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The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933)

King Henry VIII marries five more times after his divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon.

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(story and dialogue) (as Lajos Biro), (story and dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Franklin Dyall ...
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Laurence Hanray ...
Archbishop Cranmer (as Lawrence Hanray)
William Austin ...
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Cornell (as Claude Allister)
Gibb McLaughlin ...
The French Executioner (as Gibb Mc.Laughlin)
Sam Livesey ...
The English Executioner
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Everley Gregg ...
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Storyline

This movie tells the story of King Henry VIII and the last five of his six wives. Set almost entirely within the royal castle, it begins just before the death of his second wife (Anne Boleyn) and ends just after his sixth wedding (to Catherine or Katherine Parr). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

HE GAVE HIS WIVES A PAIN IN THE NECK And did his necking with an axe. Henry, the Eighth Wonder of the World! And this picture...the wonder of all time! See more »


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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 September 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Privatleben Heinrichs VIII.  »

Box Office

Budget:

£60,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Set designer Vincent Korda spoke no English whatever, and the film's British crew spoke no Hungarian, so all of the film's sets were constructed via sign language between Korda and the crew. See more »

Goofs

Anne of Cleves compares Henry to the legend of Bluebeard, a literary work not known to exist before 1697. See more »

Quotes

[Henry's fourth wedding night]
King Henry VIII: [shouting] Ah, what am I, what am I going to do with you!
Anne of Cleves: Chop my head?
King Henry VIII: Probably.
Anne of Cleves: You daren't.
King Henry VIII: Why not?
Anne of Cleves: Because in Europe I will make such a scandal as you never heard. Not the first time you have chopped the head. Henry the wife-butcher, that's what they will call you!
King Henry VIII: I don't care what they say, I'm not going to live with you!
Anne of Cleves: Well, why don't you divorce me, like a gentleman?
King Henry VIII: You would consent to a divorce?
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Henry VIII had six wives. Catherine of Aragon was the first; but her story is of no particular interest - she was a respectable woman-so Henry divorced her. He then married Anne Boleyn. This marriage also was a failure-but not for the same reason. See more »

Connections

Version of The Tudors: His Majesty's Pleasure (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Charles Laughton as the Tudor king
2 April 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Alexander Korda's film about Henry VIII was a worthy Oscar winner - the first time a British film was so recognised. Seen now it is a dated piece of work but Charles Laughton has the heart and soul of the king down to perfection - grumbling, belching, ripping meat of the bones with his bare hands, leering at the women of his court, and - when the situation allows it - giving the part a fair amount of pathos.

Oddly, the film begins with the execution of Anne Boleyn (Merle Oberon). We don't see the first wife, Katherine of Aragon, at all. Wendy Barrie is Jane Seymour, the one true love of Henry's life - for her he changed his initialled monogram from an entwined H and A (for Anne) to H and J. Catherine Howard is played by Binnie Barnes - she's a bit too flighty for my liking and not an accurate reading of Catherine as history renders her. Robert Donat has a thankless part as Culpeper, who Catherine sets her sights on. And as Catherine Parr, the last Queen to Henry and the one to outlast him, Everley Gregg is amusing and touching.

The scene-stealer as usual though is the real-life Mrs Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, playing the plain, card-dealing, Anne of Cleves. She puts this part across with little effort, wheedling money from her new husband in lieu of the expected fruits of their wedding night. These scenes are a great source of comedy as the two pros play off each other.

'The Private Life of Henry VIII' is a good play, and just when you think you know how the part is going to go, it surprises you as all good acting should. Laughton would do other good work for Korda (including Rembrandt a few years later) but this is one of his best remembered roles for British cinema.


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