Monarch is part fact, part fiction and unfolds around one night when the injured ruler arrives at a manor house closed for the season. Henry is without the power and control of his palace and is vulnerable from those around him, and from his own sanity. Henry left England financially and morally bankrupt; his collection of enemies his only constant. Even today there is a question mark surrounding his burial and possible exhumation.Written by
The late T.P. McKenna will soon be making a comeback of sorts with the re-release of 'Monarch' on blu-ray.
This was a film feature he made in 1996 for John Walsh making his drama debut. The enterprising young graduate of the London Film School aimed high with a part-fact/part-fiction account of an isolated King Henry VIII in the last year of his life who, after he is injured on a hunting trip, is forced to take refuge in a strange manor house, well away from the protection of his palaces and his court.
There are fears of enemies within and without the walls as the king glowers in a virtual state of persecution. In his delirium a conflation of his wives attends his bedside (all played by Jean Marsh). Even Ebenezer Scrooge only had to cope with three ghosts in the one night.
Cinematographer, Ray Andrew (noted for his camera work on The Shining, Das Boot and An American Werewolf In London) enhances the film's tension with a subdued, almost Stygian lighting plot providing each frame with a painterly quality.
This is an assured feature film debut by John Walsh, however, it might be said to be a matter of regret that his notable successes as an award-winning documentary film maker have kept him from following up on his success with Monarch. Perhaps, with the restoration of the original negative for its blu-Ray release, Walsh will be inspired to return to the dramatic form.
For now, a distinct gem of a movie has been remounted and will soon be ready for a whole new audience.
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