Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The young talking picture industry had a take on Katherine too!

Any look at representations of Henry VIII must include 1933 British film The Private Life of Henry VIII, which veers crazily from being somewhat historically grounded to purely fictitious,  kind of like The Tudors without the nudity. The take on Katherine Howard is basically that Katherine Howard is a been-around-the-block court habituĂ©e who has always passed on true love in pursuit of ambition. That the real life Katherine was a teen who arrived fresh but not naive in the ways of love from her step-grandmother's house to become a lady-in-waiting to the ultimately repudiated Anne of Cleves matters not.  Private Life's screenplay take is reinforced by casting of then 30 year old actress Binnie Barnes,  who was not an especially girlish looking woman.  In the Private Life world,  Courtier Thomas Culpepper had been pining after Katherine, presumably for years, and ultimately declared his love for the Queen.  She sent him a note saying "yes" just as he was packing for North America, which would have been an interesting trip since his affair with Katherine began in 1541 and there was not even a failed attempt at English settlement in North America until the lost colony of Roanoke was founded in 1585.  In any event, the affair between Katherine and Culpepper looks like two star crossed and hopelessly smitten adults taking a chance on love...a roll of the dice that came up "off with their heads!"

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