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Film / Carry On Henry

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Henry VIII: Are you telling me that France will start a war if I don't bed her?
Thomas Cromwell: Wars have been fought over less, Sire.
Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell over the Queen's love of garlic

Carry On Henry is another Carry On that is an Affectionate Parody of a movie/theater piece that itself is based on historical events, much like Carry On Cleo. It stars regulars Sidney James, Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Connor, Barbara Windsor and Terry Scott who each take on historical icons in the time of the Tudor period in Carry On's parody of Anne of the Thousand Days.

Henry is another movie that relies on full-on Anachronism Stew for its Rule of Funny, giving unknown historical figures at the time a bigger role, or just mixing two separate eras to add further drama. A terrorist group work under the nose of the royal family, plotting to blow the Tudor house sky high, which was a moment in history that happened in the Stuart era — after the Tudor era.

Sid James stars as the famous English king Henry VIII, who's a womanizing sex-pest Dirty Old Man that has just gotten rid of his fourth wife for not putting out. Minutes after her execution, he marries again to Marie of Normandy (Sims), who he later regrets the decision after trying to have sex and being repulsed by her breath smelling of garlic. He issues a demand that the marriage be annulled to Thomas Cromwell (Williams) and Cardinal Wolsey (Scott) who are against it, but follow through.


The King, meanwhile, has set his sights on marrying Bettina of Windsor (Windsor), but whether or not such a marriage would be bigamous seems to be constantly changing. Sir Roger de Lodgerley (Hawtrey) is constantly accused of high treason for anything to the King's fancy and is sentenced to ludicrous punishments, while the underground extremist group led by Lord Hampton of Wick (Connor) try to bring the Tudor dynasty to an end.

Expect a Hurricane of Puns, bawdy humour, and Sid James' laugh.


Tropes Included:

  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • Henry has his fourth wife executed for not having as much sex with him as he wants, then he pawns after other women when his new wife becomes undesirable for him.
    • Cardinal Wolsey is a mild version, who brings himself to groping a servant when she serves him wine.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Because of Henry trying to avoid his wife, Queen Marie becomes sexually-frustrated, and doesn't care where (or who) she'll get her sex from. She flirts with Cromwell who accidentally knocks her out, the already aroused Wolsey, and Sir Roger who may or may not be responsible for her pregnancy.
  • Anachronism Stew: If you are a historian, you'd probably notice glaring examples.
    • Cardinal Wolsey and Cromwell are executed together in the castle grounds, but when they were accused and arrested during Henry's reign, they were actually sentenced at different times and different ways.
    • The imitation of the extremist group that want to take the Tudor family down (and had a member named Fawkes with his gunpowder plot) was from the Stuart era — after the Tudor periodnote .
    • Because of Henry's womanizing ways, the movie doesn't point out or mention whether what number wife Queen Marie is. The queen played by Patsy Rowlands in the film's opening scene is implied to be Anne of Clevesnote , Henry's fourth wife.note  However, there's a throwaway comment that Henry makes about "moving on to [talking about] wife number 4", but no other comment is said on the matter, even after he marries Bettina. Then at one point, he eyes up a new lady-in-waiting called Catherine Howard, which was the name of Henry VIII's fifth wife. Perhaps the writing department knew as much history as most of the audience.
    • Sir Roger saying, "Not on your Bonaparte!"
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Bathing in the Tudor period was really rare. Many did not believe in taking baths and some believed that it caused illness (the sewage system hadn't been improved at the time and the waste sometimes managed to slip into the water system).note  Bettina taking a bath might have been the case for some rich women, but it was an obvious shot for cheap fanservice.
    • Henry's friend Sir Thomas tells him that he's got a plan to get Bettina naked, but Henry isn't convinced, making Thomas say "there are more ways to peel a banana", but bananas wouldn't be in Britain for another hundred years.
  • Ass Shove: The Queen has been thrown into the Tower of London and asks Cardinal Wolsley to smuggle a letter out. He says he is searched thoroughly by the guards, but there is one place they don't look—he has second thoughts when the Queen produces an enormous scroll.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: In the opening credits, between the title and the cast list, there is an expository crawl claiming that a manuscript has recently been discovered by one William Cobbler claiming that Henry VIII had two more wives for a total of eight. The document was thought to be the work of Cromwell, but they now know that the story is entirely Cobbler's from beginning to end.
  • Berserk Button: Cardinal Wolsey spends the movie being calm, even though Henry throws loads of tasks at him at once, but when Cromwell calls him a "fatty" and a "lump" in a fit of rage, Wolsey almost bites his head off and nearly hits him.
  • Book-Ends: The film starts and ends with characters being beheaded: the former queen at the start, and Cromwell and Wolsey at the end. This in itself could be a Mythology Gag, since Don't Lose Your Head also began and ended with beheadings that involve Kenneth Williams's character.
  • Brick Joke: Cardinal Wolsey's dictionary confuses consummate and consume, but he claims that both words mean to "have a nibble".
    Henry VIII: No! I haven't consummated, consumed or had a nibble!
    • Much later, when the men find out that Queen Marie is pregnant, Henry realizes that he hasn't made love to her.
      Royal family Doctor: [astounded] You mean to tell me that Your Majesty hasn't—?
      Henry VIII: [reluctantly] Not so much as a nibble.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Both Wolsey and Cromwell. Wolsey is more of this because he doesn't want to report any sinful behavior to the Roman Catholic Church, who are already annoyed because of Henry's first divorce.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sir Roger.
  • The Cameo: An uncredited Peter Butterworth as the Earl of Bristol and the father of Bettina.
  • Canis Latinicus: Old family mottos are full of this.
  • The Charmer: Henry charms himself into a farmer's daughter's pants after paying her for sex.
  • Delegation Relay: An envoy from the Vatican says that while the Pope is shocked at the idea, a royal divorce can be arranged...for a price. The papal envoy is asked how much of this money is being skimmed off for his own benefit, which he indignantly denies. As the Delegation Relay brings this message to King Henry the Eighth, each person doubles the price so he can skim half the bribe for himself.
  • Dirty Old Monk: Cardinal Wolsey. He gropes a serving maid, does a lot of Verbal Backspace whenever he realises that he's used accidental innuendo and shows signs of sexual frustration. On top of this, he also shows signs of You Need to Get Laid when he becomes horny over a naked Bettina's neck, back and shoulders instead of ogling her curves and bottom like the King is.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Henry marries Marie for this reason. He is absolutely delighted all the way to the bedroom to consumate their marriage, until the new Queen ate garlic before sex.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Marie uses the the bedpan to smack Lord Hampton and his gang away after they came to arrest Henry.
  • Fun Size: Sir Roger after being put on the rack for days and becoming over six and a half feet tall.
  • Historical Domain Character: Most of the characters except for Queen Marie, Bettina and Sir Roger.
    • Cardinal Wolsey was cardinal at the time, but was later accused of high treason and sentenced to imprisonment. He died on the journey there.
    • Thomas Cromwell (or Earl of Essex) was Henry VIII's chief minister, until the annulment of Henry's fourth marriage landed him in trouble, and he was executed.
    • Hampton of Wick's partner Fawkes is probably Guy Fawkes, who plotted against King James with twelve other extremists. Given that his full name's never revealed, no one probably would've noticed.
    • Francis I of France was the number one enemy of Henry VIII, even though Francis never gave him a reason for the hatred, and even though Henry marries his cousin in this movie.
  • Hypocritical Humor: An envoy from the Vatican says that while the Pope is shocked at the idea, a divorce can be arranged...for a price. The envoy is asked how much of this money is being skimmed off for his own benefit, which he indignantly denies. As the Delegation Relay brings this message to the king, each person doubles the price so he can skim half the bribe for himself.
  • Invisible Holes: After Sir Roger has been closed in an iron maiden, he takes a drink of water, and it proceeds to spray out of the many holes in his body.
  • Iron Maiden: Sir Roger is tortured in an iron maiden to force him to make a false confession. After he's let out, he seems unharmed but when he asks for a glass of water the water sprays out of the Invisible Holes in his torso.
  • Male Gaze: Henry VIII tricks Bettina of Windsor into providing fanservice. Wolsey comments on her back, her fine neck, her shoulders...
    Henry VIII: I'm going the other way.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Henry picks up a farmer's daughter, who demands to be paid for sex. She is obviously not a prostitute, but she probably wants him to leave her alone.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Everyone, but mostly the male cast.
    • Cardinal Wolsey has two: a ceremonial one and a traveling one.
  • Not So Different: King Francis is enemies with Henry VIII (even though the hatred is one-sided on Henry's part) but it seems that they treat the wives the same way.
    Francis I: I understand your pain, Henry. Last week, I lost my beloved.
    Henry VIII: Really? I'm sorry — I didn't know. ...How did it happen?
    Francis I: It was quite quick, actually. She caught her neck in the guillotine.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sir Roger gets one when Henry reveals that Marie's baby can't be his (Henry's) own, because he hasn't been intimate with her. Guess who has...
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: The King and Bettina have this when they first meet and talk about Bettina's trip to Spain.
    Bettina: You see, there's these two things...
    Henry VIII: Oh yes. I noticed those.
    Bettina: ...They're called castanets.
    Henry VIII: Oh, that's a new name for them!
    Bettina: ...And all the time you're dancing, they keep knocking together.
    Henry VIII: Oh yes. I noticed that too.
  • Powder Trail: Guy Fawkes lays a trail of gunpowder to the kegs of gunpowder to blow up Parliament. The fuse goes out inches from the kegs, until, of course, the conspirators go close to see what went wrong. "OH FAWKES!" was the exclamation when the kegs blew up at just that moment.
  • Roll in the Hay: Henry, trying to get with a Farmer's Daughter. Unsurprisingly, they are interrupted by her father, who threatens Henry with a pitchfork, making making him try to jump over a bush in the fields, landing in manure.
  • Sex God: Sir Roger, who is a keen favourite of the Queen to the point of having it with him after making a pass to her husband fails.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: Wolsey, being the cardinal/man of the Church.
  • Take That!: Towards The Labour Party:
    Lord Hampton of Wick: Your Majesty! The Queen is in labour!
    Henry VIII: [scoffs] Don't you worry. They'll never get in again.
  • That Came Out Wrong: The King introduces a new and pretty lady-in-waiting to the Queen. Her poorly prepared speech does not reassure her about Henry's fidelity.
    Lady-in-waiting: Greetings my queen. The King has done me...
    (Shocked look from the Queen)
    King: (coaxing) This great honor.
    Lady-in-waiting: This great honor. He has made me... (forgets again)
    King: Your lady-in-waiting!
  • Unwanted Spouse: Henry VIII has a garlic loving wife he alternately wants and unwants as the political climate changes around him.
  • We Are Not Going Through That Again: Wolsey and Cromwell call for the executioner to go ahead and chop their heads off rather than help King Henry arrange yet another royal divorce.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sir Roger de Lodgerley is tortured several times after his adulterous adventures with Queen Marie, which led to her pregnancy out of wedlock. After spending a month in an iron maiden, he gives in to signing Cromwell's contract, but not before having a drink of water first, which exposes a lot of Invisible Holes in his body. He isn't seen in the movie after that, probably implying that he eventually died. If that's the case, at least Cromwell managed to get the contract signed by him before he officially kicked the bucket.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Queen Marie eventually becomes pregnant... to Henry's astonishment, since they have still not consummated the marriage. However, political considerations eventually force him to regard the child as his own. The father is Sir Roger de Lodgerley.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: Queen Marie and her liking to garlic before sex.
    Queen Marie: It is said to greatly increase one's sexual appetite.
    Henry VIII: I'm gonna let you in on something. Come the morning, you're gonna be starving.


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