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.
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
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 »
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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