Requiescat In Pace: Max Von Sydow


One of the greatest actors of our time, Max Von Sydow, passed away yesterday at age 90.  During his over seven decade career he played roles ranging from Jesus Christ to Liet Kynes and everything in between, including exorcising demons and playing chess with death.  An actor’s actor, I never saw him give a bad performance.  For much of his life he was an atheist or an agnostic.  He changed his mind late in life, based on a supposed communication after death from his friend Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, and went into the next life believing in the next life.



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  1. Absolutely resplendent as Emperor Ming in the otherwise forgettable 1980 Flash Gordon. Just one of so, so many.

  2. I remember a quote from Von Sydow. To paraphrase, he admitted it was more fun to play Ming the Merciless than Jesus Christ.

  3. The best Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
    In “Three days of the Condor” his character was painting historical miniatures, so he was probably a warhammer. I wonder if that was his addition or the scripts.

  4. The Flash Gordon movie was as campy as the Batman TV show. It did have an interesting opening sequence with a soundtrack by Queen that is very similar to the later Marvel Studios movie intros.
    Von Sydow is heard doing the Ming dialog during the opening sequence. The Flash Gordon opening sequence is on YouTube as well as a compilation of the Marvel Studios logo intros.
    Flash Gordon opening sequence:
    Marvel Studios logo intros:

  5. “The Seventh Seal”, One of the greatest works of art and film with one of the most amazing performances by an actor. Requiescant in pace, Mssr. Von Sydow

  6. Also: “Greatest Story Ever Told,” the perennially sinister Donald Pleasance as Satan (“Dark Hermit”)

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