32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Burton and Bujold are tops.,
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This review is from: Anne Of The Thousand Days [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I have read some absolutely scathing reviews of this film by professional critics, and I cannot for the life of me understand why! The other reviews on these pages are far closer to showing what a truly memorable film this is. It is sumptuous to look at, and the performances are all in the acting masterclass league. Anthony Quayle, Irene Papas and Michael Hordern, as Cardinal Wolsey, Queen Katherine and Anne's father respectively, give committed performances, and John Colicos does a wonderfully reptilian turn as the completely unscrupulous Cromwell. But the film naturally belongs to Richard Burton and Genevieve Bujold.
Burton, with his wonderful voice, brings out every aspect of Henry: his self-deluding sentimentality, his determination to get what he wants at whatever cost both sexually and politically, his almost child-like ruthlessness and bullying, going from dewy-eyed vulnerability one minute to petulant rages the next. Was there ever a better way to sum up Henry than when he demands of a friend that he be spoken to frankly man-to-man, and then erupts "I am the King!"
I have seen many good performances of Anne Boleyn, from Charlotte Rampling in "Henry VIII And His Six Wives", to Helena Bonham-Carter in the recent ITV1 production, but Genevieve Bujold to me is the definitive Anne. Fiery, intelligent, alluring, and with a steely ruthlessness of her own. In many of the scenes she is simply exceptional, most particularly in her execution scene, which brilliantly captures the horror of this young woman being put to death on a beautiful May morning. My only criticism of the whole film is that sometimes the actors have to struggle with a clunky script, but for a film which captures the whole diabolical ruthlessness of Henry VIII's era (for instance, parents being more than willing to sell their daughters into the King's bed for whatever goodies it may bring them) that is a very minor criticism indeed.