Anne of a Thousand Days (1969)

anne

Starring: Richard Burton, Genevieve Bujold, Anthony Quayle, Irene Papas, John Colicos

Director: Charles Jarrott

Summary: Anne Boleyn fights to keep Henry VIII’s love and her head in the midst of palace intrigue

Other Nominations: Actor (Burton), Actress (Bujold), Supporting Actor (Quayle), Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Sound Mixing, Costume Design*, Art Direction, Cinematography

Positives

-Although it only won for one of its ten nominations, the one it did win was very much deserved-the costumes are excellent and are some of the best for a film of this kind.

-For someone who didn’t do all that much before or after this film (except for Dead Ringers I guess), Genevieve Bujold is quite good here as Anne Boleyn, even if her character has some problems in the middle. Burton is also pretty good and is more of an actual person than most versions of Henry VIII on film (vs. being a very broad slovenly oaf or giant hiam), although he has done much better work before.

Negatives

-It sorely lacks any of the fun over the top qualities or the strong characters and themes of the other “Royal” films of the decade, and is just kind of there most of the time. Nothing all that bad sticks out, but it’s consistently lukewarm for its runtime.

-Boleyn suddenly falling in love with Henry is handled very poorly. There’s no real transition between when she hates him and when she loves him; yes, he did a lot to show he wanted her as a wife and that he loved her, but that doesn’t necessarily equal her loving him back without anything else shown. Maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome even if not presented as such?

Other Stuff

-There are five characters (people) named Thomas: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Boleyn, Thomas Howard the Duke of Norfolk and Sir Thomas More

-Elizabeth Taylor wanted to play Anne alongside her husband, but it was determined that at 37 she was too old to play an 18 year old. However, because she was concerned about the rumors Burton was having an affair with Bujold, she took an uncredited role (as the masked woman who interrupts Bujold’s prayer and shows up a couple more times briefly) to keep tabs on him.

Overall

Easily the weakest of the four English monarchy Best Picture nominees of the 60s (the others being Becket, A Man for All Seasons and The Lion in Winter), I can buy the long-held rumor that it bought its Oscar nominations. Even if not outright bad or anything, it’s not very memorable.

Rating: C

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