the-private-life-of-henry-viii

8

Portrayals of Anne Boleyn (1501/1507-1536) in media:

Merle Oberon in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933)
Geneviève Bujold in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
Dorothy Tutin in The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970)
Helena Bonham Carter in Henry VIII (2003)
Natalie Dormer in The Tudors (2007)
Natalie Portman in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Claire Foy in Wolfhall (2015)

EXXJs & Accomplishing Things

Got an ask about how EJs work the system differently. Half-assed a private response and now I’m going to half-ass a public one.

History. I love it. Such a fountain of examples. Two of them are Katharine of Aragon and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, from the reign of Henry VIII.

Something you need to know about Henry – as an ESTP, he was more about living the high life than tending to actual business. Hence, why he needed Wolsey so much (and later, Cromwell… and after cutting everyone’s heads off, why everything about his reign basically imploded and went to hell. No more high Te).

Wolsey (EXTJ) started out a nobody and wound up Lord Chancellor of England. He knew how to negotiate in ways that kept England on favorable terms with other nations but also allowed them to profit financially. He kept Henry in line in terms of advising him on foreign policy and (as much as he could) keeping him out of expensive wars, which in his mind were a waste of money, resources, and human life, for no real gain. France is a classic example – how could you hold it, even if you had it; how can you supply an army, and how can you ever expect an occupied nation to embrace their conquerors? (Cromwell, another Te, also understood this.) Basically, Wolsey took care of business, he made England profitable, and he made a tidy fortune of his own in the process. But his major mistakes are inferior Fi mistakes – underestimating Henry’s lust for Anne Boleyn, and trying to get too high of taxes out of London’s merchant class, which made him unpopular.

Katharine (EXFJ) was a whole other brand of intelligence – she had people-smarts. She knew how to work them, appeal to them, and take their side in very public ways – and as a result, they adored her. They defended her. They protested for her. She spent years cultivating Henry’s image, in the process, becoming a beloved queen who they saw as caring about them – and it all came in very handy for her and backfired spectacularly for her husband when Henry tried to divorce her. All of a sudden, he realized much too late that his greatest PR person was his wife. She appealed to public sentiment and support while undermining all his schemes! He got booed everywhere he went; she got “God bless Queen Katharine!” I think Cromwell made some statement at some point that if the case were based on emotions alone, Katharine would win it hands down. Her major mistakes are inferior Ti mistakes – such as rationality in the midst of emotional turmoil and in knowing when to quit.

One of the major shared areas of influence between them was the May Day Riots. Because of anti-immigration sentiments, London erupted into violence and the royal guard arrested four hundred souls, most of which were teenage boys, sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered, since acts against foreign dignitaries and merchants in England was a treasonous offense. There is no proof of who concocted the solution but both Katharine and Wolsey were involved.

Henry pardoned the lot – after receiving very public, emotional appeals from Wolsey and Katharine. It was staged dramatics that made him out to be Extremely Merciful and earned the gratitude and loyalty of London. It prevented further riots and kept the people of London happy so they would continue to support the king and pay taxes (Te) but it also made Henry look good (Fe). Furthermore, Katharine was a foreigner and by her interceding on their behalf, despite them attacking other foreigners in the riots, she earned their unfailing gratitude and admiration (Fe) which later came in handy when London was unanimous in their support of her in the divorce.

These two later went head to head in the divorce, with Wolsey trying to remove her in order to remain in the king’s good graces, and Katharine targeting him as the source of her increasing unhappiness. Even then, Wolsey was intelligently trying to play both sides for as long as possible in order to maintain his status and influence in the event anything went wrong (Te-dom)… and Katharine convinced herself that it was all Wolsey’s idea rather than accepting Henry’s part of the blame, because she could not bear to think her husband so callous as to put her aside (Fe-dom).

Wolsey’s emphasis and interests lay in business and financing; Katharine’s were in humanitarian work and funding colleges for the education of the lower class.

Distinguishing between the two ultimately lies in – how are they accomplishing things, what is their motivation, and what are they interested in the rest of the time.

10

Favourite dead not-American actors: an Advent Calendar

Day 6: Charles Laughton 

OH GOD I really can’t express how much I adore Charles. It only took one film, and I was sold. Charles is my perfect dead-actor pub companion. This is how much I love him. I feel that there was something at least a little bit right with the world in the 30s (despite all evidence to the contrary) that someone like Charles could become a worldwide film star. I mean, he’s a ridiculously talented actor, but that’s never been at the top of Hollywood’s list for stardom. 

Just look at him. He’s irrepressible, and yes at times he wanders over into scenery chewing, when he’s not stealing scenes, or raiding the make-up box for increasingly eccentric noses or eyebrows. But underneath that surface deception, he’s a remarkably delicate actor, with a beautiful naturalness about him. Watch any of the slightly creaky films he made in the early 30s and he feels really modern compared to the other actors. He has an almost improvisational style, so that you never know what he’s going to do. Also he is excellent at Northern accents, which is a rarity even now, and uses them subtly - like giving his Javert a hint of his own Yorkshire accent, to show his working-class origins. 

At his best there is no-one to touch him, which makes his own self-doubt all the more bemusing, and sad, especially when he owns the screen whenever he’s on it, and was also a thoughtful and humane director and collaborator. One of my time-machine theatre moments would be to see Charles in The Life Of Galileo, in the 50s, which he re-wrote/co-wrote with Brecht (Brecht’s final post-war reworking of the play). I can only imagine how fabulous he would have been.

Favourite Role: Rembrandt van Rijn in Rembrandt (1936). Not the greatest film, narrative-wise, as it’s more a series of painterly tableaux (designed by Vincent Korda and shot by Georges Perinal) which evoke 17th century Holland to perfection. Charles’ Rembrandt is beautifully drawn; not only is there the great humanity one sees in the self-portraits, but he is adorable. (Also, bonus Roger Livesey as an old beggar.)  

Another good place to start: In fact, start here. Sir Wifrid Robarts in Witness for the Prosecution (1957). A perfect film, full of humour and tension with a marvellous cast, of which Charles is the best, showcasing his whole range. 

The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). Tells how King Henry VIII came to marry five more times after his divorce from his first wife.

Ah, Henry VIII. Hollywood just loves you. In some ways, I can understand why, but you really are a jerk. This film is kind of odd? It ignores Catherine completely and even skims over Anne Boleyn, deeming them uninteresting in the title cards at the start, but then failing to actually explore the queens it does cover with any sort of depth. That said, it’s shot beautifully, and Charles Laughton is pretty great as Henry VIII, lending both dignity and vulnerability to the role. 6/10.