The Private Life of Henry VIII - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Private Life of Henry VIII Reviews

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May 9, 2015
For such an old film, I was surprised at the humour used in this. Most other films of this era were way too serious. This is surely a big influence on the carry-on films, one of which could almost be a remake, Carry on Henry.
½ April 19, 2015
The perfect role for Laughton.
March 26, 2015
The Private Life of Henry VIII has good direction from Alexander Korda, very engaging plot and a standout performance from Charles Laughton who absolutely steals the show and definitely deserved his Oscar. It is very uneven in terms of editing, it's too rushed in the first act and this story needed much longer running time, but this movie is otherwise a very charming and entertaining historical film with excellent character study, superb use of endearing humor, terrific acting, wonderful ending and a story that is beautifully adapted and always involving. It isn't perfect, but it's undoubtedly one of the most watchable and purely fun drama pictures of the decade.
½ March 25, 2015
An incredibly entertaining glance at some of the important moments in Henry VIII's later life, with a unique, if not Oscar-worthy, performance from Charles Laughton. He over-acts it a bit, especially at the beginning, but as the film progresses his expressions and mannerisms become more heartfelt. It's a showcase of scenes from the life of a very important but very flawed man, and it's not afraid to show the man, warts and all, and take the side of his often unlucky wives. We don't hear anything about Catherine of Aragon apart from an opening title card which calls her part of the story unimportant, and there isn't much about Ann Boleyn or Jane Seymour, either. That said, the scenes with Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr are very intrusive and great fun to watch. It goes little further than an elementary-school-level rundown of Henry's private life, but it's nicely put together and a joy to watch that doesn't outstay its run time.
February 27, 2015
Beautiful story about the king, played by an oustanding performer Charles Laughton, who had 6 wives. Fine storytelling and wise humor makes this film a fun to watch.
February 28, 2014
good well acted hollywood bio-pic about title character
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2014
It is ironic that this was considered to be Laughton's star turn because it is probably one of the worst performances that I have seen him in. This Henry is the stereotyped one and not the one played with nuance. For that reason, this picture never grows to the extent that it could.
February 4, 2014
A hilarious film that combines a historical period piece with a romantic comedy (probably the first to ever do so).
My only qualm is that parts of it seemed to modern to be set in the 1500's, but that's probably what made it funny.
February 3, 2014
Charles Laughton's vulgar performance as Henry VIII is charming, if not hilarious. But the film becomes dated as time goes by with this shallow plot.
September 25, 2013
A campy, tongue-in-cheek take on the Tudor great, Laughton's take has come to typify the modern interpretation of King. While the history isn't wholly factual, and overall would generally be about 3 1/2 stars, I am giving it a 4 simply for the experience of the piece. It really is a must-see for anglophiles, cinema buffs, and lovers of all things Oscar. [[ The real scene-stealer is Laughton's real-life wife, Elsa Lanchester, as Anne of Cleves!]]
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2013
Henry VIII is an interesting historical character.His Private life is the most fascinating part about him. For these reasons I'm shocked that The Private Life of Henry VIII was as boring as it was. And this was after watching Wedding Rehearsal. I understand this was back in the 1930s, but I would've wished for the film to be more risky. It was just a regular historical movie that one would watch ten minutes of in a history class. The scenery worked well, but nothing this film could do was enough to draw me in. Charles Laughton was a perfect Henry VIII to be fair, and despite only seeing a couple of his works, his becoming a favorite actor of the era.
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2012
Henry VIII, a gigantic, gloating personality, marries multiple women and wrestles members of his court all while chewing on a turkey leg.
Charles Laughton is exactly how I imagined Henry VIII when I look at Hans Holbein's famous portrait of the Tudor monarch and when I read about Henry in history books. His larger-than-life personality and gloating arrogance chew the scenery, just as I imagined the real Henry to be. He's garrulous and captivating, and Laughton plays him perfectly.
I realize that the title is The Private Life of Henry VIII with an emphasis on the word private, but I can't say that the relationships Henry has with his six wives are given much attention. After all, the film begins with the execution of Anne Boleyn, so we miss Katherine of Aragon entirely and the infidelity that gave rise to Henry's break with Rome. The Reformation, the civil war with Scotland, and Henry's military victory in France all go by the wayside, and the film suffers for it.
Overall, I love the character Laughton creates, but I only wish the film had included more of the events perpetrated by this fascinating historical figure.
½ August 4, 2012
The perfect role for Charles Laughton. Risqué and ribald for its time. Certainly not a history lesson but a very engaging film, for sure. One of Alexander Korda's best
July 25, 2012
A good biopic... but Charles Laughton gives one of the greatest on-screen performances of all time here.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2011
A stunning portrayal of Henry VIII is given by Charles Laughton who won an Oscar for his role, is the center of The Private Life of Henry VIII. The film is a tongue in cheek display of the private life of the British King and being so, is often very humorous and yet still quite serious as people lose their lives fairly often. Once we are introduced to King Henry VIII we are told of his first wife who isn't seen because she was "too respectable to be included", and then we dive into his second marriage or I should say the end of his second marriage. We then proceed through the other of his six wives and the resulting impact each has, not just on the King himself but the whole of the court and the country. This is a very captivating film that is simple yet effective and really established Charles Laughton's international stardom and jump started his prolific career. A wonderful British piece!
August 25, 2011
Bizarre, fairly enjoyable autobiographical pick of King Henry the 8th of England (Charles Laughton). The film begins after he has already has had two wives, Catharine of Aragon (of which the film humourously dismisses the long marriage as boring); and Anne Boleyn (Merle Oberon), of which he executes during the film. Then the film tells the story of marrying his remaining four wives, one being Anne of Cleves, played by Laughton's actual wife Elsa Lanchester. Laughton keeps the film going with his funny, Oscar winning performance, and the visuals are very nice too look. The film is a little dated and bit inaccurate of biography of King Henry, but it does provide sufficient entertainment value for a re-watch.
August 8, 2011
The Private Life of Henry VIII is an enjoyable film. It is about how King Henry VIII came to marry five more times after he divorced from his first wife. Charles Laughton and Robert Donat give excellent performances. The script is good but could have better. Alexander Korda did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama. The Private Life of Henry VIII is a must see.
July 26, 2011
Looks extremely entertaining and it's beloved by critics everywhere.
June 7, 2011
La vida privada de Enrique VIII [1933]
February 27, 2011
Who would have thought King Henry VIII was just a guy trying to find true love? This picture almost shows you the human side of the often misunderstood monarch by following him between wives number 2 whom he beheaded on his wedding night to number three and number six. Great performance by Charles Laughton as he brings humor and life to this film.
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