About the Film
From double BAFTA nominated Writer and Director John Walsh. King Henry VIII reigned for 38 years. Young and handsome, his Court was the most colourful and extravagant in Europe. Yet this glamorous exterior partly disguised his unpredictable and savagely ruthless nature. His obsession to father a legitimate male heir led him through six marriages, to make himself Supreme Head of the English Church and to cut down those who stood in his way. Monarch is part fact, part fiction and unfolds around one night when the injured ruler arrives at a manor house closed for the season. Henry is without the power and control of his palace and is vulnerable from those around him, and from his own sanity. Henry left England financially and morally bankrupt; his collection of enemies his only constant. Even today there is a question mark surrounding his burial and possible exhumation. TP McKenna plays Henry; after starring alongside Richard Burton's Henry VIII in the epic Anne of the Thousand Days and The Charge of the Light Brigade with Jean Marsh (Upstairs Downstairs, Willow and Fatherland) playing an amalgamation of his ex-wives. Monarch unfolds on one night in the year of Henry's death, 1547. The film has been painstakingly remastered from the original 35mm colour camera negative which was discovered languishing in a film vault for nearly 20 years. Now with restored picture and remastered sound, the film experience is more vivid than ever since its original cinema release.
TP McKenna - Hidden Henry Revealed!
A sensationalist headline for a sensational performance. This small indie film is not like it other indie films, it's a costume drama for a start. A young director at the time, John Walsh took the brave step of casting older actors and some heavy weight ones at that. Jean Marsh is famed for her iconic Upstairs Downstairs role, which she created. A Hollywood career beckoned with witches, and wizards tripping off her acting lips. For the role of the most feared king of England, TP McKenna. A respected Irish actor of stage and screen, his contemporaries include, Peter O'Toole, Lawrence Olivier and Richard Burton. Ironically he would take a supporting role in Burton's own Henry VIII epic Anne of A Thousand Days.
The film has been remastered from its original camera negative and I have been honoured to have a sneak preview. Often reviewers say the film "blew them away" or "it's the best film I've seen this year". Here I'm not going to say that. But the film is a strange one. I can honestly say it left me with a very uneasy feeling, a haunting piece that seems to look into the very soul of the king of England. The performance from TP McKenna is a towering achievement, it's Olivier-esque. Sadly TP McKenna actor died in 2011, but I am sure he would approve of this revisiting of his work and in its new HD glory, is saved for future generations.