40 thoughts on “WCW: Anne Boleyn

  1. The French hoods in particular and many of the costumes here make me want to pull all my eyelashes out. No more French hoods, costume designers, until you can make them properly and no more hair down unless it’s for the Coronation!

  2. I think that one) they want to make French hoods look more regal/crown like so they exaggerate them; and two) crappy French hoods have been normalised. Sucks all around.

    I share a birthday with Elizabeth I and IMO Anne was not initially interested in Henry at all. I think her family pushed her into it and Henry did not take no for an answer (imagine a world with 95% fewer man-children, what a wonderful world it might be). So Anne made the best out of the cards she was dealt with. I believe Henry’s harsh punishment for Anne is partly based on the fact he initially loved her more and resented that fact. And it festered. And festered. Plus, I’d bet a lot of money people played on that during their marriage and that fact contributed to her downfall. Henry was a vain, shallow, and ultimately, an insecure man. A secure man would not have needed to kill her to ‘even’ the playing field. (I’m also very intrigued by the idea Henry suffered a traumatic brain injury in his jousting accident)

    As for the last WTF French hood, she obviously was just in a wind tunnel. DUH. No bobby pin could survive a gale force wind tunnel, so they only sacrificed a few and the few remaining bobby pins gave up. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    1. Apart from Bad French Hoods becoming normalized, I think very few WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic) productions can even IMAGINE a heroine who doesn’t have a bunch of hair showing, or at least the promise of a bunch of hair; a whole bunch of hair is traditionally attractive to straight males, never mind that nowadays lots of women go around with very little hair, some by choice.

    2. Actually in a sense he did need to kill her. He had two excellent grounds on which he could have got his marriage to her annulled: (a) that his marriage to K of A had actually been valid all along, and (b) that he had previously had an affair with Anne’s sister Mary which made his marriage to Anne incestuous. Unfortunately, either choice would have entailed admitting that he had been Wrong, and indeed in the case of (b), downright dishonest – he could claim that he had been misled by evil counsellors about the validity of his marriage to K, but he couldn’t possibly pretend not to have known he had shagged Anne’s sister. And one thing Henry couldn’t bear was to think, let alone publicly admit, that he was or had been Wrong, ever.

      It’s just possible that if Anne, like Anne of Cleves, had been ready to go quietly – if, say, she had announced that she felt unworthy to be Queen as she was unable to produce an heir to the realm, and wanted to become a nun, he could have let her retire to a nunnery (there still were nunneries then) without losing face. But Anne wasn’t the kind of girl who would do that.

    3. “I think her family pushed her into it and Henry did not take no for an answer” – agreed! There’s a book called “Divorced Beheaded Survived” that basically argues she was a victim of sexual harassment.

      And the wind tunnel explains it!

  3. After Bujold (of course), my favorite representation is probably Lucy Worsley’s special. Although, I don’t know why she wore a white wedding dress with a veil. Coincidence?

  4. I feel like costume designers look at Tudor-era headwear, decide that the French hood looks like the easiest one to make, and then are in too deep when they realize that it actually requires quite a bit of skill to make one. Then it just becomes headbands with polyester veils hot-glued on.

  5. When I was a kid the costumes from the 1972 six wives went on a world tour so I got to see them up close. They are incredible. Watch parts, nuts. bolts – so many things used to create texture. They inspired me to get interested in costuming!

  6. All of the turquoise velvet gowns from ‘Last days of AB’ 2013 to Henry’s six queens to Gemma Whelan’ Anne that you deemed decent to discussable are the same reused item.
    In ‘Wolf Hall’ it was worn by Charity Wakefield’s Mary Boleyn – which kind of makes sense for her as the discarded hand-me-down sister.

  7. I adore Genevieve Bujold in Anne of the Thousand Days with Richard Burton as Henry VIII. My main takeaway from the Ray Winstone/Helena Bonham Carter Six Wives was why did Henry have a cockney accent?

  8. Just a small correction – Henry was never Protestant. He broke with Rome, but he remained a Catholic, as other kings had done before him. He may have wanted to return to Rome in due course, but the times had changed, and he never did.

    1. Nothing to correct — this is accurate: “Through Anne’s influence, Henry came to the decision to break with the Roman Catholic church and set himself up as the head of a separate Church of England that was nominally Protestant but really mostly stuck to established norms.”

      The Church of England has always been a Protestant denomination, in ‘protest’ to the Church of Rome. The 1534 Act of Supremacy declared the English monarch as head of this church. Sure, Henry personally held “catholic” beliefs but by the law he setup, he was not “Roman Catholic” anymore. Also, the Pope excommunicated him for this act, so it’s not like he could go back.

    2. I guess it depends on your definition of Catholicism! He certainly wasn’t Roman Catholic anymore, but yes, he basically kept things the same minus the pope and didn’t like anyone (eg Catherine Parr) wanting to push things more reformist.

  9. The third picture of Natalie Portman is photoshopped. It’s the same green gown as the picture above it.

      1. The motif is photoshopped as well. You’re probably thinking of her other green gown that has a giant calla lily embroidered on it.

  10. Just a small correction – Henry was never Protestant. He broke with Rome, but he remained a Catholic, as other kings had done before him. He may have wanted to return to Rome in due course, but the times had changed, and he never did.
    That’s some collection of French hoods! I hate especially the ones without veils at the back.

  11. BTW it’s thought that Anne could have been rhesus negative, in a time when that condition wouldn’t have been recognised. It meant that she would have one healthy child but wouldn’t be able to have another.

    1. I’m FASCINATED by historical medical diagnosis guesses, and I love this one. There’s also one where it’s Henry who has the condition, but I can’t remember what it is. Anyway, I so wish we had detailed medical reports that could be pored over! I know in the end it’s mostly chance and a high infant mortality rate, but with both Catherine and Anne it’s like they’re SO CLOSE no damn wait that one didn’t make it either :( And how heartbreaking must that have been?

  12. From what I remember of Wolf Hall (the novel), I believe the last photo of Claire Foy is Anne as Maid Marion (and I think Henry might be dressed as Robin Hood in the same scene in the book)

    1. But it’s still a weirdly bad costume — it’s incongruent with the rest of the costumes in the series in style, quality, materials, & historical accuracy. That neckline isn’t right for the period, the sleeves are baggy, & the hat isn’t appropriate at all. You could do Tudor Maid Marion that’s still to the same level of quality & historical accuracy, & it’d look very different than what’s shown.

    1. The only possible straw I can grasp at is that in the privacy of her chamber (prison?), out of stress or distress she has shoved it back from where it ought to be. Of course that’s just not something one could do to a French hood without yanking whole lumps of one’s hair out, but it’s the kind of dumb thing that a director might dream up. If that hood were where it ought to be, it would be no worse than most of the hoods in this post.

  13. The thing that really shouts at me about Natalie Portman’s green dress is the colour. And what it shouts is ‘Aniline Dye!!!’ I don’t believe it is possible to get that violently-emerald green with natural dye-stuffs.

  14. I loved Dorothy Tutin, back in the day.

    I wish you guys would have a look at Lucy Worsley. She’s a decent historian, but OMG does she like to dress up, in approximations of clothing current to the period she’s presenting on. Frequently very weird.

    1. I used to like Lucy, but she’s become way too fond of intruding on the stories she attempts to tell; she comes across as a little girl playing dress-up, instead of a historian.

  15. Quick question: I’ve heard that French hoods were considered racier because they sat further back on the head (thus showing hair), while gable hoods were more conservative because they covered the hair. Yet in several productions I’ve seen they have gable hoods that are worn like French hoods, showing the hair. Was this ever done, or is this another case of questionable production decisions by the filmmakers?

  16. I wish they’d let Natalie play Anne more like “A Thousand Days.” Unfortunately, they went with the “Anne is actually a lying tramp” angle for The Tudors. But she gave a fantastic performance, and after she, Maria (KoA) and Jeremy Northam as More left, the series took a nosedive in terms of quality.

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