Christopher Lee: From Lord Summerisle to Saruman

Christopher Lee: From Lord Summerisle to Saruman

With the sad news that Sir Christopher Lee has died at the age of 93, we thought we would look through the man’s career and pick through ten key movies from a life in film that spanned eight decades

1) The Mummy (1959)

Lee is the mummy of the title, an ancient Egyptian high priest unwittingly brought back to life by archaeologists. There is a kitsch charm to proceedings again thanks to Lee.

The Mummy

2) The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

Lee is Sir Henry in the adaptation of Conan Doyle’s classic Holmes story, a part he plays with his usual panache.

Hound of The Baskervilles

3) Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966)

Lee doesn’t speak a word in the first Hammer film starring the evil count but he still manages to bring menace and charm to the role.

Dracula Prince of Darkness

4) Rasputin (1966)

Lee brings the manic personality of Czar Nicholas II’s adviser  to life in this unusual Hammer production.

Rasputin The Mad Monk

5) The Devil Rides Out (1968)

Lee plays the Duc du Richleau in this adaptation of Dennis Wheatley’s book and for once, playing against type, Lee is on the side of good. As ever, his screen presence lifts what would have been a pretty perfunctory devil worship film otherwise.

The Devil Rides Out

6) The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

Lee is Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s brother, and he brings an intensity to the role that very few actors could.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

7) The Wicker Man (1973)

Arguably Lee’s finest moment as ruler Lord Summerisle of a mysterious Scottish island where the ancient rites still hold sway. Lee is magnificently understated and sinister here and it’s a film that, even though it’s over forty years old, still has the power to unsettle.

The Wicker Man

8) The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Lee is Scaramanga, the world’s deadliest assassin, and thanks to Lee, who portrays him as louche and actually rather urbane, he feels like a worthy adversary for Roger Moore’s James Bond.

The Man with the Golden Gun

9) The Four Musketeers (1974)

Lee reprised his role as the evil Rochefort here but he has more to do with the character than in the Three Musketeers and bringing a certain gravitas to every scene he is in.

The Four Musketeers

10) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Lee plays Saruman, the evil wizard and former colleague of Gandalf, and he showed here, even into his eighties, that he still had that unique magnetism on screen and that wonderful voice still had the power to bewitch.

 

 

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