Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review – Anne of the Thousand Days

I found the title of this picture somewhat misleading. What I was hoping for was a movie that would focus on Anne Boleyn’s brief reign as Queen of England. After all, everyone knows the story of how she ended up with the job. What’s less clear is exactly how she went from Chief Babe of the Realm to headless corpse in so brief a time. But no, we have to start at the beginning and spend at least an hour on the all-too-familiar part of the story. And as if it wasn’t bad enough to rely on the story’s time-honored clichés, the production can’t even settle on which clichés to go with. Sometimes Anne (Genevieve Bujold) is out for revenge for the king’s interference with her plans to marry Lord Percy. But then at other points she’s grubbing power for its own sake or even doing it for love. For his part, Henry (Richard Burton) is motivated either by lust or a pathological obsession with producing a male heir. And once again the Protestant Reformation gets barely a mention. The only thing I found interesting about this was that it took nearly 20 years for this version of the story to make the jump from the Broadway stage to Hollywood, the delay caused by all the salacious elements of the tale that couldn’t be filmed – even in as tame a manner as this – until after the demise of the Hays Code. Mildly amusing

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