Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
A charming, clever British comedy
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 01/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charles Laughton is typically wonderful in his broadly-played role as England's King, Henry the Eigth, who infamously married six different queens, divorcing or executing them as circumstances warranted. The script to this magnificent Alexander Korda production is a witty jab at English history buffs, touching only briefly on the supposed treachery of Ann Boleyn, concentrating instead on the preposterous emotional life of the lusty, capacious King. Laughton, as ever, is a marvel, skillfully presenting Henry at first as a thinly-cariacatured lout, and gracefully embuing him with gradual shades of pathos and humanity. Viewers who look to this film as historical drama are clearly missing the point: this is all about the cleverly-rendered script, which turns British schoolboy lessons on their heads, and on the classy ensemble acting, which admittedly may be hard to focus on with the lamentable quality of the current print (I'm writing in the year 2003; perhaps Criterion or some other class-act movie restoration company can correct this problem soon). Still, fans of early British cinema will enjoy this film a lot."
Laughton is great, the movie is quite abbreviated.
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | 07/30/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I thought Charles Laughton was superb as Henry VIII and to this day, I cannot think of anyone portraying the 16th century tyrant king other than him. However, they abbreviated the story of his first two wives, and these were the most interesting of his six marriages. We didn't even get to see the story of his first wife, Katharine of Aragon, just a notation on the screen that she was a "good woman" and that was it. His second wife, and perhaps his most interesting marriage, was totally abbreviated. Afterall, his second marriage to Anne Boleyn produced the great Queen Elizabeth I and it sprung the English Reformation. I was also disappointed because it was Merle Oberon's screen debut portraying Anne Boleyn, and she was on for about five minutes. What a waste to show such an incredibally beautiful woman for so short a time!! See the movie, "Anne of the Thousand Days" [Amazon has it], for that fascinating second marriage and the end of his first. They spent the most time on his least fascinating fourth marriage to Anne of Cleves who Henry was married to the shortest (less than a year). They did cast Elsa Lancaster (Laughton's real life wife and the famous "Bride of Frankenstein") and she provided a fine comic performance, but no one cares about Anne of Cleves!!! In history, it was an arranged marriage, she reportedly "stunk" and Henry was so repulsed by her that he couldn't consumate the marriage. Therefore, they had a "happy" divorce and she lived happily ever after as a rich divorcee. If anything, watch this movie to see Laughton's great performance, he is the quintessential Henry VIII. I always picture Laughton gorging himself on a huge poultry leg while shouting at his court and servants when I think of Henry VIII. If you enjoyed Laughton's performance as Henry VIII, he reprises it in the 1950's movie "Young Bess" which can also be purchased here."
LOVERS OF HISTORICAL DRAMAS SHOULD LOOK ELSEWHERE...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 12/16/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a somewhat disappointing historical drama, directed by Alexander Korda. While Charles Laughton does, indeed, give an excellent performance as Henry VIII, the film suffers from its screenplay, which chooses to focus on Henry's last five marriages, with emphasis on his fourth and probably least important marriage, that to Anne of Cleves. One has to wonder if her prominence in the film was due to the role being played by Elsa Lancaster, Laughton's wife at the time. The most important marriage, that to Katherine of Aragon, is dismissed of being of no interest. This is an amazing and absurd statement, given the fact that it was this marriage that ultimately set England on the path to Protestantism and the establishment of the Church of England. As a historical drama, the film leaves a lot to be desired, as it suffers from superficial treatment.The film begins with the execution of Ann Boleyn, played by the lovely Merle Oberon, who, despite star billing, is only in the film for several minutes. The film then goes to the marriage to Jane Seymour, played by an actress with a thirties style hair bob. It is Jane who gives the King his heart's desire, a son and heir, before succumbing to death shortly after childbirth.The film then segues into the marriage to Anne of Cleves, which role is played with comedic abandon by Ms. Manchester. This is followed by Henry's marriage to Katherine Howard, a young wanton who cuckolds the king with Thomas Culpepper, one of the King's Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber. The role of the hapless Thomas Culpepper is played by screen great, Robert Donat. Katherine Howard, as did Anne Boleyn, ends up losing her head on the chopping block for her treasonous transgression. Henry's last wife, Katherine Parr, is merely depicted as a loving and caring woman, watching out for Henry in his dotage.The video itself is of very poor quality, with a lot of static which renders portions of the film's dialogue inaudible. It is also disconcerting to have many of the female cast wandering about the set with nineteen thirties style hair bobs, as this serves to have a jarring effect. For a better and historically more accurate picture of the wives of King Henry VIII, one would do well to view the BBC production, "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", which is available on DVD and as a set of six video cassettes."
Good old movie
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | 01/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a really old movie but if you are a King Henry Vlll bluff you will like it. Charles Laughton makes a wonderful King Henry Vlll. I love all of the Charles Laughton King Henry movie and this one is great. For all King Henry Vlll fans. Worth buying."