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The story of the ill-fated second wife of the English king Henry VIII, whose marriage to the Henry led to momentous political and religious turmoil in England. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
No "Lubitsch touches" in crashing tedious bore of a costume epic
Lubitsch had either not yet discovered his "touches" or this was simply not his cup of tea. The thousand days of Anne Boleyn are recounted in this two and a quarter hour epic and it could not be more boring or tedious. Henny Porten as Anne is rather homely, nothing to attract a king to put away a marriage and disrupt a kingdom - and she overacts dreadfully. In this scenario Jane Seymour is nurse to the future Queen Elizabeth and is wooed by Henry even before the baby is born. There are two good things about the film - the elaborate costume design and Jannings as Henry VIII - he plays him as a charming, sly and lustful man - in fact, he always has an eye out for a conquest and easily tires of both his wives once they are wed. He has the character down solidly (we know who Laughton studied for his classic portrayal of the monarch), but unfortunately the script doesn't give him any real opportunities to "act." Still, he is the most convincing and interesting actor on the set - why are we surprised?
The script has Anne pursued against her wishes by Henry and arrives at the wedding night quite terrified. There is no interest on her part to be Henry's bride or queen. Later she becomes fond of him but it's too late - he tires of her quickly and can't stand the sight of her after her issue proves to be a girl, not his desired heir. It also presents her as being framed by the non-existing infidelity charge in order to be got rid of.
The print I saw was an Italian one with Italian subtitles . Unless you are a Jannings fan, it's not worth your trouble. Especially if you love Lubitsch, avoid it.
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