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Disappointed by all the hype, and the twin pairing of these two films
I must admit that without all the hype over Anne of the Thousand Days, I might have enjoyed it more. I didn't enjoy the lead performances very much, although I have liked other work from them. Overall, the feeling of both films was a bit too romanticized. AotTD also possibly suffered in my eyes because of the excellent Man for all Seasons, another telling of the basic story. However, I felt like Mary Queen of Scots did not suffer from that so much, nor did it seem to have as much of a stagey or stilted feel, although Jarrott directed them both. I would have preferred to have the option of purchasing the latter alone. <BR/><BR/>Owing to the hype, I was expecting a really deep, heartfelt performance from Bujold, who disappointed me by appearing as more of an imp or a moppet than the ill-fated Queen Anne Boleyn. Anne was said to be charming, intelligent, witty, but also strong-willed; however, while Bujold is charming and attractive enough, she appears at times as simply more bratty than witty or strong-willed. Some of her time on screen *is* really excellent, but so many times I felt like the spell was broken. I believe the script may have been to blame more than the actress, forcing her to use insults against Henry like "you booby," or something of that nature. Understanding that while the film used more of a mock-Tudor dialog than actual period speech, so as to be understood easily by modern audiences, the scriptwriter's language choices are now dated as well--and positively jarring! It's as if we see a letter in a presumably serious movie from Thomas Moore to someone speaking of being "pwned." <BR/><BR/>The imagined scene in the Tower between Anne and Henry was unintentionally funny to me as well--Anne does a wild-eyed, head-shaking anger routine on Henry that was far from convincing. Bujold must take the blame for that one. <BR/><BR/>I sometimes enjoy Burton's acting style, but here I did not. It was so hammy I was looking for my eggs and a slice of toast. <BR/><BR/>A few of the lesser characters' performances in Mary, Queen of Scots, were a bit overdone, but Glenda Jackson and Vanessa Redgrave were amazing. I also enjoyed the portrayal of both of Mary's later husbands, Darnley and Bothwell by Timothy Dalton and Nigel Davenport, respectively.<BR/><BR/><BR/>Worthwhile anyway together at this price, they are certainly considered classics: a must for lovers of older films or extreme history buffs. But be warned that those who enjoy modern method acting, or anyone who's already seen too many stagey productions, may wonder what the fuss was all about.
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Posted October 1, 2010