As my post indicated yesterday, I watched Anne of the Thousand Days this past Thanksgiving weekend. Overall, I rate the file a B and the acting an A-. I give the movie a B because of its historical inaccuracies. I understand that this was a Hollywood movie, but "History is History" and ought to be followed, as closely as possible. The acting was superb, therefore giving it an A-.
The film that was released in 1969, illustrates the lives between Anne Boleyn (actress, Genevieve Bujold) & Henry VIII (actor, Richard Burton). Henry VIII has been married to Catherine of Aragon for many years but she has had many miscarriages, had one healthy daughter Mary Tudor, but cannot produce a Son; which was SO IMPORTANT to Henry. Now, at Catherine's age, she is unlikely to get pregnant, therefore not providing what Henry so desires, A SON. At this phase, he has become smitten over another woman, Anne Boleyn.
As a result, Henry VIII wants to divorce Catherine, or have the marriage annulled and orders Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey to perform this task. Henry soon discovers that this task is not going to be so easy. The Pope has to grant any divorce/annulment with any royal marriage. Spain was the most powerful country at this time and the King of Spain was Catherine's nephew. Spain took over Rome and practically had complete control over the Pope. Spain was not going to allow Henry VIII to divorce Catherine. The Pope has no choice but to deny the divorce/annulment from Catherine. Obviously, this piece of news is not to Henry's liking.
Henry VIII's desire for Anne becomes very strong as she will not sleep with him until they are married and not until Catherine is out of the picture. In order for Henry VIII to marry Anne, he (England) must break ties from the Catholic Church. Ultimately, Henry does, in fact break ties from the Roman Catholic Church. After he breaks ties from the Catholic Church, Henry VIII becomes the Supreme Chancellor of the Church of England. Afterwards, he immediately, has his marriage with Catherine annulled and marries Anne. Any member of the English Church or high noblemen that do not acknowledge Anne as the new Queen will be considered an act of treason, punishment is death. A few clergymen of the English Church are put to death and even one of Henry's most loyal servant's and former Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More is beheaded.
Anne promises Henry many sons. After being married for a very short time, Anne becomes pregnant and has a beautiful and healthy daughter, named Elizabeth. Well, Henry is livid, as he desperately wants a son. After all, he already had a daughter with Catherine. Soon enough, Anne is pregnant again, but has a miscarriage, and the baby would have been a boy.
Henry easily loses interest with Anne and becomes fond of another woman, Jane Seymour (who happens to be his next wife). He now has to find a way to get rid of Anne, so he demands his new minister, Thomas Cromwell to do his bidding.
Cromwell tortures a servant in her household into confessing to adultery with Anne, then arrests four other courtiers who are also accused of being Anne's lovers. Anne is taken to the tower and placed under arrest and is accused of adultery. When she sees her brother being brought into the Tower, Anne asks why he has been arrested. "He too is accused of being your lover," mutters her embarrassed uncle, the Duke of Norfolk.
At Anne's trial, she manages to cross-question Mark Smeaton, the tortured servant who finally admits in front of the King [who happens to burst right in the middle stages of the trial], that the charges against Anne are lies. Regardless, she is found guilty of high treason, punishment is death.
Henry makes an appearance, before visiting Anne in her chambers that night. He offers her freedom if she will agree to annul their marriage and make their daughter, Elizabeth illegitimate. Anne refuses, saying that she would rather die than betray their daughter. Henry slaps her before telling her that her disobedience will mean her death.
One of the final scenes illustrates Henry deciding to execute Anne. A few days later, Anne is taken to the scaffold and beheaded by a French swordsman. While this happens, Henry rides off to marry Jane Seymour and the film's final shot is of their young daughter, Elizabeth, toddling alone in the garden as she hears the cannon firing to announce her mother's death.
According to Wikipedia, these are the Historical Accuracies and Inaccuracies :
- According to this film, Anne pressures Henry to have Sir Thomas More executed, as More will not sign the acknowledgment that Anne is the Queen. By More signing the acknowledgment, he is accepting the annulment of Catherine and England breaking away from the Catholic religion. More's consciousness cannot bring him to sign the acknowledgment, therefore More is executes. Most histories of the period say nothing about Anne pressuring Henry to have Sir Thomas More executed.
- The meeting between Anne and Henry shortly before her execution is fictional, and even if such a meeting had taken place, some details of their discussion are implausible. Anne's marriage was annulled anyway, and she was never offered a deal which would have given her her freedom. Elizabeth and Mary were both declared illegitimate, but were nevertheless in the line of succession. At that point the chances of Elizabeth inheriting the crown probably seemed rather low.
- Henry did not intervene in Anne's trial; she was disallowed the right to question the witnesses against her. She and the King met last at a joust the day before her arrest.
- Anne of the Thousand Days depicts Anne as innocent of the charges and that is considered historically correct.