I have a confession to make. I love British historical dramas. In fact, I’m a bit obsessed with British history in general, and one of my favorite historical dramas is Anne of the Thousand Days (1969, dir. Charles Jarrott) which is finding its way onto NTSC Region-1 DVD for the first time today.
The film features a terrific cast of talented actors, including the great Richard Burton who gives one of his most controlled and intense performances here as King Henry VIII, but the real reason to watch this rather dark and extremely lush drama is to see one of my favorite actresses, the lovely and talented Genevieve Bujold, in one of her finest roles as the proud and defiant Anne Boleyn. Her incredible performance won her a Golden Globe in 1969 and even garnered her an Oscar nomination. She really is luminous here as the young doomed Queen who gives birth to a daughter – Elizabeth I – and soon finds herself accused of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft when she can’t give the King a male heir.
Like most historical dramas, the historical accuracy of Anne of the Thousand Days is questionable, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this terrific film and Genevieve Bujold’s fantastic performance. Much like the great Fred Zinnemann film A Man for All Seasons (1966), Anne of the Thousand Days offers an interesting look at the passions, politics, and religious upheaval that lead to the English Reformation. The film also boasts some nice photography from cinematographer Arthur Ibbetson and a very good period score from the talented French composer Georges Delrue.
The new Anne of the Thousand Days DVD from Universal also comes with director Charles Jarrott’s critically acclaimed follow-up film Mary, Queen of Scots starring Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson. I haven’t seen Mary, Queen of Scots myself yet but if it’s anywhere near as good as Anne of the Thousand Days I suspect that I’ll really enjoy it as well. I’m looking forward to giving it a look soon now that it’s easily available on DVD.
The Anne of the Thousand Days / Mary, Queen of Scots DVD is available from Amazon and it presents both of the films in Anamorphic Widescreen. Extras include a Theatrical Trailer for Anne of the Thousand Days, an Isolated Music Only Track with Commentary from Film Historians Nick Redman and Jon Burlingame for Mary, Queen of Scots, a Promotional Featurette and a Sneak Peek of Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). I’m disappointed with the extras since I would love to have had a commentary with Genevieve Bujold included with the Anne of the Thousand Days disc, but at only $14.99 for two films I guess I can’t complain about the DVD too much.
The films were obviously finally released on DVD in anticipation of Shekhar Kapur’s upcoming follow-up film to Elizabeth (1998). I actually really enjoyed Elizabeth so I’m looking forward to Elizabeth: The Golden Age. I think it will be interesting to watch the terrific Anne of the Thousand Days again, along with Mary, Queen of Scots before seeing Kapur’s new film.
– A nice Genevieve Bujold fan site