As the weeks tick away on Motion History, it's been incredibly hard to resist tackling the Tudors, especially my red-haired namesake and idol, Elizabeth I. While I will put off Elizabeth a bit longer -- and may possibly just have to do some enormous, all-encompassing feature on her various biopics -- I can't resist Henry VIII and his ill-fortuned wives. It's been especially hard because people keep asking me to tackle Showtime's The Tudors, which I can't do, because they're in the domain of our friends at TV Squad. However, I can do the next best thing: The Other Boleyn Girl.

I'm both fascinated and frustrated with the flurry of interest in the Tudors. For a sterile dynasty (they tapped out early), they continue to thrill and obsess historians and Hollywoodians. While Henry VIII has always been a popular topic for films on screens big and small, I don't think there's ever been such an ongoing enthusiasm for his lusty appetites. Anne of a Thousand Days had the topic all to itself in 1969; it didn't have to compete with a bodice-ripping television show, and a cottage industry of romantic potboilers delving into the inner life of this queen or that mistress. As I said, it's both maddening and intriguing. As someone who likes tracking the historiography of subjects, it's fun to theorize why the Tudors are so ridiculously popular in the 21st century. As a historian, it's annoying because no version can ever resist gilding what's already an incredibly passionate, terrifying, and bloody lily of a story.

But we'll get to that.
categories Columns, Cinematical