The Six Wives of Henry VIII Series (1970) Review – Anne Boleyn Episode

This episode starts off by filling in some of the gaps of the last episode; Henry and Anne being happy and playing together and Henry with Anne and Elizabeth. I had already suspected that this episode won’t show them happy as much and was already starting to see how they would do that, however I still went on and kept watching. Mark Smeaton got a mention at the start when he had finished playing music for Henry and Anne, and I was glad of that. Henry quickly starts to seem like he has gone off Anne, saying about when they were younger and this quickly turns into an argument. They end up arguing about other women he may be seeing and they go from hot and cold, from arguing to her admitting that she’s pregnant. This did happen in real life but they have made Anne seem wicked and this got on my nerves.

In the next scene we get to see George and notice that Anne is not the only Boleyn with marital problems, George is arguing with his wife, Jane. He mentions that he thinks Jane is jealous of Anne and how close they are. In real life, there is no proof of a bad relationship between George and Anne, only that he was a ‘womaniser’.

This scene is quickly followed by Henry and Anne dancing in masks. Henry tells her to be careful as ‘the boy must not be early born as was the last’, this is referring to her last stillborn child which a lot of movies and tv shows tend to miss out. She asks if he would forgive her now and he says that the son will make him forgive all things, which I believe is true if she had given a boy. Yet again she argues, saying she is worried that people will still think her child is illegitimate. I didn’t like that they then hinted about George being jealous of the man who was dancing with Anne and also Jane Boleyn saying that Anne has been seeing other men. George and Anne did not have a relationship like that and I do not believe Jane was the one who got Anne beheaded by saying about all of the men.

Soon after, Henry wants to sleep with Anne but she protests saying they can’t because of their child. He still persists, which I don’t think he would have done as he really wanted a son, and then when she still says no he says ‘I will take my pleasure elsewhere then’. This is hinting at him taking a mistress and we soon see that Anne is not pleased.

Henry is starting to get bigger already, not too noticeably but enough that he complains about his jousting armour not fitting. Anne then charges in without permission and complains that he treats her like a whore, after he says that people call her the Great Whore. They next use a part from real life saying that she needs to ‘shut her eyes and endure’ when he takes mistresses and that if she gives him a son he will do whatever she wants.

Anne next finds out about Henry’s affair with Jane Seymour and discusses it with her brother. She says that his wife, Jane Boleyn, told her and then she goes on to say that she wants to be loved like Catherine was.

Henry’s jousting accident is strangely only a small part of this episode, Henry just mentions it as if it was nothing. After Cromwell tells him that he thinks Anne has bewitched him, saying that Cranmer believes it too. This is inaccurate as Cranmer was a great friend to the Boleyn family.

Anne finally has her miscarriage and she seems to have it because of how much she is worrying about losing the King’s love and a dream she had. What is different from other movies and tv series is that Henry was just told that Anne had given birth early to a boy. He only finds out when he goes to see her and she tells him. I have never seen it been done like this.

3 months later, Cromwell is going over the accusations of Anne’s adultery with Henry VIII. It then moves on to the May Day joust, with Anne expressing her hope that Henry’s forgiven her. Anne and Henry quickly argue over her giving her favour to Henry Norris. In a rage, he storms off and starts accusing Norris. Norris denies it and Henry leaves.

The next part is pretty much the same in any movie or tv show, Cromwell interrogating Mark Smeaton. After a few minutes, he resorts to torture to get Smeaton to confess. It is likely in real life that Smeaton was tortured.

Anne soon is arrested and taken to the Tower. She thinks about how she was stayed in the same chambers at her coronation and how she must soon be set free. However, she soon finds out that the other men were found guilty and starts laughing hysterically. This actually happened, Anne laughing and saying things like it wouldn’t rain until she was set free.

I’m glad that we saw Anne’s trial, it was disappointing when The Tudors series missed it out. She knows and keeps mentioning that she will be found guilty regardless of what she says. That is and was obviously true.

She is executed by a French swordsman that Anne had requested and Henry only complied when she agree to a divorce. We can already see Henry having fun with Jane Seymour, eager to marry her and needing Anne to agree. Anne is then promised her freedom if she lets Henry divorce her, there is actually some evidence of this happening in real life and so I am glad they included it. Unfortunately, we all know that Anne was not going to be set free. Anne is executed behind a weird backdrop instead of outdoors and that she was knelt upright in real life instead of using a block, but they did it accurately other than that.

I liked this episode but not as much as the Catherine episode before, perhaps because this is about Anne and I care a lot about her. I like the portrayal of her nearer the end, after she is arrested but not when she was with Henry. They made her mainly wicked, not showing any of her good, charitable sides. Other than that the portrayal of Henry and Cromwell was good, unlike Jane Boleyn and Cranmer.

My rating: 4/5


My edit of the Anne Boleyn episode.


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