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Four Faces Of Evil: Julian Glover, The Consummate Villain

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You won’t find Julian Glover on Entertainment Weekly’s list of top 20 villains. And it’s not really a surprise. Glover isn’t exactly a house-hold name. A familiar face, sure, but none of his villains are considered iconic, and I’m not going to argue that they should be. But as I tick off the movies and television shows that are among my favourites, Glover’s face pops up time and time again: the unblinking eyes, the calm and collected look upon his face; thin lips that can turn from a sneer one minute, to a wry, distrustful half-smile the next. He’s my essential villain.

Star Wars

In Star Wars he plays General Veers, and, interestingly, he’s one of the few generals to survive Darth Vader’s effective pay-for-performance management style. He’s more a tertiary villain in this one, and I believe his fate remains unknown at the close of the film. No doubt he was given a full commission and retired to a peaceful corner of the empire to write his memoirs and tend to his vegetable garden. Or he probably just got blowed up with everybody else on the Death Star.



James Bond

Now, I haven’t seen For Your Eyes Only for a number of years so it’s not really one of my favourites, but I did watch it a lot as a kid. I remember it being one of the better Roger Moore outings, meaning it has fewer silly bits, and, as far as I remember, there aren’t any camels or any other mammal, fish, or bird doing a trickery camera-tic double-take. Okay. except for the parrot. Anyway, Glover plays Aristotle Kristatos, assumes a Greek accent, starts off as Bond’s ally, turns evil, and gets a knife in his back for his troubles. He is perhaps one of the more underrated Bond villains, and this comes down mostly to the fact that the part doesn’t feature a memorable scene like Goldfinger’s “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die” shtick. But he does tie Bond and <generic Bond girl> to the back of a boat and drag them along some coral reefs for a spell…so that’s pretty badass…

Doctor Who

Mr. Glover has made two appearances in Doctor Who. The first was as Richard the Lionheart in the 1965 episode The Crusade, an episode, sadly, that no longer exists in its entirety. His second appearance, 14 years later, just happens to have been in what is widely regarded as one of thee best episodes of classic Who: Douglas Adams’ City of Death. As Count Scarlioni, aka. Scaroth, last of the Jagaroth, Glover is terrific, and he gets to play two versions of Scaroth – a modern version, and a renaissance one. He’s cultured, witty, and ruthless.

It’s a well written role, and a great part for Glover, despite the fact that when he takes off his ‘human’ mask, the spaghetti and meatballs head underneath is far too large. He’s definitely one of the more memorable villains in the Who canon. He dies in a fiery laboratory explosion. As you do.



Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Of course, my favourite Julian Glover baddie has to be as Arthur Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This time he’s an American business man who sides with the Nazis in order to discover the holy grail. Again, Glover plays the articulate, suave villain that we know so well, and, while he’s actually only in the film for about a quarter of the time, he manages to create a memorably evil character. Not only does he double cross Indy and the gang, but he shoots Henry Sr. in cold blood. I love Glover’s delivery in this climatic scene. So calm, so understated, yet so completely evil. I couldn’t find a youtube clip of the whole thing, but the speech he gives goes like this:

Nazis?!—Is that the limit of
your vision?! The Nazis want to
write themselves into the Grail
legend and take on the world.
Well, they’re welcome. But I want
the Grail itself. The cup that
gives everlasting life.
Hitler can have the world, but
he can’t take it with him. I’m
going to be drinking my own health
when he’s gone the way of the Dodo.

The whole scene really cooks, and it wouldn’t work as well without Glover providing the menace, leaving Indy in an impossible situation; he can’t save his dad with his fists, he has to submit himself to faith, or the Hollywood version of it. And Donovan certainly gets his in the end: aging at superspeed. Definitely worse than a knife in the back, or at least, that would be my guess. We should definitely get the scientists to start researching that, stat. That stat. Rhyming is fun.


In addition to these 4 evil roles, Glover provided the voice of Aragog in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. A spider, who, while loyal to Hagrid, has no compunction in allowing his many offspring to feast on Harry and Ron. He played another bad general in Troy, and he has bounced around playing various bad guys, military guys, and upstanding English gentleman guys in tons of other things.

So let’s recap:

Number of double crosses: 2

Number of deaths: 3 (probably 4)

Number of evil plans thwarted: All of them

I don’t have too much more to say about the man other than to reiterate what a great actor he is. I’m not sure what I would do if I ever saw him on the street, or came across him face-to-face on a frozen planet or in an old, dusty temple. I’d probably run away. Then knife him in the back just to be sure.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sunday, February 28, 2010 6:46 am

    Graeme’s alive! Yay!

  2. Sunday, February 28, 2010 10:55 am

    Assumes diabolical Julian Glover-type voice: “I wish I could say the same for you.”

  3. Monday, March 1, 2010 1:24 pm

    A minor detail which I shall soon remedy, I assure you.

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