Production Company: London Film Productions
Distributor: United Artists
Top Billed Actors: Charles Laughton, Robert Donat, Franklin Dyall
IMDb Rating: 7.3
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 1 Oscar:
Best Actor - Charles Laughton
Nominated for 1 more:
Plot: Drama in the castle is at an all time high as the King of England just wants a faithful, loving wife. Six wives, and the best of them's the worst.
The film is fun and educational. Being a historical biopic that focuses on King Henry VIII's many marriages, the viewer gets to learn about English history while experiencing the drama that is royal relationships. Henry VIII is pompous, loving, spiteful, and kind all in one. Laughton plays this role beautifully as he demonstrates so many emotions and is able to switch on a dime when called upon. One minute, he is yelling at his servants and the next, he is calmly speaking to whichever wife he has at the time. He runs away with his first and only Oscar, but it is well deserved. Due to the number of wives (six) it is fun to count how many have passed and how many are left. I do things like this in stories such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with how many horcruxes are left or Se7en (1995) with how many deadly sins have been used. It is strange to do this with wives, but keeping score is still a hoot.
This film did seem like it took a step back in terms of production quality. In the recent films of this project, music has been integrated more and more into the story. Technology is a huge part of that and it appears that Korda and his company didn't have the technology that Hollywood had at the time. Much of the film felt like it was made in 1930, not 1933, which I've learned is a huge difference. The lack of music gives the movie a quiet feel to it, much like a stage play. The movie also starts during the execution of Anne Boleyn, perhaps the most famous of Henry VIII's wives. I was hoping the story between the two could have been incorporated into the plot more, but the filmmakers choose to speed ahead to the remaining wives.
Overall, Charles Laughton dominates in his role as this forceful personality. The stagey vibe and perplexing plot routes don't take much away from Laughton's superb acting.
My Score: 6/10