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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Historical dramas, war films and epics are my favorite film genres, and this account of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII is one of the best of the dramas.



    It is exceptionally well written - not always true of historical films. It is also exceptionally well acted by Genevieve Bujold, who plays Anne. She starts out as a pretty, shallow, charming girl and turns into a a quiet heroic figure as the story progresses. Irene Papas has only a couple of scenes as Katherine of Aragon, but she creates a fully realized character. The rest of the cast includes Anthony Quayle, Michael Hordern, Nora Swinburne and Esmond Kinight.



    The one surprise is Richard Burton, who lacks energy and intensity as Henry. I'm not sure waht to make of his performance. Robert Shaw brought more energy to the role of Henry in one very brief part in A Man for All Seasons. But he does make clear that Henry is a tyrant - a monstrously self-absorbed man. This is not always clear in other films about Henry.



    Anne's trial scene is underplayed and very powerful.



    Charles Laughton was impressive and entertaining, but he wasn't convincingly malicious and selfish. Burton is.



    This was released in 1969. What a time that was for historical films! The Battle of Britain, Nicholas and Alexandra, Waterloo, Ryan's Daughter, Cromwell and this within a few years time.

  2. #2
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    This is one of my favourites as well, although I think that Keith Michelle is marginally better at playing Henry VIII than Richard Burton.



    Val

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie
    This is one of my favourites as well, although I think that Keith Michelle is marginally better at playing Henry VIII than Richard Burton.



    Val
    And both pale into insignificance when compared to Robert Shaw in A Man For All Seasons.

  4. #4
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    Hmmm, yes Robert Shaw is excellent.



    Val

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: England Pam1927's Avatar
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    This film has always been one of my favourites. Genevieve Bujold was marvellous as Anne. I also particularly liked John Colicos as Thomas Cromwell. He was always so good at doing the 'evil with a smile on its face' type of characters. Excellent in 'Bond Of Fear'; and he played, of course, the first Klingon to be seen in Star Trek - once again, he was wonderfully sinister!



    Pam

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie
    This is one of my favourites as well, although I think that Keith Michelle is marginally better at playing Henry VIII than Richard Burton.



    Val
    Keith Michell's performance in The Six Wives of Henry VIII was a true acting accomplishment. The ability to create a complex character in a television miniseries is under-rated. I would put that performance alongside Glenda Jackson in Elizabeth R.



    The focus is on the actor or actress and the writing. That is a true test.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pam1927
    This film has always been one of my favourites. Genevieve Bujold was marvellous as Anne. I also particularly liked John Colicos as Thomas Cromwell. He was always so good at doing the 'evil with a smile on its face' type of characters. Excellent in 'Bond Of Fear'; and he played, of course, the first Klingon to be seen in Star Trek - once again, he was wonderfully sinister!



    Pam
    It's always a pleasure to see excellent actors in small but significant roles. That is one of the features of a high quality historical drama.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pam1927
    This film has always been one of my favourites. Genevieve Bujold was marvellous as Anne. I also particularly liked John Colicos as Thomas Cromwell. He was always so good at doing the 'evil with a smile on its face' type of characters. Excellent in 'Bond Of Fear'; and he played, of course, the first Klingon to be seen in Star Trek - once again, he was wonderfully sinister!



    Pam
    Colicos was great as Cromwell and in Bond of Fear (which I watched recently). He also gave a splendidly sinister performance in Breakaway opposite Tom Conway.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    I just found this on a very unusual "double bill" DVD with the Vanessa Redgrave/Glenda Jackson Mary, Queen of Scots.



    Anne of the Thousand Days is much the better film. The latter sacrifices history to drama, and at times to melodrama. The most genuinely irritating thing is that Mary is romanticized at the expense of Elizabeth - and Elizabeth's true greatness is not fully acknowledged.



    But it's unlikely there will ever be two actresses who are more ideally suited to their roles - and what superb actresses they are! Also, the production values are excellent.



    For those who like historical epics - and I count myself at the top of the list - this is a very nice two-for-one.

  10. #10
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    Purely by chance I finally saw this last night/morning on ITV1 and though it was a Hollywood produced film it certainly qualifies as a British film in every other respect. I 'd only ever seen bits of this film, not previously not really fancying a 2 1/2 hour Hollywood costume drama when younger, however it really was excellent and very entertaining. Burton was outstanding as Henry as was Genevieve Bujold as Anne and he venerable British cast(Anthony Quayle,Michael Hordern,Peter Jeffrey,et al) were all great too. John Colicos (Canadian)was fantastically villanous and scheming as Thomas Cromwell and thogh not being a Tudor scholar, the script did not take too many liberties with the facts as you might have feared of an American backed movie.And although it betrayed it's theatrical origins several times it was engrossing and never boring.



    Good also to see our own Harry Fielder in there in an early part too.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: Australia ShirlGirl's Avatar
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    It's a very long time since I saw this, but I do recall that Bujold spoiled it for me - I think she's a terrible actress. (Sorry!)

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: Ireland
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    I would have watched it or recorded it if it hadn't been broadcast with sign language - I can't stand being distracted by the little figures in the bottom right hand corner, especially if their appearance is a little...em...less than prepossessing, as is sometimes the case.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by doojeen

    I would have watched it or recorded it if it hadn't been broadcast with sign language - I can't stand being distracted by the little figures in the bottom right hand corner, especially if their appearance is a little...em...less than prepossessing, as is sometimes the case.
    Yea, I know what you mean.Nothing spoils a film more than seeing the interpreter appear after the credits(apologies to any who are deaf or hard of hearing). Although, actually I find that pretty quickly your vision filters out the interpreter and you don't notice or are aware of them.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: Ireland
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    Quote Originally Posted by pelam123

    I find that pretty quickly your vision filters out the interpreter and you don't notice or are aware of them.
    Not in my case, I'm afraid - my eye is constantly drawn to them in spite of myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see the service there for the hard of hearing, but it's not for me.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: UK didi-5's Avatar
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    Back to the film ... it really is one of the best of the many Henry VIII/Anne Boleyn interpretations. It spends some time developing the story and it gives even the most minor of characters in the story some backbone (including one of my favourite actors, Gary Bond, who appears as the musician who ends up accused of being too close to the Queen). Burton might have been a bit shouty and dramatic as Henry but Bujold was wonderful (whatever happened to her; after a few lead roles in the 1970s she disappeared) and as for Colicos ... evil isn't the word.



    OK it is a lengthy film but it looks beautiful, is right for the period, well cast, and is both an enjoyable historical drama and fairly accurate to what appears in historical record.



    I already have three copies otherwise I would have probably stayed up to watch it again sign language or not! (Although why these films only get shown on the main channels in the small hours with SL is a mystery).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShirlGirl

    It's a very long time since I saw this, but I do recall that Bujold spoiled it for me - I think she's a terrible actress. (Sorry!)
    No need to be sorry, Shirl. I know what you mean about Bujold, she can be a tricky actress to like but when well cast (as I thought she was in this) she can be excellent.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by didi-5

    Back to the film ... it really is one of the best of the many Henry VIII/Anne Boleyn interpretations. It spends some time developing the story and it gives even the most minor of characters in the story some backbone (including one of my favourite actors, Gary Bond, who appears as the musician who ends up accused of being too close to the Queen). Burton might have been a bit shouty and dramatic as Henry but Bujold was wonderful (whatever happened to her; after a few lead roles in the 1970s she disappeared) and as for Colicos ... evil isn't the word.



    OK it is a lengthy film but it looks beautiful, is right for the period, well cast, and is both an enjoyable historical drama and fairly accurate to what appears in historical record.



    I already have three copies otherwise I would have probably stayed up to watch it again sign language or not! (Although why these films only get shown on the main channels in the small hours with SL is a mystery).
    I agree Didi, it was beautifully lit and photographed by Arthur Ibbetson and the production design was also very impressive.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: England Captain Casper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pelam123

    I agree Didi, it was beautifully lit and photographed by Arthur Ibbetson and the production design was also very impressive.
    Thats the first thing that strikes me - the lighting is excellent, in fact the overall production has the right feel for that period.



    Can't agree about Ms Bujold though.

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I'd not seen it before and I enjoyed. Burton and Bujold were good but Colicos was the star of the show for me, he was excellent as Cromwell, as was Peter Jeffrey as Anne's uncle. It is not as classy as A Man For All Seasons but it is an enjoyable film and one which I will probably watch again.



    ps - the only time (apart from at the start of the film) I really noticed the signer was when he kept disappearing during dialogue free moments, and then reappearing again when people started talking, it would have been less distracting to have left him there all the time

  20. #20
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    I agree. The film had more good taste than the current sensational portrayals of Tudor Kings and Queens; it's a bit like the celebrated but now deemed rather stuffy Six Wives Of Henty VIII.

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