When Elizabeth Tudor comes to the throne, her (male) advisers know she has to marry. Doesn't she? Thus starts a decades-long political/ matrimonial game, during an age of high passions and high achievement.
The death of King Henry VIII throws his kingdom into chaos because of succession disputes. His weak son Edward, is on his deathbed. Anxious to keep England true to the Reformation, a ... See full summary »
Helena Bonham Carter,
Henry VIII of England discards one wife Katharine of Aragon, who has failed to produce a male heir, in favor of a young and beautiful woman, Anne Boleyn, whose one-thousand-day reign as Queen of England ends with the loss of her head on the block. Henry weds Ann and soon she gives him a child. The girl, Elizabeth, is a bitter disappointment to Henry, who desperately wants an heir. Anne promises Henry a son "next time," but Henry is doubtful. Shortly thereafter, rumors begin that the King's eye has already wandered. One Jane Seymour is at court for a moment. The Queen has her sent away, but, if Anne will bring Jane back to court, the King promises to sign the Act of Succession to insure that Elizabeth will be Queen. Written by
The original 1948-1949 Broadway stage production in New York starred Rex Harrison and Joyce Redman playing King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn respectively. Harrison won the Best Actor Tony Award for his performance See more »
Mary Tudor and her mother Catherine of Aragon are talking after Anne has become Queen. When Anne was Queen, Mary and her mother were forbidden to see each other. See more »
With a surprisingly strong script and good performances, the film delivers as a late 1960s production that reveals a cinema that was in transition into the modern era. As a historical drama it deserved its one Oscar win and 9 other nominations. It avoids the plodding performances of most costume dramas of the time, while not quite delivering the stunning intimacy that was achieved by the BBC two years later in its landmark "Elizabeth R" mini-series 1971 - (achieved through micro-direction, dedication to detail and precision use of the small screen close-up - who ever said film is the same medium as broadcast television?)
Richard Burton turns in arguably the best performance of his career as Henry VIII. Had his performance revealed just a shade more gravitas and reflection, he surely would have picked up an Oscar.
I'm glad to say that British commercial TV managed to air a decent print of this picture over the Christmas season 2006, even though the cinema-scope frame edges were cut off. Well worth watching, but if you shop for a DVD, do make sure it is in the correct format so the full 35mm squeeze / 70mm letterbox frame is visible. A classic from the '60s and a rare achievement.
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