This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,-- This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. ~~William Shakespeare, Richard III

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reviews and Movies

We're getting near the end of the month and I'm looking forward to doing my monthly book review. I've read several good ones this month and I'm still trying to decide which I want to post a review about...of course, I could just do two again like I did last month! Keep on the lookout as I'll post my August book review(s) next week.

I have seen questions on other forums about movies that tell the story of some specific historical character, folks wondering if there are good movies out there that portray these characters. Why yes! Of course there are! And there are some that are not really that great either. Below is a short run down of some notable movies that are about various people in British history.

Anne of the Thousand Days - 1969
This is probably one of the better movies about Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.

Henry VIII - 2003
I think this is probably my favorite movies about Henry. Ray Winstone does an absolutely wonderful job as Henry. It also stars Helena Bonham Carter as Anne Boleyn.

Mary, Queen of Scots - 1971
Obviously, a movie about Mary, starring Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Queen Elizabeth.

Elizabeth - 1998
Probably my favorite movie about the Queen. Cate Blanchett does an AMAZING job as Elizabeth. While there are quite a few historical inaccuracies, overall it is a decent portrayal of the struggles at the beginning of her reign.

Elizabeth, the Golden Age - 2007
The "sequal" to the first movie, though the events portrayed in the two movies are separated by many years, and focusing on the threat from Spain and the Spanish ArmadaThis one wasn't as good as the first but still a good movie.

The Lion in Winter - 1968
A decent movie about Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Katherine Hepburn plays the role of Eleanor. Timothy Dalton even shows up as France's King Phillip.

Lady Jane - 1986
This is probably the only movie about Lady Jane Grey and it stars a young Helena Bonham Carter in the title role. The producers pretty much rewrote history in order to make it a love story but still an interesting one to watch.

Henry V - 1989
Kenneth Branagh's version of Shakespeare's play. Just a warning, the actors are all speaking the lines of the play so if you're not fluent in Shakespeare's English you might have some trouble. Otherwise, its a fair representation of the English King's battles in France. Emma Thompson stars as Katherine of Valois, Princess of France and Henry's future wife. Christian Bale also has a small role.

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