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Six Wives of Henry VIII, The
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Each story of the king's successive brides takes up an entire episode in the series. Dorothy Tutin plays the doomed Anne Boleyn, Anne Stallybrass is Henry's favorite, Jane Seymour, Elvi Hale is Anne of Cleves, Angela Pleasence is Catherine Howard, and Rosalie Crutchley plays last-in-line Catherine Parr. A very large and fine supporting cast adds intrigue and extra layers of tragedy to the proceedings, especially John Baskcomb as Cardinal Wolsey, Wolfe Morris as Thomas Cromwell, and Ralph Bates as Thomas Culpepper. Each 90-minute episode was crafted by a different writer, but the series holds together very well under Keith Michell's dazzling performance as the despicable if sympathetic Henry, whose emotional arc over many years and losses is something to see. --Tom Keogh
Top Customer Reviews
King Henry VIII is played to perfection by Keith Michell. He has set the standard by which all others in the part will be judged, and he is the linchpin around whom the entire series revolves. He plays the young, athletic, erudite, golden king in the first tape, and the viewer watches him age and deteriorate throughout the entire series, until he finally becomes the sore riddled, morbidly obese, self absorbed, tyrannical hulk of his later years.
Each one of the six wives has her own unique story. The plays tell that story, each a first rate drama unto itself that segues into the next one seamlessly. All the queens are portrayed by very talented thespians, and the supporting cast is superlative. All in all, this series provides a fully absorbing historical drama that should not be missed. It is through the story of each of the wives that one is able to see England transform itself from a catholic country to a protestant one. It also provides a birdseye view of the political intrigues that fueled the Reformation.
"My, you ought to seen old Henry the Eight when he was in bloom. He was a blossom. He used to marry a new wife every day, and chop off her head next morning. And he would do it just as indifferent as if he was ordering up eggs." Thus Mark Twain describes our protagonist in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." As this series demonstrates, Henry was not quite the womanizer he is reputed to be. He was married to Katharine of Aragon for over twenty years and had just a few mistresses before this - unusual for a prince. He waited years to physically consummate his relationship with Anne Boleyn, and remained faithful to her until marriage.Read more ›
I subtract only one star for the low quality of the production itself, but the acting was superb by Mitchell and the ladies that portrayed his six queens. Many of these actors are famous within the British theatre but unfortunately not as well known as some of our Hollywood stars. They should be recognized for their fine efforts, including Dorothy Tutin. She gave the most haunting performance of Henry's second wife, Anne Bolyen, who was executed on trumped up charges of adultery so Henry could marry Jane Seymour, his third queen.
This series truly succeeds in showing what a sick and evil monster that Henry VIII was. He executed so many for such minor offenses and he committed so much evil to beget a male heir. You can almost breathe a sigh of relief when he dies, almost as if you, yourself are spared from the executioner's block.
I must also highly recommend the companion series, "Elizabeth R", about the life of Queen Elizabeth I. She was the only child he had with Anne Boleyn and her reign was the most illustrious in English history. This six part series is also available from Amazon.com.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Keith Michell is the top star of this superlative series. I can only wholeheartedly agree with other reviewers about this excellent, early 1970's BBC program which I saw as a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Laura D
Cinematography is excellent. DVD is only lacking subtitles. Most impressive of all are the stories of Henry and his wives. Read morePublished 4 months ago by M. Barrett
I have had this set for years on VHS (yes I'm that old) but I wanted to clear the clutter and besides our new smart TV did not seem to play VHS. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bideford
Historically accurate in both costumes and occurances! Exceptionally well acted! Keith Michell was especially superb as Henry VIII from young and handsome king through grossly... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Edwin G. Smith
This is one of my all-time favorite mini-series. I saw it originally in the early 70's in Canada, and fell in love with it. It was a joy to be able to get it again. Read morePublished 6 months ago by J. Shaw