Christmas

Thanks Trystan for throwing yourself on this grenade!

 

Cliffs of Freedom (2019)

Per Wikipedia, “The film is a story of an ill-fated romance between a young Greek village girl and a conflicted Turkish officer during the dawn of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821.” Plummer plays “Thanasis.”

2019 Cliffs of Freedom
2019 Cliffs of Freedom

I feel like someone is calling the other “my friend” here.

 

 

What’s your favorite of Christopher Plummer’s historical roles?

32 Responses

    • M.E. Lawrence

      It’s a lot of fun, “C&C.” I’d also love to see Plummer as John Barrymore.

      Reply
  1. Susan Pola Staples

    I also really big puffy heart ❤ for Captain von Trapp and my other favourite is The Exception with Lily James.

    Reply
  2. Constance

    The Kaiser was a doofus-looking fellow…not Christopher Plummer…eek

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth Mahon

    I remember stumbling onto Fall of the Roman Empire on TCM one day and thinking this movie feels familiar but I know I haven’t seen it before. Turns out it’s almost the same exact plot as Gladiator with Stephen Boyd playing the Russell Crowe role.

    Reply
    • Roxana

      I noticed that in reverse, having seen The Fall of the Roman Empire first, then Gladiator.

      Reply
      • Roxana

        I mostly remember Sophia Loren was beautiful as always and James Mason’s incredible voice. The rest of Fall is kind of vague. Wasn’t Alec Guiness Marcus Aurelius?

        Reply
  4. Jill

    Of course it doesn’t fit the category of historical films, but Christopher Plummer is my absolute favorite Klingon: the Shakespeare-quoting Captain Chang in The Undiscovered Country.

    Reply
    • Melanie

      Yes! “You haven’t experienced Shakespeare until you’ve heard him in the original Klingon.”

      Reply
  5. Nzie

    I also love him as Captain von Trapp! He really plays quite the age range, and has for a while, doesn’t he? And only one Canadian role on this whole list–he always seems to be playing Brits or other foreign (for a Canadian) characters. I also read that he apparently had a great influence on making the Captain into a real, rounded character, since he knew the real von Trapps (although not the captain) and felt the stage play made him someone the real Maria wouldn’t have loved.

    The Scarlet and the Black is a good film but with an overbearing score. Not tons of costume content but he’s playing a Nazi so he’s almost always in uniform. Good story though.

    I remember watching some of Nuremberg when it aired. I’d have been about 14, and was very much in my all-things-history phase. But I’d already seen Judgment at Nuremberg, which is excellent, and they tossed in an adultery subplot which I was just disgusted by, so I stopped watching. shrug

    Reply
  6. Valéria Fernandes Da Silva

    Plummer is one of the best things in The Thorn Birds. He plays Cardinal Vittorio and he is all compassion, elegance and wisdom. All his scenes are wonderful.

    Reply
  7. Charity

    He was my mom’s first crush and my first crush. In The Sound of Music. Decades apart. ;)

    I really liked The Man Who Invented Christmas. I felt understood for the first time in terms of how I write a novel; like Dickens, the characters just take over and drive their own narrative and haul me along for the ride. Now if anyone asks me how my brain works, I just tell them to go watch that movie. ;)

    Reply
  8. Lynda

    Fun fact! When Plummer played Henry V in the 1956 Stratford Shakespeare Festival, his understudy was a pretty young actor from Montreal named William Shatner.

    Reply
  9. mmcquown

    I’ve seen less than half of his work, but I’d go for “Murder BY Decree,’ if only for the occasional comic moments, which he pulls off with a straight face. “Sound of Music” makes me want to vomit.

    Reply
  10. Roxana

    What a fabulous profile! I didn’t reme!bet Plummer was in the Scarlet and the Black. I was too busy looking at Gregory Peck. BTW the real monsignor looked more like Karl Maudlin.

    Reply
  11. Aleko

    No, they weren’t kidding about the colour of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s uniform. See here the uniform he was wearing when he was shot: https://europebetweeneastandwest.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/the-uniform-worn-by-archduke-franz-ferdinand-when-he-was-assassinated-in-sarajevo.jpg.

    The shade of blue used by the Austrian army was officially named ‘Kornblau’ (‘cornflower blue’). The movie tunic is a bit paler blue than the real thing, though to be fair to the costumers the photo / still may have been lightened: the whole background looks rather too pale and pastel for late Habsburg decor.

    Reply
  12. M.E. Lawrence

    “Royal Hunt of the Sun,” as I recall is pretty terrible, so bad that I suspect Plummer decided to just have some fun as the Inca king and play him like a shrieking drag queen, with poor Robert Shaw doing his best to keep a straight face.

    Reply
    • Roxana

      I’m getting a distinct S&M vibe between the scanty costumes and the chains.

      Reply
  13. SarahV

    He has the most dreamy blue eyes.

    Also, he was damned sexy as the refined, aristocratic Klingon(!) General Chang in Star Trek VI. He can rock pretty much any uniform.

    Reply
    • Martina

      I remember reading that his eyes are really hard to light…but they are beautiful.

      Reply
  14. Lily Lotus Rose

    THANK YOU. This was the Man Candy Monday I didn’t know that I needed until you made it happen. Kendra, I say amen and hi-five, because the origin of my love for Christopher Plummer is also due to his role as Captain Von Trapp. For years I’ve theorized that every girl on plant earth has a crush on the Captain! Down to nostalgia, Captain Von Trapp is my favorite of his historical roles. He’s excellent in everything, so for my 2nd and 3rd choices I’ll go with the Kaiser in The Exception and Scrooge in The Man Who Invented Christmas because those performances are freshest in my memory compared to some of his other roles. Kendra …Christmas isn’t a bad movie; it’s in that paradoxical class of movies that is both corny and well done…plus, Christopher Plummer. Why did I JUST find out that Christopher Plummer played Sherlock Holmes!?&#@*!

    Reply
  15. Melanie

    He really seems to be channelling Laurence Olivier in some of those early roles. Which is funny because they don’t look alike.

    Captain Von Trapp ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  16. Kity

    OMG you’ve never watched Thorn Birds?? You should really, really watch Thorn Birds it’s a goddamn rite of passage and passionate as hell.

    Reply
  17. Elessa

    I have a pitter patter of the heart with his profile too. Recently watched “Barrymore” on one of the streaming services. It was really well done.

    Reply
  18. Pat Carson

    I saw him in The Tempest at Stratford (Ontario). He was amazing.The cast was excellent but he just shone amongst them and he was really behaving as an ensemble actor, too. I ALSO saw him on Bloor Street in Toronto – TWICE. Be still my beating heart. Not tall, but what there is, is “cherce”! (quote – as you will know – from “Pat and Mike” 1952)

    Reply
  19. Stephanie

    So not one person is going to comment on the Google Image search suggestion? Noone?

    Reply
  20. bubblesgirl

    the latest is Knives Out on Amazon, great murder suspense movie. His voice Regarding comment on Thorn Birds, thats not the case at all. He was brilliant in it, and the scenes with Richard Chamberlain are they not only double dose of eye candy but most unexpected bromance on screen

    Reply

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