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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
Although "Anne of the Thousand Days" opened on Broadway in 1948, it had to wait until 1969 to be filmed, due to its frank discussions of adultery, illegitimacy, and incest, on which the storyline relies heavily. The old censorship code still existed in the 1940s and 1950s, and would not have allowed a play in which these subjects were discussed to be filmed, no matter how tastefully. See more »
When Katherine is listening to music with her ladies in waiting, a tapestry from the cycle of the Lady and the Unicorn is clearly visible in several shots, as well as in a few other subsequent scenes. These were made in Florence and were eventually rediscovered in France. They were never in England. See more »
A Classic! Worth Watching for Performance of Geneviève Bujold!
The second of the six wives of Henry VIII and the mother of the future queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn is a tragic footnote to the lives of these two famous Tudor monarchs from English history.
"Anne of the Thousand Days" gives Anne Boleyn the belated respect she deserves due to the sparkling performance of the actress Geneviève Bujold. The screenplay draws upon the successful 1947 stage play by Maxwell Anderson, who also wrote plays on the lives of Elizabeth I and Mary of Scotland. But this is his most famous historical drama, and it is unfortunate that Anderson did not live to see this fine film adaptation.
The film covers major events and figures from the early Tudor age, including Henry's controversial divorce from Catherine of Aragon, the rise and fall of Cardinal Wolsey, the courageous ethical stance taken by Sir Thomas More in opposing the will of the king, and the unscrupulous Thomas Boleyn, who played the role of pimp and go-between in the trysts with his daughters and the king.
While the movie proceeds at a deliberate pace in recounting the various subplots, it is the figure of Anne Boleyn who ties together the different plot strands related to the king's "Great Matter." Bujold's multi-layered performance reveals an Anne Boleyn with heroic virtues and deep ethical concerns.
The film takes license with a non-historical scene where Anne confronts Henry after she has been convicted of treason, adultery, and incest and is imprisoned in the Tower of London. The deluded Henry has come to believe that he was "bewitched" by an enchanted Anne, and the scene in the Tower delivers a thundering dramatic climax to the film.
Bujold's performance is all the more remarkable as she is playing opposite one of the great actors of the previous century in Richard Burton. Not only does Bujold's Anne set Burton's Henry straight, but she takes a stand on matters of conscience from which we can still learn today. Geneviève Bujold and this dynamic scene in the Tower of London alone make "Anne of the Thousand Days" a classic.
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