Walt Disney tells how England’s Henry VIII greedily sold his teen-age sister to the King of France
KING Henry VIII’s tyranny over his six wives and two daughters has been well explored by the movies. But there was one woman in his family, his sister Mary Tudor, who finally got the best of him. Mary yearned for a “commoner” and defied Henry by fighting off the attentions of two French kings. Her contrary behavior was publicized in 1898 by Charles Major, an Indiana lawyer, in When Knighthood Was in Flower. Walt Disney has turned this romantic novel into The Sword and the Rose as his third RKO “live-action adventure” to be filmed in England. Disney’s version races through Technicolor postcard settings, enlivened with royal skulduggery and dalliance. James Robertson Justice plays Henry, and Glynis Johns his sister. Cherubic Glynis is an engaging heroine, but her sly, wispy voice gives an epigrammatic tone to lines like “You will not languish in London Tower, sir!” Richard Todd is her lover, who finally weds his English Rose over royal opposition.