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The Private Life of Henry VIII [DVD]
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Charles Laughton won an Oscar for this performance as the much-married monarch, in a film which remains one of the UK's greatest international successes. Picking up Henry's reign after his betrothal to Anne Boleyn (Merle Oberon), wife number two, this Alexander Korda-directed costume epic follows the progress of the King's subsequent marriages to Jane Seymour (Wendy Barrie), Anne of Cleves (Elsa Lanchester), Katherine Howard (Binnie Barnes), and the woman who outlived him, Catherine Parr (Everley Gregg).
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Top Customer Reviews
While there are many NTSC public domain versions available of varying quality, Network's official PAL DVD boasts much better picture quality.
Despite this it is a pleasure to watch good costume, hilarious in parts, touching in others (especially Anne Boleyn's death and the love-scenes between Culpepper and Catherine) and on a rainy afternoon it's great to sit down with it and a plate of chips and a good friend!
The most important marriage, that to Katherine of Aragon, is dismissed as 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 moves on 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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
With Charles Laughton in the main role it is a gem.Published 5 months ago by Humberto Gatica-Leyton
Excellent old film with Charles Laughton. Love itPublished 11 months ago by Mrs. Susan M. Sovary-soos
Yes, outdated but very good none the less, Charles Laughton always inspires even as a King !!Published 18 months ago by LOTTO WIZARD