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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Private Life Of Henry VIII (1933)

It's 1536 and Henry VIII (Charles Laughton) anxiously awaits the execution of his second wife Anne Boleyn (Merle Oberon) so he can quickly marry his third Jane Seymour (Wendy Barrie). But Seymour won't be the last of Henry's wives. As the title indicates, Alexander Korda's film isn't interested in Henry as King of England but Henry in the bedroom. It's not the sort of film where one dwells on historical accuracy but it's amusing and entertaining with a bit of poignancy here and there. The film is a showcase for Laughton as the lusty Henry (he won the best actor Oscar) and made him a viable Hollywood star. Of the relationships, most of the screen time is devoted to the love triangle between Henry, Catherine Howard (Binnie Barnes) and her lover (Robert Donat, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS). With Elsa Lanchester in a rare role that allows her to be attractive though the fun comes from her consciously making herself unattractive, John Loder and Everley Gregg.

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