The Cinephilia & Beyond guy tweeted that he was “devastated” by the passing of the legendary, forever elegant Christopher Lee at age 93. Why so devastated? Lee lived a long and healthy life as a man and a truly glorious one as an actor, despite having been more or less confined to the horror-fantasy genre by the indelible impressions he made in various Hammer horror films of the ’50s, most famously as Count Alucard…I’m sorry, I meant to say Dracula. I’ll always worship Cushing’s performance in the ’58 Horror of Dracula (or simply Dracula in England) but Lee was proudest, I suspect, of his non-fantasy performances — Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man, the Comte de Rochefort in The Three Musketeers (the clip below between Lee and Charlton Heston offers a taste of what I feel is Lee’s finest, best-written screen performance), Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, and one of the guys on the cover of Band on the Run, the Paul McCartney/Wings album. Lee was the very epitome of the classy, elegant gentleman-actor who lived a much richer life than was indicated by the type of roles he mostly played. May we all live so long and reap so abundantly.
Notice how the great Christopher Lee is the ONLY GUY in this album-jacket photo who seems to be in character as a thief or ne’er-do-well of some kind. McCartney looks like an eight year-old who’s just been caught stealing a cookie. James Coburn…what the fuck is he doing? “I am a thief and proud of it, coppers! Come and get me!”