Carry On Henry
|Carry On Henry|
DVD cover art
|Directed by||Gerald Thomas|
|Produced by||Peter Rogers|
|Written by||Talbot Rothwell|
|Music by||Eric Rogers|
|Editing by||Alfred Roome|
|Distributed by||Rank Organisation|
|Running time||89 minutes|
Carry On Henry is the 21st of the in the series of Carry On films to be made and was released in 1971. It tells a fictionalised story involving Sid James as Henry VIII, who chases after Barbara Windsor's character Bettina. James and Windsor feature alongside other regulars Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Terry Scott and Kenneth Connor. This was the first time that Williams and Connor appeared together since Carry On Cleo seven years previously. The original alternative title was to be Anne of a Thousand Lays, a pun on the Richard Burton film Anne of the Thousand Days, and Sid James wears exactly the same cloak that Burton wore in that film.
Casting and characterisation
Sid James plays Henry VIII as a lovable rogue who is surrounded by scheming courtiers. Peter Rogers originally planned on using Harry Secombe in the title role, and in the first draft of the screenplay Henry was going to be an avid composer of madrigals, but the idea was shelved and Sid James took over the role. Two comedic madrigals written for the film but unused were later performed in the 1972 Carry On Christmas special and the 1973 stage show Carry On London.
The film opens with a passage, which states:
This film is based on a recently discovered manuscript by one William Cobbler, which reveals that Henry VIII did in fact have two more wives. Although it was first thought that Cromwell originated the story, it is now known to be definitely all Cobbler's... from beginning to end.
Henry VIII (Sid James) has his wife (Patsy Rowlands) beheaded and quickly marries Marie of Normandy (Joan Sims). This union was organised at the behest of bumbling Cardinal Wolsey (Terry Scott) as Marie is cousin of King Francis I of France. Henry's wedding night ardour dies when he finds she reeks of garlic, but she refuses to stop eating it. Marie gets frustrated so soon receives amorous advances from Sir Roger de Lodgerley (Charles Hawtrey who, while still in his camp persona, is playing against type as a ladies man).
Henry is keen to be rid of Marie, as he has met the lovely Bettina (Barbara Windsor, in her favourite Carry On role). Bettina is the daughter of the Earl of Bristol (Peter Butterworth, in a one scene cameo), a punning reference to Bristols. Thomas Cromwell (Kenneth Williams) assists in ousting Marie by organising Lord Hampton of Wick (Kenneth Connor) to kidnap the King in a staged plot. Cromwell and Lord Hampton also secretly plot to bring the king to harm as part of this escapade, but the false kidnapping fails.
Henry seizes on Marie's infidelity with de Lodgerley to be free of her; all he needs is a confession from de Lodgerley. He orders Cromwell to extract a confession using any means necessary. This leads to a running joke in the torture chamber as Henry keeps changing his mind about the confession due to political necessities, requiring multiple changes and retractions of the original confession. Wolsey is baffled by all the intrigue, and Cromwell is driven to treason by all of Henry's unreasonable demands.
- Sid James as King Henry VIII
- Kenneth Williams as Thomas Cromwell
- Charles Hawtrey as Sir Roger de Lodgerley
- Joan Sims as Queen Marie of Normandy
- Terry Scott as Cardinal Wolsey
- Barbara Windsor as Bettina
- Kenneth Connor as Lord Hampton of Wick
- Julian Holloway as Sir Thomas
- Peter Gilmore as Francis, King of France
- Peter Butterworth as Charles, Earl of Essex
- Julian Orchard as Duc de Poncenay
- Gertan Klauber as Bidet
- David Davenport as Major-domo
- Margaret Nolan as Buxom lass
- William Mervyn as Physician
- Norman Chappell as 1st plotter
- Derek Francis as Farmer
- Bill Maynard as Guy Fawkes
- Douglas Ridley as 2nd plotter
- Leon Greene as Torturer
- David Prowse as Torturer
- Monica Dietrich as Katherine Howard
- Billy Cornelius as Guard
- Marjie Lawrence as Serving maid
- Patsy Rowlands as Queen
- Alan Curtis as Conte di Pisa
- John Bluthal as Royal tailor
- Bill McGuirk as Flunkey
- Jane Cardew as Henry's 2nd wife
- Valerie Shute as Maid
- Peter Rigby as Henry's courtier
- Trevor Roberts as Henry's courtier
- Peter Munt as Henry's courtier
Filming and locations
- Filming dates – 12 October-27 November 1970
- Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire
- Windsor Great Park
- The Long Walk, Windsor Castle
- Knebworth House
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