IMDb > The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933)
The Private Life of Henry VIII.
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The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933) More at IMDbPro »

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The Private Life of Henry VIII. -- Tells how King Henry VIII came to marry five more times after his divorce from his first wife.

Overview

User Rating:
7.2/10   2,725 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 16% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Lajos Biró (story) and
Arthur Wimperis (story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Private Life of Henry VIII. on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 September 1933 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
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 »
Plot:
King Henry VIII marries five more times after his divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination See more »
NewsDesk:
(5 articles)
The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 43 – Alexander Korda’s Private Lives
 (From CriterionCast. 5 June 2016, 5:00 AM, PDT)

Best Royal Movies
 (From WeAreMovieGeeks.com. 17 April 2016, 5:05 PM, PDT)

10 Best Royal Films
 (From WeAreMovieGeeks.com. 12 November 2013, 8:26 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
Setting A High Standard See more (31 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Charles Laughton ... Henry VIII

Robert Donat ... Thomas Culpeper
Franklin Dyall ... Thomas Cromwell

Miles Mander ... Wriothesley
Laurence Hanray ... Archbishop Cranmer (as Lawrence Hanray)
William Austin ... Duke of Cleves

John Loder ... Peynell

Claud Allister ... Cornell (as Claude Allister)
Gibb McLaughlin ... The French Executioner (as Gibb Mc.Laughlin)
Sam Livesey ... The English Executioner

Merle Oberon ... Anne Boleyn The Second Wife

Wendy Barrie ... Jane Seymour The Third Wife

Elsa Lanchester ... Anne of Cleves The Fourth Wife

Binnie Barnes ... Katherine Howard The Fifth Wife
Everley Gregg ... Katherine Parr The Sixth Wife
Lady Tree ... The King's Nurse
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frederick Culley ... Duke of Norfolk (uncredited)
Mark Daly ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Annie Esmond ... The Cook's Wife (uncredited)
William Heughan ... Kingston (uncredited)
Arthur Howard ... Kitchen Helper (uncredited)
Judy Kelly ... Lady Rochford (uncredited)
Wally Patch ... Butcher in Kitchen (uncredited)
Hay Petrie ... The King's Barber (uncredited)

Terry-Thomas ... Extra (uncredited)

John Turnbull ... Hans Holbein (uncredited)

Directed by
Alexander Korda 
 
Writing credits
Lajos Biró (story and dialogue) (as Lajos Biro) and
Arthur Wimperis (story and dialogue)

Arthur Wimperis (scenario)

Produced by
Alexander Korda .... producer (as A Korda-Ludovico Production)
Ludovico Toeplitz .... producer (as A Korda-Ludovico Production)
 
Original Music by
Kurt Schröder  (as Kurt Schroeder)
 
Cinematography by
Georges Périnal (photography) (as Georges Perinal)
 
Film Editing by
Stephen Harrison 
 
Costume Design by
John Armstrong (costumes designed by)
 
Production Management
David B. Cunynghame .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Geoffrey Boothby .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Vincent Korda .... settings designer
C.P. Norman .... assistant art director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
A.W. Watkins .... sound
 
Visual Effects by
W. Percy Day .... matte painter (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Man Mountain Dean .... stunt double: Charles Laughton (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Osmond Borradaile .... camera (as Osmond Borrodaile)
 
Editorial Department
Harold Young .... editorial supervisor
Stephen Bearman .... colorist (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... assistant musical director (uncredited)
Kurt Schröder .... musical director (uncredited)
Alfred Strasser .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Alfred Strasser .... music arranger (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Philip Lindsay .... technical adviser
Espinosa .... choreographer (uncredited)
Phillip Glasier .... falcon cadger (uncredited)
C.W.R. Knight .... falconry expert (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
USA:97 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Netherlands:AL (DVD rating) (2009) | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1934) | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) (passed with cuts) | UK:U (tv rating) | UK:U (video rating) (1987) (1992) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

Trivia:
At the time of its 1947 USA re-release, this film was most often paired with the re-release of _Catherine the Great (1934)_ sharing the lower half of the double bill.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: Whilst accurately showing Anne Boleyn's execution by a specially requested swordsman from France, rather than an ax, the film shows the fixing of a block to the scaffold. A block is not used in decapitations by sword.See more »
Quotes:
Thomas Cromwell:Sire, we need more heirs.
King Henry VIII:I have given you three, two daughters and a son! I grant you, the daughters show little promise; Mary may grow to wisdom, but Elizabeth'll never learn to rule so much as a kitchen. Ah, but the boy is my second self.
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
Setting A High Standard, 11 December 2005
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

In watching The Private Life of Henry VIII it's good to remember that we are talking about his private life. The reasons of state and the impact all the marriages had on Tudor foreign and domestic politics is not dealt with her at all. For a balanced treatment of that I would highly recommend watching the BBC mini-series with Keith Michell.

In fact it was all politics and religion and the mix of the two that was involved in Henry VIII's first marriage and the divorce. That was what led to the English break away from the Roman Catholic Church and the founding of the Anglican church. In this film Catherine of Aragon, wife number one, is dismissed as "a good woman."

The film begins with the execution of Number 2, Anne Boleyn, who failed in her duty to provide a male royal heir. Number 3, Jane Seymour did so at the cost of her own life when she died in childbirth. Both Merle Oberon and Wendy Barrie who played both of these women respectively make brief, but lasting impressions.

Wife Number 4 is Anne of Cleves and were not sure exactly why Henry VIII found her so unappealing. Reportedly the portrait sent to the English court of her before the marriage was brokered was shall we say, exaggerated advertisement. This vacuum of knowledge gives Elsa Lanchester a great opportunity for some scatterbrained comedy that she so excelled at. It comes as a comic interlude in an otherwise grim film. The things Henry does for England.

Wife Number 5 is Catherine Howard, reputedly a young girl with some nymphomaniac tendencies. Binnie Barnes as Catherine Howard is a good deal more virtuous, but just as ambitious as the real Catherine. In truth Thomas Culpepper played by Robert Donat was only one of a series of lovers with whom she cheated with. And doing that to the King had only one remedy.

Charles Laughton one an Oscar for this performance and set a standard for playing Henry VIII. Some of the others that followed and all of them doing it well are Montagu Love, Richard Burton, Robert Shaw, James Robertson Justice and Keith Michell. Yet Laughton's is the performance all others are measured by.

Robert Donat got his first real notice playing Thomas Culpepper and of course went on to a great, but limited career because of his chronic asthma. Some of the cerebral qualities that went into all of his lead roles are definitely found in Culpepper.

But despite Donat and the wives the film is Laughton's. Laughton was only 34 when this film was made about a decade at least younger than the real Henry VIII. And folks did age faster in Henry's time than in Laughton's. I've always thought that the key to Henry VIII was the fact he wanted to stay young forever. He wouldn't accept growing old as a fact of life that even monarchs aren't immune from.

We should remember the film is about his private life and it is Laughton's portrayal of the private Henry that has made this film a classic.

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Recommendations

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