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This review is from: Anne of the Thousand Days [DVD] (DVD)
Anne of the Thousand Days is an enjoyably lavish entertainment from the days when duelling kings and commoners were all the rage at the box-office - Beckett, A Man For All Seasons, The Lion in Winter - before Cromwell and Mary Queen of Scots all but killed off the genre. As history, its better at the general details than the specifics, but it's magnificently staged and not without some dry wit and humour ("We used the incest excuse last time. We can't make a habit of it."), most of it intentional - there's not a writer alive who wouldn't be aware of the effect that giving Richard Burton dialogue like "Divorce is like killing - after the first time it's easy" would have on an audience. There's even some pathos in the final image of Henry callously riding off to his next bride as his last one's bloodstains the hay on the executioner's scaffold. Burton is on good form before he lurched into drunken autopilot mode, and Genevieve Bujold does well as the alternately innocent and vindictive Anne Boleyn. Even the usually arch and hammy John Colicos is fine as the overambitious Thomas Cromwell, but it's the eternally undervalued Anthony Quayle who steals the acting honors as Cardinal Wolsey, even making you feel for the old monster as he falls from favor.
Despite a couple of minor glitches in two shots, Universals R2 DVD boast's an excellent 2.35:1 widescreen transfer but no extras.