During the sixteenth century, the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots engages in over two decades of religious and political conflict with her cousin, the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England, amidst political intrigue in her native land.
This is a delightful if peculiar story of a day in the life of a small, Welsh fishing village called "Llareggub" (read it backwards). We meet a host of curious characters (and ghosts) ... 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 Catharine 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 Anne 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
At the time, Geneviève Bujold split her time between Montreal and Paris. She dubbed her own voice in the French version. 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 »
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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