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This is the second time that Helena Bonham Carter has played a queen of England. The first time was as Lady Jane Grey in Lady Jane. Lady Jane was the queen after Henry VIII's son Edward VI by his third wife Jane Seymour, and before Henry VIII's daughter Mary I by his first wife Catherine of Aragon. See more »
Immediately preceding the scene (interior) where the Pope is seen writing his refusal to divorce Henry VIII from Catherine of Aragon, there is a panoramic view of the Vatican (with St. Peter's basilica), implying that the Pope was in Rome/the Vatican at the time.DIn fact, the Pope was at Orvieto at the time, and it was there, in the Papal palace, where he wrote and signed this particular document. See more »
Katherine of Aragon:
What did I do to upset you, that a maid of mine should turn against me like this?
You failed to give England an heir.
Katherine of Aragon:
And that upsets you so?
What upsets the King, upsets me.
Katherine of Aragon:
Let me tell you this. You want me to lie before God, and admit my first marriage was consummated? Well, it was not. You want me to retire, and withdraw my daughter's claim as sole rightful heir to the throne? Well, I shall not. Not in a thousand years. Not if you rack me within an inch of my life. So, I hope you have the ...
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Helena Bonham Carter receives second-billing in both parts despite Anne Boleyn getting the chop in the first part. Her contribution in part 2 is the pre-title reprise and flashbacks all already shown in part 1. See more »
Perhaps, like other dramas suggested by historical characters, this version of the story of 'Henry VIII' should be viewed with a high degree of suspicion since most of the events depicted have very little basis in what we know of the complex Tudor monarch.
Putting this reservation aside, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy this four-hour drama for what it is, largely an entertainment playing on our prejudices and emotions throughout its depiction and treatment of the six wives. Part One wastes far too much time on the courtship between Henry and Anne Boleyn, and then manages to whizz through the circumstances of her downfall in a matter of minutes. This was a huge mistake in my opinion and makes that part of the story extremely confusing.
Part Two obviously spends time on Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard, but again with a large amount of artistic licence - was Jane really a political meddler and did her husband's violence towards her cause her to go into premature birth? was Catherine really a manipulated slut with no mind of her own? The second section of "Henry VIII" is more gory than Part One, in particular concerning the execution scenes, and I think this aspect probably worked.
In the cast, kudos has to go to Ray Winstone in the lead despite the distraction of his East End accent, particularly for his work in the later part of the story. Of the wives, Assumpta Serna is an excellent Katharine of Aragon, giving the role some dignity; Helena Bonham-Carter is ok as Anne Boleyn but irritates at times - she does better in the scenes where she appears vulnerable than when she is feisty, talking-back Anne; Emilia Fox is good as Jane Seymour; Pia Girard has nothing to do as Anne of Cleves (I don't think she even speaks); Emily Blunt is miscast as Catherine Howard; and Clare Holman is effective as Catherine Parr. Others making an impact include David Suchet as Wolsey, Michael Maloney as Cranmer, Danny Webb as Thomas Cromwell, Dominic Mafham as Anne Boleyn's brother; Joseph Morgan as Thomas Culpepper; and Sean Bean as Robert Ashe.
Perhaps a bit of a misfire but a fascinating one.
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