Iconic Performances

Tag: Polls
Count Dooku
25% (33 votes)
15% (20 votes)
Lord Summerisle
35% (45 votes)
25% (32 votes)
Total votes: 130


27 October 2007 - 7:32pm
Isabel Alves's picture

:ridinghorYes, as well as when he works as pirate. I find this incredible, Mr. Lee is still more charming. Ah! I love pirates. One day I will still acquire " The Devil Ship Pirates"

27 October 2007 - 1:38pm
Kaitlin Wright's picture

Lord Sumerisle in Wickerman, but I have to admit a personal lliking for Rochefort in the Musketeer films, I love to watch Mr Lee work with a sword, it is sheer poetry to watch him fence.

Jennifer Blaakum (not verified)
26 October 2007 - 6:04pm
Jennifer Blaakum's picture

Kurt - The Whip and The Body
Francisco Scaramanga - James Bond
Saruman - The Lord of the Rings
Star Wars - Count Dooku (*insinuating eyebrow movements* He can play a Force-trick or two on me!)

And practically so many more things. But I also like it just to see him on stage as himself, holding a speech, singing, or reciting poetry.

26 October 2007 - 3:28am
Doug Griffin's picture

Saruman the White was perfect for CL. I can't imagine a better actor for the role.

17 April 2006 - 12:51am
Isabel Alves's picture

For me the ironic largest characters are:
1º* Lord Summerisle (I adore this)
2º* Rasputin (I have great admiration for this)
3º* Francisco Scaramanga (this is very beautiful)
4º* Dooku (this is the most powerful, grandiose)

" Aiding a "great man" there is always a "great woman"! Mrs. Lee should be an exemplary woman, a wonderful wife and mother. :dancing:

30 May 2005 - 3:38pm
Neil Baxter's picture

Joakim Lundberg wrote:
Lord Summerisle. Lines like "Naturally It's much more dangerous to jump through a bonfire with your clothes on". Priceless. The others are masterpieces as well but in terms of dialog it has to be Lord Summerisle.

Indeed plus:

"Himself the son of a virgin impregnated, I believe, by a ghost"

"Use your bladder man!"

"Sit down sergeant, shocks are taken so much better with the knees bent"

A truly unnerving film, yet I think Mr. Lee has some humorous lines and gives a wonderful benevolent yet sininster performance.

My favourite C.L. film that one... "The Devil Rides Out" comes a very close second though!


Pat Hutchinson (not verified)
22 May 2005 - 2:58pm
Pat Hutchinson's picture

I find Rasptuin a fascinating character, and Mr. Lee gives a very compelling performance in this film.

27 April 2005 - 9:31am
captain nemo's picture

There is too little vote offers! But it was so difficult to choose. Because, Mr Lee had always stay the same as ever. He always plays his characters with a lot of feeling and credibility.
I choose Sarouman. I adore Tolkien's books and notably "Lord of the Ring". I think the presence of Mr Lee had been necessary for this story at the screen. The film wouldn't have been the same without him. Mr Lee is really unforgettable.

19 April 2005 - 5:42pm
Stewart Gaffney's picture

I vote for De Richleau Tongue

17 April 2005 - 7:52pm
Brandon's picture

Definitely Saruman! Too bad the scene in ROTK wasnt longer.

17 April 2005 - 7:46pm
Brandon's picture

Saruman! His performance in The Return of the King extended was perfect Saruman! Too bad the scene wasnt longer.

7 April 2005 - 2:22am
April M Carnes's picture

Well being a HUGE Star Wars fan, I'm a lot biased. I think that Count Dooku is an awesome character, and I am sooooo glad that Christopher Lee played that role. I have a few Count Dooku items, though I would like to have more of course. I mean he did great in Lord of the Rings, and as Lord Summerisle, and all the other million movies he's been in. I just love Star Wars so much and Christopher Lee sooo much that the two go hand in hand. I can't wait till see Revenge of the Sith if only for Christopher's appearance alone. I know he dies in this one, but oh well, he almost always dies in his movies. This movie is going to be great and Count Dooku and Christopher Lee will be awesome! I cannot wait until May 19th, which is by the way a few days after George Lucas b-day and mine (May 14th) wich we share. Maybe I should get a Star Wars B-Day cake with Count Dooku on it. That would be cool. Well anyway that's my two cents on the whole thing.

Regards all u fans!


31 March 2005 - 9:05pm
keith hopwood's picture

From the first time I saw Rasputin, its always been a favorite,I think Mr Lee
gave a stunning performance. (Those Hands!!!) marvellous.

22 March 2005 - 6:24pm
silvisjka's picture

I'd go for Rasputin anytime. Like someone already said here - it is a very good portrait of an extremely difficult and complex caracter. A pity though that the story is so far away from the real life-drama.

Purple_Pen (not verified)
13 March 2005 - 4:28pm
Purple_Pen's picture

I'm thrilled to see Lord Summerisle pulling ahead in this poll. That's the role I voted for a few days ago, and having been lucky enough to see The Wicker Man on the big screen at a local art-house cinema on Friday night, I'm all the more convinced it was the right choice. It's an amazing testament to the power of that performance that even in 2005 it can still come out as being preferred over his recent major roles in blockbuster movies like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. And by that I don't mean to denigrate the recent roles at all - I just mean that in the face of such stiff competition from these impressive recent achievements, it is really fantastic that Lord Summerisle is still able to hold his own like this.

12 March 2005 - 11:36pm
Frederick Bergstrom's picture

I must say im very happy to see this site still up and running. As great as LOTR and Star wars are for putting Christopher back into big high profile movies where he so proudly belongs his performance in Rasputin is a tour de force and although not mentioned in the same breath as Summerisle or many of his other great roles, would be the one to get my vote over the choices given

8 March 2005 - 3:14pm
Maria Silbermann's picture

I shall always have a warm spot in my heart for Scaramanga and Rochefort! I voted for Dooku, given this list.

Maria S.

8 March 2005 - 11:03am
guest's picture

Has to be Lord Summerisle. It was a part made especially with him in mind. And the fact he played the part for free and out of love of acting says alot. He is simply outstanding in the part. He is superb in all these roles Dooku, Saruman and Rasputin all clearly villainous roles played to perfection by an expert in personifications of evil like Mr Lee. But Lord Summerisle is such a multi faceted part, its never made clear until the end of film what his motivations are and Mr Lee carries it off to perfection. "A little child is even better, but not NEARLY as effective as the right kind of adult" brilliant.Wink

8 March 2005 - 12:25am
Kornelis Kalsbeek's picture


Hard choice but Rasputin had this moment that will never leave you.
And not only to me.
Just to give an impression.
I once held this filmnight, with various horror's. And everybody didn't like Rasputin because he was scary. While the others where entertainment.
The film does not contain much blood (exept the begin scene with the cut off hand) but noboy reminds this hand....
Everybody reminds does eyes! Does hands!
Lee is thrilling, great perfect wonderfull!
I love that film!

7 March 2005 - 9:11pm
Dave Zentz's picture

Like everyone else that has replied I find this a very short list to chose from.

My personal favorite character by far is Scaramanga, he was definitely one of the top Bond villains of all time !!!

But back to list, I chose Count Dooku partially because I'm a big Star Wars fan, and Mr. Lee had the strongest performance of all the other actors in Episode II.



7 March 2005 - 9:22am
Joakim Lundberg's picture

Lord Summerisle. Lines like "Naturally It's much more dangerous to jump through a bonfire with your clothes on". Priceless. The others are masterpieces as well but in terms of dialog it has to be Lord Summerisle.

6 March 2005 - 11:40am
Matt Gemmell's picture

My choice has to be Lord Summerisle . Not only because The Wicker Man is one of my favourite films , Christopher Lees portrayal of the character is unique .

It would have been tempting to play Summerisle as some kind of madman or an evil landlord but , thankfully , that doesn't happen . Summerisle appears to be a man genuingly mindfull of his responsibilities and one who cares for his community . The lifestyle on Summerisle harkens back to a Britains pagan past long before modern religion got in the way . Of course what they do to Edward Woodwards character at the end is murder but there are very few religions that have'nt slaughtered hundreds , no thousands , in the name of their god .
Christopher Lee presents us with a truly believable character and he does it without resorting to the traditional methods of cinema " bad guys "

5 March 2005 - 8:32am
Dave Hutchens's picture

I chose Dooku precisely because of his very limited screen time. Despite of this, Dooku is by far the most memorable character. Everyone I've ever spoken to regarding EPII agrees that Count Dooku dominates -- and saves -- an otherwise mediocre film.

littleb (not verified)
3 March 2005 - 9:59pm
littleb's picture

Those are all really good, no, spectacular performances, and hard to choose one. I chose Rasputin, mainly because I liked the earthiness of the character, and so close to the real man. Good poll. Matt! Smile

3 March 2005 - 8:46pm
Helen Dyer's picture

What you say is true Matt, Just wanted to give you a hard time Wink .
There is no easy way to create a "short" list when trying to poll Mr. Lee :confused: ....But your choices were good......Besides it is fun to see a poll or two out there once in awhile........ Laughing out loud

Have a great day.

Cheers, Cool

3 March 2005 - 6:56pm
Renate Knobloch-Maas's picture

Matt G wrote:
This is just a bit of fun that will hopefully ellicit some interesting replies .

The choices my be unfair but when you have as many screen credits as Mr Lee you have to limit the vote .
Scaramanga , Kharis , Dracula , Fu Manchu .............. the list goes on and on .
Besides , Jinnah is too important a film to Mr Lee to be placed in this type of poll. It's very probably his finest screen performance ( so far ) but the poll is asking for a personal favourite from the short list .

I thought you had left "Jinnah" out on purpose, and I agree to your reasons.
As I said, there is a huge difference between "best/finest" and "favorite".

A favorite performance is always something personal, that has to do not only with the performance itself but also with how it is received and what it is associated with.

That's what I tried to express in my thoughts about Saruman. Christopher Lee plays exactly "my" Saruman, as I had imagined him to be and as I hadn't thought it possible to be brought to life on film. When I read the book, Saruman's voice is the voice of Christopher Lee. Well, the book being my favorite book, it's hard to beat something like that. Smile

3 March 2005 - 6:18pm
Matt Gemmell's picture

This is just a bit of fun that will hopefully ellicit some interesting replies .

The choices my be unfair but when you have as many screen credits as Mr Lee you have to limit the vote .
Scaramanga , Kharis , Dracula , Fu Manchu .............. the list goes on and on .
Besides , Jinnah is too important a film to Mr Lee to be placed in this type of poll. It's very probably his finest screen performance ( so far ) but the poll is asking for a personal favourite from the short list .

3 March 2005 - 4:50pm
Renate Knobloch-Maas's picture

Uh, that's a difficult one. I haven't yet seen Rasputin (besides stills from the movie), only the other three, so I can't comment on Rasputin.

Dooku is fine, very fine indeed, but not my favorite. He does not get enough screen time in the movie to fully develop the character, I think. I read the novelization of the script, which has some scenes in it that were not in the movie (e.g. Obi-Wan pondering about a bust of Dooku in the Jedi Library, which emphasized the awe and respect that Obi-Wan still feels about the 'legendary' Dooku, although he turned away from the Jedi), but still, Christopher Lee doesn't get the time to show more of Dooku's background, motivation, and character. In the limited time, he did a fantastic job. Pity the movie focused so much on Amidala and Anakin...

So it had to be either Summerisle or Saruman.

Down to these two, I really had to think hard, and I have to go into detail on what I think of Saruman and the difficulties of playing Saruman.

Saruman has, in some way, the same problem as Dooku with regards to little screen time, but as Lord of the Rings has so many characters to deal with, nearly everyone in it deserves more screen time (I wouldn't mind a bit if LotR was 8 hours per movie!). But maybe it's easier for me to fill in the "blanks" there than with Dooku, as I just have much more background information on Saruman. I've loved The Lord of the Rings for a long time, long before the movies came out. I haven't just read the Lord of the Rings, but also most of J.R.R. Tolkien's other works on Middle-Earth. Well, and Saruman was one of my book favorites right from the beginning. An interesting character, obviously very intelligent, but also very... 'human' (I know that's a contradiction in terms for an Istar Wink ) in contrast to Gandalf's (most of the time) superhuman 'goodness'. Saruman was not evil from the beginning. He had his shortcomings, but he also had a lot of strengths.

If he had overcome those shortcomings, if he had remained "Saruman, as he should have been", he could have been greater than Gandalf. Indeed he was at one time, Gandalf said that himself. He describes him to Frodo as the "highest of my order". Often, I half wished that Saruman would have remained Saruman the White. It always makes me somewhat sad if a great man is finally overthrown by his weaknesses instead of overcoming them.

In the movie, it is made to look a little as if Saruman were but a puppet of Sauron. He actually isn't (not on purpose, anyway) - he doesn't intend to deliver the ring to Sauron, he intends to use it himself. He works for no-one but himself, because he thinks he is the wisest of all and therefore fully qualified for the job to wield absolute power.

He already is powerful, very powerful, and he retains that power even when Isengard is flooded and Gandalf walks up to his doorstep. One of my favorite scenes in the book was always "The Voice of Saruman". There Saruman is, his works destroyed, his army scattered, left with nothing but his voice. And he still almost manages, with the power of his voice alone, to turn the table in his favor! In the book, the scene is much more elaborate, and it remains unclear for a while whether he has indeed managed to convince Gandalf or not. Gandalf & Co let him speak more, without interruption. They listen, they think about his words, and remain silent while he speaks. The spell is only broken by Gimli growling "The words of this wizard stand on their head!" and Gandalf starting to laugh: "Saruman, Saruman. You should have been the king's jester." (Sorry for misquoting, I'm doing this from memory). But I don't think it was that easy for Gandalf to break the spell, and Gandalf says that Saruman made the mistake of addressing everyone in turn, shifting his focus. What if he hadn't made that mistake? What if Gandalf had indeed come alone, without his "rabble" (or whatever charming label Saruman puts on Gandalf's companions. I really should keep a copy of the book in my office, to be able to quote correctly...).

Misguided though Saruman is, I can't help being in awe of that kind of power. Now, in a book, someone like this can be portrayed fairly easily - if you're not in real life, larger-than-life characters don't present a problem. But on film, a human being has to portray this character. And, frankly, I can't think of any other person who could have played Tolkien's Saruman. I can't think of any other person who has the Voice of Saruman! If I didn't know better, I should say that J.R.R. Tolkien had Christopher Lee (as an actor, of course, not his real personality) in mind when he created that Wizard. When I heard that Mr. Lee had been cast as Saruman, I simply thought "who else could it have been?". Actually, I read to my mother (who is familiar rather with Christopher Lee's singing than his acting, but she knows what he looks like) the whole passage describing Saruman himself and his voice, and asked her whom it reminded her of, and she said immediately "why, that's Christopher Lee, of course!" and gave me a look saying "what a stupid question". It's uncanny how exactly Tolkien's description fits.

Now back to the question, I haven't forgotten it. Although Summerisle has the benefit of being one of the leads in "The Wicker Man" and therefore getting sufficient screen time (not as much as I should have liked, of course, but enough), he still is human. Christopher Lee is magnificent, again I couldn't think of any other to play Summerisle with that mixture of a benevolent smile and... well, he can be frightening at the same time. In the scene where Summerisle rises from his grand piano, folds his arms and slowly walks behind Sgt Howie ("very perplexing for you, is it not?"), I would at least turn around in Howie's place, I would't want Summerisle behind my back. But nonetheless, that kind smile is never far from Summerisle's face. Great character, great performance.

But here we have a human playing a human (as is also the case with Dooku and Rasputin). I love the movie, I love Christopher Lee's Lord Summerisle in it (to boil it down to the essential part of another rambling discussion!), but the first place for "favorite iconic performance" goes to Saruman, for bringing to (screen) life a character who is actually a rung above mankind.

So Saruman wins, with Lord Summerisle coming in a close second, and Dooku third. Rasputin, as I said, I can't comment on.

Sorry for that novel, I couldn't quite come up with a short answer on "why Saruman?".

By the way, I think "Jinnah" should also be counted as an "iconic performance". I don't think Jinnah can beat Saruman in terms of being my "favorite", as I'm simply too much of a long-time Lord of the Rings admirer, but aside from those personal reasons, it's certainly an "iconic performance", probably the best. But the question was the 'favorite', not the 'best'.


3 March 2005 - 4:12am
Helen Dyer's picture

The choices for this poll are really unfair. I think Mr. Lee has left an indelible mark on each of these character portrayals. However, I did choose Saruman in this case (but it was a toss up with Lord Summerisle). I felt Mr. Lee's portrayal of Saruman was commanding and discerning. He was a definitive visual force that gave support to the urgency to "save" Middle Earth.

Cheers, Wink


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