A superbly acted costume drama, ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS recounts the story of Henry VIII (Richard Burton), who, in 1526, discards his wife, Katherine of Aragon (Irene Papas), in favor of the younger, prettier Anne Boleyn (Genevieve Bujold), who soon proves to be as crafty and ruthless as her sovereign. Resisting Henry's incessant advances, insisting that any child born to them must be decreed legitimate, Anne plays her cat-and-mouse game for six years, while Cardinal Wolsey (Quayle) collapses into ineffectual senility when he fails to have Anne's marriage to another annulled. Only the Iago-like Cromwell (John Colicos) solves the king's dilemma by precipitating a break with the Vatican, naming Henry head of the Church of England, and dispensing with any religious controls over his or Anne's marital status. Although the union produces a daughter, Henry later seizes upon the birth of a stillborn son as an excuse to abandon his queen and and woo the attractive Jane Seymour (Lesley Paterson). After that Anne's days are numbered--one thousand, to be exact. Based on the 1948 Maxwell Anderson play (a star vehicle for Rex Harrison on Broadway), ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS has a touch of soap opera which helps explain its then-substantial gross of $7 million. But it also boasts lavish sets and handsome photography, an arresting performance by Burton--the epitome of the royal fox and oaf--and well-judged work from Bujold, Papas, and Quayle, all of which make for a rousing, bawdy, and often enlightening historical film. A successful entry in a series of such features made during the 60s, including BECKET (also produced by Wallis), A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, and THE LION IN WINTER, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture but lost to John Schlesinger's gritty, contemporary MIDNIGHT COWBOY.