Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Private Life Of Henry VIII

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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