Mary Stuart, named Queen of Scotland when she was six days old, is the last Roman Catholic ruler of Scotland. Her cousin Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England and her arch adversary, has her ... See full summary »
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.
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
If star Richard Burton, who was nominated the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as King Henry VIII in this film, had won the category that year, he would have been the second actor to do so for playing Henry VIII, and the first to win for playing a role that someone else had already won an Oscar for playing the same character. Actor Charles Laughton first played the monarch in 1933 for The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933) and won the Best Actor Academy Award for his performance. Laughton was not present at the awards ceremony and so fellow actor Leslie Howard accepted the award on his behalf. The first two actors to win Oscars for playing the same character were Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972) and Robert De Niro for The Godfather: Part II (1974), playing mob boss Don Vito Corleone at different ages. 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 »
Anne of the Thousand Days is an enjoyably lavish entertainment from the days when duelling kings and commoners were all the rage at the box-office Beckett, A Man For All Seasons, The Lion in Winter before Cromwell and Mary Queen of Scots all but killed off the genre. As history, its better at the general details than the specifics, but it's magnificently staged and not without some dry wit and humour ("We used the incest excuse last time. We can't make a habit of it."), most of it intentional there's not a writer alive who wouldn't be aware of the effect that giving Richard Burton dialogue like "Divorce is like killing after the first time it's easy" would have on an audience. There's even some pathos in the final image of Henry callously riding off to his next bride as his last one's blood stains the hay on the executioner's scaffold. Burton is on good form before he lurched into drunken autopilot mode, and Genevieve Bujold does well as the alternately innocent and vindictive Anne Boleyn. Even the usually arch and hammy John Colicos is fine as the overambitious Thomas Cromwell, but it's the eternally undervalued Anthony Quayle who steals the acting honours as Cardinal Wolsey, even making you feel for the old monster as he falls from favour.
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