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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.

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(original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... King Henry VIII
... Thomas Cromwell
... Ann Boleyn
... Jane Seymour
Frances Cuka ... Katherine of Aragon
... Catherine Howard
Jenny Bos ... Ann of Cleves
... Catherine Parr
... Norfolk
... Suffolk
... Thomas More
... Cranmer
... Gardiner
John Bryans ... Wolsey
... 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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Release Date:

1 February 1973 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

As Seis Mulheres de Henrique Oitavo  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is an adaptation of the BBC drama serial The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970) in which Donald Pleasence's daughter Angela Pleasence played Henry VIII's fifth wife Catherine Howard. 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 The Tudors: Search for a New Queen (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Thumbnail sketch of a Tudor king
17 January 2015 | by See all my reviews

This is a film adaptation of the six part BBC TV series. I've unfortunately never seen the series but I know it is highly regarded, much more than this film version. The reason for the inferiority of this version is obvious: the original material is very compressed.

It is naturally very difficult to compress a life so colourful, and containing so much complex political and abstruse religious manoeuvring as Henry's in a 2 hour film. Events rush by so much that it requires a good working knowledge of the life of Henry VIII to be able to follow them. For example Henry's relationship with Thomas More is barely established (it comes down to one 30 second conversation) before Thomas is executed. Later, we suddenly see rebels kneeling before Henry, for some under explained reason, who he immediately betrays (this is the Pilgrimage of Grace, when northerners rebelled against the king's abandonment of the Roman rite). Nor is the fall of Thomas Cromwell properly explored among many other lacunae. I wonder what the uninitiated would make of these things? Bewilderment I guess.

The compressed nature of the film gives rise to much obvious expositional dialogue. Henry baldly states things rather than us subtly getting to know his thoughts through his actions. This violates the basic rule of drama "show not tell".

Because of this the scenes of Henry's later life, when a lot of the political and religious turmoil had died down, come off better. There is simply less to explain to the audience and most of the famous historical people (Woolsey, More, Cromwell) were dead. So the personal drama can be explored more fully. The scenes with Katherine Howard are probably the highlight of the film, even if the actress rather over-eggs her final monologue. The scene with the king weeping is especially moving.

I'm not sure if I could recommend this to a complete novice in Tudor history, it would be too confusing. But for those studying Henry's reign of general history buffs, it is moderately interesting.


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