A beautifully crafted epic, Henry VIII is told in flashback form from the king’s deathbed. Pic deals almost exclusively with Henry and his succession of wives, deliberately relegating historic events to backdrops, even though audiences are kept in touch at all times with what else was going on in the realm.
Thanks also to a fine, tight script and sensitive but firm direction, the king acquires many more dimensions than those usually credited him. Keith Michell gives an upper-case performance all the way, through a succession of equally very believable makeup transformations.
Somewhat over-stolid at times, and taking itself too seriously, it perhaps needs more amusing change-of-pace sequences such as the one which finds the king saddled, sight-unseen, with the ugly Anne of Cleves.