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The Private Life Of Henry VIII

The Private Life Of Henry VIIIIf youre interested in cinema history
  and enjoy the old black-and-white films,
  you
ll definitely want to add Alexander
  Korda
s The Private Life Of Henry VIII
  to your collection
...

ORIGINALLY FILMED IN 1933, The Private Life Of Henry VIII stars the gifted Charles Laughton who won a well-deserved Oscar for his portrayal of the much-married monarch and this critically-acclaimed landmark film is now available on DVD. This popular feature established Korda's reputation as a film-maker and was the first British film to be a major success at the US box office.

Opening with the brilliant scene-setting sequences where Anne Boleyn (the delightful Merle Oberon) — is being prepared for her execution while her successor Jane Seymour (Wendy Barrie) is being prepared for her marriage to Henry (Charles Laughton).

Having already divorced first wife Catherine of Aragon because of his infatuation with Anne Boleyn, Henry has alienated the Catholic church and his desperate need for an heir along with his wandering eye will see him married six times.

Portrayed as a oafish, heartless, gluttonous buffoon, Laughton's Henry is a flamboyant womaniser and has some great one-liners in the dark, tongue-in-cheek humour that pervades the script.

There is a strong sense of The Private Life Of Henry VIII being an early 20th Century film. The acting is very theatrical, the delivery melodramatic and lines are delivered with cut glass accents (otherwise known as BBC English) — which all adds to the film's charm. There are some very profound observations and a great dialogue between the French executioner (Gibb McLaughlin) and the English executioner (Sam Livesey).

Throwaway lines include the execution of Anne and the immediate marriage to Jane being referred to as "chop and change". Of the future Elizabeth I, Henry observes: "Elizabeth shall never learn to rule so much as a kitchen!" and Henry's old nurse says of his son: "The image of you when you were a baby… poor little lamb!"

True to form, Henry finds that his marriage to Jane Seymour is soon over and he develops an all-consuming passion for Katharine Howard (Binnie Barnes), even though he is to be married to Anne of Cleves (Elsa Lanchester: The Ghost Goes West). The clever Anne has her head screwed on too tightly to ever let Henry make an attempt at lopping it off, and agrees to divorce so that her husband can marry Katharine Howard.

But Katharine's heart lies elsewhere and she is also for the chop when her affair with courtier Thomas Culpeper (the late heartthrob Robert Donat) is discovered. The hapless lovers have found out too late that nothing can be hidden for long at Court and there are those who, in order to seek favour with powerful allies, are only too willing to betray others who carry out illicit assignations. Not to mention the terrifying threat of torture. And sometimes love alone is not enough to keep you safe — even if you do hold the heart of a king.

The Private Life Of Henry VIII is a beautiful costume drama that blends comic moments with serious issues while taking a light-hearted sojourn into the life and loves of Britain's best-known monarch.

The Private Life of Henry VIII earned Director Alexander Korda an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and also features: Franklin Dyall as Thomas Cromwell; Miles Mander as Wriothesley; Lawrence Hanray as Archbishop Cranmer; William Austin as Duke of Cleves; John Loder as Peynell; Claude Allister as Cornell; Everley Gregg as Katherine Parr; Lady Tree as The King's Nurse. Story idea and dialogue by Lajos Biro and Arthur Wimperis; Settings Designed by Vincent Korda; Costumiers are B J Simmons & Co of Covent Garden; and Photography by Georges Perinal.

Network Releasing is delighted to announce the DVD release of the Oscar-winning The Private Life Of Henry VIII on 27 April, 2009. RRP: £12.99 | Total Running Time: 89 Minutes Approximately | Black-and-White.

"The Private Life Of Henry VIII is a beautiful costume drama that blends comic moments with serious issues while taking a light-hearted sojourn into the life and loves of Britain's best-known monarch" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar