Who’s the Real Boleyn?

The Other Boleyn Girl‘s a ripping yarn: not real history,” writes historian Antonia Fraser in The Guardian, commenting on the movie that opens on Friday. In addition to pointing out the movie’s historical inaccuracies, she notes some howlers from earlier films (apparently, Genevieve Bujold playing Anne in Anne of a Thousand Days exclaims, “Oh Henry, you great big royal booby!”) and talks about what makes a film rise “to the heights of the Great Historical Movie.”

As to source material for the film, she says “Obviously you can’t expect a film taken from an historical novel [Philippa Gregory’s book of the same title] to be accurate since historical novelists, by definition, are using their imagination. ” And, indeed, the book itself has been challenged for inaccuracies (Wikipedia’s entry outlines the variations from historical fact).

She also mentions George MacDonald Fraser’s (author of the Flashman series) 1988 book (now out of print), The Hollywood History of the World, in which he contrasts history as shown in films with what actually happened.


The Hollywood History of the World:

From One Million Years B.C. to Apocalypse Now

  • Paperback Reprint
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 2, 1989)
  • ISBN-10: 0449904385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449904381

All of this is good fodder for book clubs and RA discussions.

Sony Pictures and Simon and Schuster are running a book club contest. The ultimate prize is a trip to London and an event with The Other Boleyn Girl author, Philippa Gregory.

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