Anne of the Thousand Days


2h 26m 1969
Anne of the Thousand Days

Brief Synopsis

Anne Boleyn fights to keep Henry VIII's love and her head in the midst of palace intrigue.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Historical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 18 Dec 1969
Production Company
Universal Pictures, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United Kingdom
Location
England, United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Anne of the Thousand Days by Maxwell Anderson (New York, 8 Dec 1948).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 26m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints), Mono (35 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

King Henry VIII of England, whose marriage to Catherine of Aragon has failed to produce a male heir to the throne, becomes infatuated with Anne Boleyn, who is in love with Harry Percy. The king prevents their marriage by sending Percy away and ordering that Anne be made a lady-in-waiting to Catherine. Anne, who has acquired a taste for power, consents to have sex with Henry only if he will marry her and make her queen of England. Henry turns to his counselor, Cardinal Wolsey, to intercede for him with the pope in Rome to have his marriage annulled, but the pope is a prisoner of Catherine's father, King Ferdinand of Spain, and refuses to grant the annulment. When Wolsey also fails to get the annulment approved from the local ecclesiastical body, Henry strips him of his position and appoints Thomas Cromwell in his place. As a final recourse, Henry breaks with the Catholic Church and appoints himself head of the Church of England. Henry, who demands an oath of loyalty recognizing himself as head of both church and state, has Sir Thomas More beheaded when he fails to comply. Now free of his ties to Catherine, Henry marries Anne, and soon afterward she bears him a daughter, Elizabeth. When their second child, a son, is stillborn, Henry becomes furious and orders that his new lover, Jane Seymour, be made one of Anne's ladies-in-waiting. At Henry's command, Cromwell fabricates a case of adultery against Anne, and she is convicted by the court. The strong-willed Anne refuses Henry's offer of clemency if she will renounce the marriage, and as she faces the guillotine, Henry rides off to visit Jane.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Historical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 18 Dec 1969
Production Company
Universal Pictures, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United Kingdom
Location
England, United Kingdom
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Anne of the Thousand Days by Maxwell Anderson (New York, 8 Dec 1948).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 26m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints), Mono (35 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Wins

Best Costume Design

1969

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1969
Richard Burton

Best Actress

1969
Genevieve Bujold

Best Art Direction

1969
Maurice Carter

Best Cinematography

1969

Best Music Original Dramatic Score

1970

Best Picture

1969

Best Sound

1969

Best Supporting Actor

1969
Anthony Quayle

Best Writing, Screenplay

1970

Articles

Anne of the Thousand Days


By the time Richard Burton had been signed by producer Hal B. Wallis to star in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), the story of Henry VIII's marriage to his second wife, Anne Boleyn, the 44-year old star had already spent several years starring in period films with great success. Most recently, Burton had co-starred with Peter O'Toole in Becket (1964) for which he had earned his third Oscar nomination for the title role. Wallis, who had produced Becket, was an old hand at historical drama, with credits dating back to The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), and Burton was eager to work again with the producer, eventually convincing him to purchase the rights to the 1948 play by Maxwell Anderson, Anne of the Thousand Days.

Over a lavish lunch on the set of The Taming of the Shrew (1967), with the actor and his wife and co-star Elizabeth Taylor, Wallis discussed his ideas about the story of the "child-queen" Anne Boleyn. "Elizabeth hung on my every word," Wallis recounted in his autobiography, Starmaker (Macmillan). "I was surprised by her attention, as there was no part in the picture for her. Over an elaborate dessert she took a deep breath and said, "Hal, I've been thinking about it for weeks. I have to play Anne Boleyn!" My fork stopped halfway to my mouth. Anne Boleyn? Elizabeth was plump and middle-aged; Anne was a slip of a girl. The fate of the picture hung in the balance. I could scarcely bring myself to look at Richard, but he handled it beautifully. He put his hand on hers, looked her directly in the eye, and said, "Sorry, luv. You're too long in the tooth." Elizabeth took it like a trooper." And there were no hard feelings since Burton reportedly received his largest fee ever for his role in the film - $1,250,000. Plus, Taylor ended up playing a cameo role as a masked courtesan attending a costume party and Burton's daughter, 11-year old Kate, and Taylor's 12-year-old Liza, were cast respectively, as a servant girl and a street urchin.

The historical context of the story of Anne of the Thousand Days had wonderful dramatic potential; not only was it a love story, but one that changed the course of English history. Henry VIII had divorced his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and abandoned the Catholic Church to marry Anne, only to behead her when she was unable to provide him with a much-desired male heir. Wallis was stymied, however, in the casting of Anne and spent months searching for an unknown actress to take the part. Finally, after viewing footage of Genevieve Bujold's performance in the film Isabel (1968), he decided upon the French-speaking Canadian actress, whom he hired without a formal screen test or personal interview. "The minute she appeared on the screen, I was riveted," Wallis wrote. "I saw a tiny, seemingly fragile woman made of steel - willful, passionate, intense. She was exactly the actress I wanted to play Anne Boleyn."

After being denied permission to film at Henry VIII's palace, Hampton Court, shooting commenced in England at the actual family home of the Boleyns, Hever Castle in Kent, and the very place where Henry VIII had first spotted Anne. Burton and Bujold (whom Burton nicknamed "Gin") got along famously - perhaps a little too well in the eyes of Burton's wife. Taylor was absent during much of shoot but, after hearing rumors of her husband's romantic interest in his co-star, she decided to visit the set. She arrived on the day the final scene of the film was shot- a crucial scene in which Henry confronts Anne in the Tower of London. Upon hearing of Taylor's arrival, Bujold "was fighting mad," according to Wallis. "She turned to Jarrott and me and said, "I'm going to give that bitch an acting lesson she'll never forget!" then took her position in front of the camera. What seemed a misfortune suddenly turned into an advantage. Genevieve flung herself into the scene with a display of acting skill I have seldom seen equaled in my career. Then she stormed off the set. Soon after filming finished, we had an end-of-the-picture party. The two actresses held court at opposite ends of the room. Richard Burton very pointedly never left Elizabeth's side."

Burton's portrayal of the king was acclaimed by most critics and Bujold credited Burton for her performance, stating, "He was generous, kind, helpful, and witty. And generosity was the one great quality." More importantly, her portrayal of Anne resulted in her only Academy Award nomination to date. Probably the most notable praise for Wallis came from an unlikely critic. At a Royal Command performance of the film in London, Queen Elizabeth II told the producer, "Thank you, Mr. Wallis. We're learning about English history from your films."

Anne of the Thousand Days was nominated for ten Academy Awards that year: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Sound, Best Screenplay, and Best Costume Design. The attention the film received gave Bujold's career a life outside of Canada and Burton felt that the film would finally provide him with the Oscar that had eluded him in the past. Nominated for the sixth time for Anne of the Thousand Days, he felt that this time he would go home a winner. But after losing again, to John Wayne for True Grit (1969), Burton appeared resigned to his fate. He would only be nominated one more time, for Equus (1977), and lose to Richard Dreyfuss for The Goodbye Girl! In all, Anne of the Thousand Days would only claim one statuette, for Costume Design.

Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Director: Charles Jarrott
Screenplay: Bridget Boland, John Hale, Richard Sokolove; based on the play by Maxwell Anderson
Art Direction: Lionel Couch
Cinematography: Arthur Ibbetson
Editing: Richard Marden
Music: Georges Delerue
Cast: Richard Burton (Henry VIII), Genevieve Bujold (Anne Boleyn), Irene Papas (Queen Catharine of Aragon), Anthony Quayle (Cardinal Wolsey), John Colicos (Cromwell), Michael Hordern (Thomas Boleyn), Katharine Blake (Elizabeth), Peter Jeffrey (Norfolk).
C-145m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning.

by Genevieve McGillicuddy
Anne Of The Thousand Days

Anne of the Thousand Days

By the time Richard Burton had been signed by producer Hal B. Wallis to star in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), the story of Henry VIII's marriage to his second wife, Anne Boleyn, the 44-year old star had already spent several years starring in period films with great success. Most recently, Burton had co-starred with Peter O'Toole in Becket (1964) for which he had earned his third Oscar nomination for the title role. Wallis, who had produced Becket, was an old hand at historical drama, with credits dating back to The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), and Burton was eager to work again with the producer, eventually convincing him to purchase the rights to the 1948 play by Maxwell Anderson, Anne of the Thousand Days. Over a lavish lunch on the set of The Taming of the Shrew (1967), with the actor and his wife and co-star Elizabeth Taylor, Wallis discussed his ideas about the story of the "child-queen" Anne Boleyn. "Elizabeth hung on my every word," Wallis recounted in his autobiography, Starmaker (Macmillan). "I was surprised by her attention, as there was no part in the picture for her. Over an elaborate dessert she took a deep breath and said, "Hal, I've been thinking about it for weeks. I have to play Anne Boleyn!" My fork stopped halfway to my mouth. Anne Boleyn? Elizabeth was plump and middle-aged; Anne was a slip of a girl. The fate of the picture hung in the balance. I could scarcely bring myself to look at Richard, but he handled it beautifully. He put his hand on hers, looked her directly in the eye, and said, "Sorry, luv. You're too long in the tooth." Elizabeth took it like a trooper." And there were no hard feelings since Burton reportedly received his largest fee ever for his role in the film - $1,250,000. Plus, Taylor ended up playing a cameo role as a masked courtesan attending a costume party and Burton's daughter, 11-year old Kate, and Taylor's 12-year-old Liza, were cast respectively, as a servant girl and a street urchin. The historical context of the story of Anne of the Thousand Days had wonderful dramatic potential; not only was it a love story, but one that changed the course of English history. Henry VIII had divorced his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and abandoned the Catholic Church to marry Anne, only to behead her when she was unable to provide him with a much-desired male heir. Wallis was stymied, however, in the casting of Anne and spent months searching for an unknown actress to take the part. Finally, after viewing footage of Genevieve Bujold's performance in the film Isabel (1968), he decided upon the French-speaking Canadian actress, whom he hired without a formal screen test or personal interview. "The minute she appeared on the screen, I was riveted," Wallis wrote. "I saw a tiny, seemingly fragile woman made of steel - willful, passionate, intense. She was exactly the actress I wanted to play Anne Boleyn." After being denied permission to film at Henry VIII's palace, Hampton Court, shooting commenced in England at the actual family home of the Boleyns, Hever Castle in Kent, and the very place where Henry VIII had first spotted Anne. Burton and Bujold (whom Burton nicknamed "Gin") got along famously - perhaps a little too well in the eyes of Burton's wife. Taylor was absent during much of shoot but, after hearing rumors of her husband's romantic interest in his co-star, she decided to visit the set. She arrived on the day the final scene of the film was shot- a crucial scene in which Henry confronts Anne in the Tower of London. Upon hearing of Taylor's arrival, Bujold "was fighting mad," according to Wallis. "She turned to Jarrott and me and said, "I'm going to give that bitch an acting lesson she'll never forget!" then took her position in front of the camera. What seemed a misfortune suddenly turned into an advantage. Genevieve flung herself into the scene with a display of acting skill I have seldom seen equaled in my career. Then she stormed off the set. Soon after filming finished, we had an end-of-the-picture party. The two actresses held court at opposite ends of the room. Richard Burton very pointedly never left Elizabeth's side." Burton's portrayal of the king was acclaimed by most critics and Bujold credited Burton for her performance, stating, "He was generous, kind, helpful, and witty. And generosity was the one great quality." More importantly, her portrayal of Anne resulted in her only Academy Award nomination to date. Probably the most notable praise for Wallis came from an unlikely critic. At a Royal Command performance of the film in London, Queen Elizabeth II told the producer, "Thank you, Mr. Wallis. We're learning about English history from your films." Anne of the Thousand Days was nominated for ten Academy Awards that year: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Sound, Best Screenplay, and Best Costume Design. The attention the film received gave Bujold's career a life outside of Canada and Burton felt that the film would finally provide him with the Oscar that had eluded him in the past. Nominated for the sixth time for Anne of the Thousand Days, he felt that this time he would go home a winner. But after losing again, to John Wayne for True Grit (1969), Burton appeared resigned to his fate. He would only be nominated one more time, for Equus (1977), and lose to Richard Dreyfuss for The Goodbye Girl! In all, Anne of the Thousand Days would only claim one statuette, for Costume Design. Producer: Hal B. Wallis Director: Charles Jarrott Screenplay: Bridget Boland, John Hale, Richard Sokolove; based on the play by Maxwell Anderson Art Direction: Lionel Couch Cinematography: Arthur Ibbetson Editing: Richard Marden Music: Georges Delerue Cast: Richard Burton (Henry VIII), Genevieve Bujold (Anne Boleyn), Irene Papas (Queen Catharine of Aragon), Anthony Quayle (Cardinal Wolsey), John Colicos (Cromwell), Michael Hordern (Thomas Boleyn), Katharine Blake (Elizabeth), Peter Jeffrey (Norfolk). C-145m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. by Genevieve McGillicuddy

Quotes

But Elizabeth is yours. Watch her as she grows; she's yours. She's a Tudor! Get yourself a son off of that sweet, pale girl if you can--and hope that he will live! But Elizabeth shall reign after you! Yes, Elizabeth--child of Anne the Whore and Henry the Blood-Stained Lecher--shall be Queen! And remember this: Elizabeth shall be a greater queen than any king of yours! She shall rule a greater England than you could ever have built! Yes--MY Elizabeth SHALL BE QUEEN! And my blood will have been well spent!
- Anne
She has the face of a simpering sheep. And the manners. But not the morals. I don't want her near me.
- Anne
Each to his own conscience, son.
- Duke of Norfolk
God keep me from yours.
- Norris
Doesn't do that well. Not as well as I've known it done. But it's the one arm I want- for some God-knows-what reason. You do everything badly- everything awkwardly- and I love it the way you do it.
- Anne
Won't you kiss your daughter?
- Anne
I will kiss her when she's older- and when she has a brother!
- King Henry VIII

Trivia

'Burton, Richard' loaned the coat he wore as Henry VIII to Sid James to wear when he played Henry VIII in Carry On Henry (1971).

The masked girl who interrupts Queen Katherine's prayers is played by an unbilled 'Taylor, Elizabeth' .

Faye Dunaway turned down the role of Anne Bolyne.

Notes

Filmed in 35mm and blown up to 70mm for some roadshow presentations. Opened in London in February 1970.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States October 1996

Released in United States Winter December 1969

Re-released in United States on Video February 28, 1995

Film marks feature directorial debut for Charles Jarrot.

Released in USA on laserdisc June 13, 1995.

Re-released in United States on Video February 28, 1995

Released in United States October 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "Hollywood Independents: Wallis-Hazen Productions" October 12-27, 1996.)

Released in United States Winter December 1969