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Tony Grist

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The Private Life Of Henry VIII [Feb. 11th, 2006|10:08 am]
Tony Grist
I caught a bit of The Private Life of Henry VIII last night. Kinda serendipitous; since I happen to be in the middle of writing about the old lad for the new Purchas book and this was a lesson in how to do it- with a jokey irreverence based on real affection. What a terrific film it is- veering in tone from Carry On Henry to domestic tragedy, but held together by Laughton's wonderfully affecting performance, Korda's swift direction and the overall stylishness of the production! I remember being shown it at school and taking it seriously- as if it were a history lesson- and entirely missing out on all the remarkably naughty jokes.

Laughton and Elsa Lanchester playing cards on their wedding night- what fun! And the Katherine Howard episode- encompassing Henry's doting self deception and his genuine grief for his adulterous young wife- how positively Shakespearian!
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-02-11 03:14 am (UTC)
Great movie.

It must be available on DVD. It must.

I'm about to check.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2006-02-11 03:30 am (UTC)
Henry VIII is such a delightful topic. While he may have been a bit of a brute in most respects, his life and personality lends itself to drama and literature so generously; there are so many aspects to illuminate and explore. And naughty jokes waiting to be made, of course...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-02-11 04:32 am (UTC)
TV and the movies always emphasise the human side. I suspect he was actually more like Joseph Stalin- and utterly terrifying.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2006-02-11 04:33 am (UTC)
Oh, I don't see him as nearly as jovial and so on as he's normally portrayed... A character, yes, but not necessarily a pleasant one.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-02-11 04:39 am (UTC)
I think the Holbein pictures tell the truth- a great slab of a man with cruel, tiny eyes.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2006-02-11 04:54 am (UTC)
Indeed. Perhaps that's why he's so interesting? Let's face it; his daughters probably weren't all that nice people either, but they too are perfect for fictionalised accounts of history. And Mary Stuart as well!
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2006-02-11 08:37 am (UTC)
Ooh, I love this description.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2006-02-11 08:36 am (UTC)
I thought about you yesterday while I was at the library and came across this book, The Affair of the Poisons : Murder, Infanticide, and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV

What on earth?

I chose Curse of the Narrows instead, about the munitions explosion during the 1917 Halifax blizzard.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-02-11 11:41 am (UTC)
I've read about that.

My memory's a bit hazy now, but The king's mistress was involved with a woman who performed black magic ceremonies on her behalf. There was also a lot of poisoning going on.

Strange but true.....
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