The Private Life of Henry VIII (September 21, 1933)

Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII
 

Released on September 21, 1933: (running time 1 hour and 34 minutes) After divorcing his first wife, Henry VIII goes on to marry five more women.

Produced by Alexander Korda

Directed by Alexander Korda

The Actors: Charles Laughton (Henry VIII), Robert Donat (Thomas Culpeper), Franklin Dyall (Thomas Cromwell), Miles Mander (Wriothesley), Laurence Hanray (Archbishop Cranmer), William Austin (Duke of Cleves), John Loder (Peynell), Claud Allister (Cornell), Gibb McLaughlin (the French executioner), Sam Livesey (the English executioner), Merle Oberon (Anne Boleyn, wife number 2), Wendy Barrie (Jane Seymour, wife number 3), Elsa Lanchester (Anne, Duchess of Cleves, wife number 4), Binnie Barnes (Katherine Howard, wife number 5), Everley Gregg (Katherine Parr, wife number 6), Lady Tree (the King's nurse), Frederick Culley (the Duke of Norfolk), Annie Esmond (the cook's wife), William Heughan (Kingston), Arthur Howard (kitchen helper), Judy Kelly (Lady Rochford), Wally Patch (butcher in the kitchen), Hay Petrie (the King's barber), John Turnbull (Hans Holbein)

 

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Six Wives, and the Best of them is the Worst

The famous British comic actor Peter Sellers said of an actor in this movie, “I thought he was a god.” Actress Judy Garland wrote this actor a fan letter after seeing him in one of the rare movies that he made in Hollywood a year after this movie was filmed. Because of poor health, he only stayed in Hollywood for a short time before returning to England, where he filmed almost all of his movies.

Friederich Robert Donat was born in Manchester, England, and after conquering his tendency to stutter when speaking, he began acting at the age of 16 in local theater. After several years on stage, producer Alexander Korda, the first British producer to be knighted, signed Robert Donat to a three-year contract.  Robert Donat appeared in small parts in three movies, and then, in his fourth movie, this movie, he got second billing, right after the amazing Charles Laughton.

In this historical costume situation comedy, he is Thomas Culpeper, an assistant to King Henry VIII. Love is in the air and Culpeper is in love with a sexy lady named Katherine, but Katherine is in love with the crown. She has no love for the King, mind you, but she will do whatever it takes to become the wife of the King of England. Robert Donat, loyal to the King, will watch in dismay as the love of his life becomes the fifth wife of Henry VIII.

One of my favorite scenes (there are many good ones) is about the wedding night with wife number 4, played by Elsa Lanchester, Charles Laughton's real-life wife. The King quietly enters the bed chamber where his newest bride is waiting. All the King's men wait outside, in case the King might need anything during the night. The King suddenly opens the bedroom door and storms out to the room where his aides are waiting. He yells at the men, telling them that he needs some money. How much money? While the men watch in silent, stunned disbelief, the voice of the new bride is heard yelling, "95 Crowns." The King shouts to one of the men, telling him to run to the treasury and bring money, lots of money. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Charles Laughton as King Henery VIII
Charles Laughton as King Henery VIII
Dorothy Malone and Wayne Morris in The Bushwhackers
Annie Esmond
Arthur Howard
Arthur Howard
Binnie Barnes, Robert Donat
Binnie Barnes, Robert Donat
Binnie Barnes
Binnie Barnes
Binnie Barnes
Binnie Barnes
Binnie Barnes
Binnie Barnes
Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton, Binnie Barnes
Charles Laughton, Binnie Barnes
Charles Laughton, Miles Mander
Charles Laughton, Miles Mander
Charles Laughton, Hay Petrie
Charles Laughton, Hay Petrie
Charles Laughton, Robert Donat
Charles Laughton, Robert Donat
Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton
Elsa Lanchester
Elsa Lanchester
Elsa Lanchester, John Loder
Elsa Lanchester, John Loder
Elsa Lanchester
Elsa Lanchester
Elsa Lanchester
Elsa Lanchester
Franklin Dyall
Franklin Dyall
Franklin Dyall
Franklin Dyall
Gibb McLaughlin
Gibb McLaughlin
Gibb McLaughlin
Gibb McLaughlin
John Loder
John Loder
Lady Tree
Lady Tree
Lawrence Hanray
Lawrence Hanray
Lawrence Hanray, Miles Mander
Lawrence Hanray, Miles Mander
Merle Oberon
Merle Oberon
Merle Oberon
Merle Oberon
Miles Mander
Miles Mander
Robert Donat
Robert Donat
Robert Donat, Binnie Barnes
Robert Donat, Binnie Barnes
Robert Donat, Binnie Barnes
Robert Donat, Binnie Barnes
Robert Donat
Robert Donat
Sam Livesey
Sam Livesey
Sam Livesey
Sam Livesey
Wendy Barrie
Wendy Barrie
Wendy Barrie
Wendy Barrie