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THE QUEEN IS DEAD...LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!
on 3 December 2002
This award winning production is a masterpeice. The cinematography is beautiful, the costumes are lush and magnificent, and the acting is superlative. Richard Burton, in the role of King Henry VIII, is superb, as his velvet voice mesmerizes the viewer. Genevieve Bujold, wonderful in the title role of the notorious Anne Boleyn, plays her part intelligently and with great presence. Irene Papas plays the role of the wronged Queen, Katherine of Aragon, with suitable pathos. Anthony Quayle is wonderful in the role of Cardinal Wolsey, prelate of the church and Chancellor of England, who eventually was brought low by Anne Boleyn. John Colicos does a remarkable job with the role of the ambitious Cromwell, who, regretably, would stop at nothing, even torture and murder, to see that his King got what he wanted.
While not historically accurate, it is still a sublime historical drama. It centers around Anne Boleyn's rise to prominence and her ultimate demise at the executioner's sword. While at court one day, Anne caught the King's eye. She, however, was in love with a courtier whom she wanted to marry. The King, besotted by her, refused to grant her permission to marry, and her courtier was forced to marry another. The King pursued Anne, while still married to the aging Katherine of Aragon. Anne refused, however, to give in and become his lover, knowing that once she did, she would be yesterday's news. Holding Cardinal Wolsey responsible for the loss of all her hopes and dreams, Anne played him like a fiddle, eventually bringing about his downfall. With Cromwell on the ascendancy, however, little did Anne know that her troubles were just beginning.
Angry at the turn that her life had taken, Anne became a doyenne of intrigue and, as she did with Wolsey, played the King like a fiddle. Her actions set into motion the events that would bring about the great Reformation, which would transform England from a Catholic country into a Protestant one. While Anne finally succeeded in marrying the King, she failed to produce the son that Henry VIII so desired, though the fault was Henry's and not hers, as we now know that it is the male who determines the sex of a child. The terms of Anne's reign would cost her dearly, and her legacy would be a bloody one. What had started out with high hopes would end tragically for her and set a precedent that would make all future wives fearful of coming to the same end. Ironically, Henry would never know that his child with Anne would become the greatest monarch that England has ever known, Elizabeth I.
This is a film that all lovers of period pieces and historical dramas will enjoy. It is simply a great movie.