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Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972)

On his deathbed, King Henry VIII looks back over his eventful life and his six marriages.

Director:

Waris Hussein

Writer:

Ian Thorne (original screenplay)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keith Michell ... King Henry VIII
Donald Pleasence ... Thomas Cromwell
Charlotte Rampling ... Ann Boleyn
Jane Asher ... Jane Seymour
Frances Cuka Frances Cuka ... Katherine of Aragon
Lynne Frederick ... Catherine Howard
Jenny Bos Jenny Bos ... Ann of Cleves
Barbara Leigh-Hunt ... Catherine Parr
Michael Gough ... Norfolk
Brian Blessed ... Suffolk
Michael Goodliffe ... Thomas More
Bernard Hepton ... Cranmer
Garfield Morgan ... Gardiner
John Bryans John Bryans ... Wolsey
John Bennett ... Wriothesley
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Storyline

On his deathbed Tudor-king Henry VIII remembers his long reign and especially the crucial part his six marriages played in it, without producing the male heir he desired most to prevent civil wars for the succession as England suffered before his father's ascent. His first queen, Spanish princess Kathryn of Aragon, had one fatal flaw: her children died, except daughter Mary, so he pressed Rome for an annulment, and when that failed out went cardinal Wolsey as chief minister and Henry made himself head of the Church of England instead of the papacy and married Anne Boleyn. When she too failed to produce a male heir, just princess Elisabeth, he had her head roll for 'infidelity'. The third queen, gentle Jane Seymour, died giving birth to sickly prince Edward. For diplomatic reasons Henry married minor princess Anne of Cleves, whose utter lack of female charms causes another annulment and the fall of Thomas Cromwell, who recommended her. Fifth is the lovely Catherine Howard, cousin of ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 February 1973 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

As Seis Mulheres de Henrique Oitavo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Keith Michell had previously portrayed King Henry VIII in the UK television series The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970). See more »

Goofs

No women, not even Queen Catherine Parr were present at Henry's deathbed. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Cromwell: [Walks into the council chamber] You were in a great hurry gentlemen to begin without me"
Norfolk: [as Cromwell is about to take his seat at the council table] Cromwell, do not sit there. There is no place for you, traitors do not sit with gentlemen.
Thomas Cromwell: [mumbles] I'm no traitor.
[flings down his cap in rage and screams in a loud voice]
Thomas Cromwell: Upon your conscience, am I a traitor?
[tries to run out of the chamber but the guards seize him]
Thomas Cromwell: Let me speak to the King!
Norfolk: [...]
See more »

Connections

Version of A Man for All Seasons (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Definitive Tudor story
16 February 2011 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

This is benchmark-quality drama, a two-hour film retelling of the lives (and deaths) of Henry VII's wives that uses much the same cast and crew as a previous six-hour BBC miniseries.

As a film, it's pretty much unbeatable and sets a standard of high quality that few others can match. Sets, costumes and backdrop are all superb, but of course the real strengths lie in the script and the calibre of acting. Keith Michell stars in a role he was born to play, never less than authentic whether he's playing Henry as an athletic young man or as an obese ancient. He also manages to make the tyrant deeply human, which is another string to his bow.

With the full story of the six wives crammed into a two-hour time slot, the pacing is fast and the script full of drama. Some of the wives fare better than others, but highlights include Charlotte Rampling's witchy Anne Boleyn and Lynne Frederick's captivating innocent, Catherine Howard. Filling the supporting cast with familiar, entertaining figures like Michael Gough, Donald Pleasence and Brian Blessed is another plus.

Most of all, though, I found this retelling succeeded far better in bringing to life the era than others - check out the terrible THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL for a good comparison. We learn much about politics, entertainment and religion of the era, but it's never told in a dry or heavy way. Unbeatable? Yes, I think this is.


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