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      Elizabeth the Queen

      Released Sep 27, 1939 1h 46m History Drama List
      80% Tomatometer 10 Reviews 64% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings Queen Elizabeth (Bette Davis) secretly loves the ambitious and courageous Earl of Essex (Errol Flynn), but at the same time she distrusts his desire for power, fearing he will exploit his political influence to her detriment. Though Essex's popularity soars when he returns victorious from a military campaign in Spain, Elizabeth instead chides him for prosecuting an unprofitable war. While the lovers quarrel, Sir Walter Raleigh (Vincent Price) schemes to bring about the downfall of Essex. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Critics Reviews

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      Jeremiah Kipp Slant Magazine Davis seizes every possible opportunity to make herself into a mad spectacle. Rated: 2/4 Apr 23, 2005 Full Review Josh Larsen LarsenOnFilm Davis delivers a tremulously terrifying Elizabeth... Rated: 3/4 Sep 20, 2022 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy An excellent performance by Bette Davis. Rated: 3/4 Jun 6, 2021 Full Review Mattie Lucas From the Front Row A historical epic with the heart of a character piece, and the chemistry between Davis and Flynn elevates what could have easily become a turgid spectacle. Rated: 3/4 May 18, 2021 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 3/5 Jun 14, 2005 Full Review Rory L. Aronsky Film Threat It's a war of minds and wills, but where it stands is at a point where Michael Curtiz still could direct ably, but the material wouldn't give way toward something better. Rated: 3/5 Apr 27, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Lee G Bette's portrayal of Elizabeth made me anxious. Her temperament swung wildly from loving to unhinged given a moments notice. It was glorious! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 04/14/24 Full Review Steve D The cast makes it passable. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/12/24 Full Review Audience Member The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex was a personal triumph for Bette Davis in her portrayal of Elizabeth I of England. Davis was 31 when she played the Virgin Queen at the tail end of her regime, Elizabeth herself was 65 in 1601 when the action of this story takes place. It concerns her involvement with Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex, a last foolish gesture on the part of a great monarch. Davis hated working with Errol Flynn since doing The Sisters with him a year earlier. She was quoted as saying that when she had to kiss him she'd close her eyes and pretend it was Laurence Olivier. But I think Olivier might have had trouble making Essex a hero. In point of fact he wasn't any kind of a hero. He was a vainglorious, conceited, egotistical cad of a human being who apparently only had talent in the bedroom. Now the bedroom part would have fit Flynn perfectly. But he became a military commander and leader and he bungled every job he was given. The real Essex was played like a piccolo by the other members and rivals of the Elizabethan court. His main rival in the film is Robert Cecil played by Henry Daniell. In the film he is incorrectly identified as Lord Burghley's(Henry Stephenson's)son when in fact he was a nephew. Because it's Henry Daniell and he's a clever schemer he has to be the villain. In point of fact Cecil was a patriot in the best tradition. He was very concerned in fact about Essex's military ventures that they were nothing but missions of glory. Cecil's greatest contribution to English history was to come two years later when Elizabeth died, it's due to him that there was an orderly transition from the House of Tudor to the House of Stuart. My favorite performance in this film is that of Alan Hale as Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone who led the Irish rebellion against the English at that time. What happens in court to Essex with his rivals there is nothing compared to the way O'Neill plays him. He leads him deeper into the Irish interior, using hit and run tactics and then cuts him off from his supply base. And then in surrendering O'Neill very cleverly sows the seed of more dissension by telling him what a great leader he was and the Irish could never have beaten him if he'd been backed up better from home. And Essex the rube falls for it. Another good performance is Donald Crisp as Sir Francis Bacon. He's a wily old fox used to court politics Elizabethan style. Bacon tries to give Essex some good advice none of which Essex accepts. In the end Bacon gives up on Essex and just switches sides, lest he be brought down with him. So what we have here is Bette Davis giving a great performance with a leading man she detested and Flynn trying desperately to breathe life and heroism into a character who wasn't terribly heroic. It would have defeated a better actor than Errol Flynn. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review s r Good to learn the history, but it was uncompelling. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review john m As always, Curtiz shoots his scenes phenomenally and I fall in love with his set design and Technicolor in almost all of his films. This is a chore to get through though as a story. I admire how it takes its time, but the melodrama gets so heavy that it's just too much to handle. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member This was a wonderful move. Davis is melodramatic. The Shakespearian language mandates this. Flynn as overly ambitious and slightly stupid and Davis is SUPERB as the TRAGIC Elizabeth. She is a star of this movie. I completely bought the tragedy and great pathos of Elizabeth. This is an excellent film. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Elizabeth the Queen

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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Queen Elizabeth (Bette Davis) secretly loves the ambitious and courageous Earl of Essex (Errol Flynn), but at the same time she distrusts his desire for power, fearing he will exploit his political influence to her detriment. Though Essex's popularity soars when he returns victorious from a military campaign in Spain, Elizabeth instead chides him for prosecuting an unprofitable war. While the lovers quarrel, Sir Walter Raleigh (Vincent Price) schemes to bring about the downfall of Essex.
      Director
      Michael Curtiz
      Producer
      Hal B. Wallis
      Screenwriter
      Norman Reilly Raine, Æneas MacKenzie
      Production Co
      Warner Brothers/Seven Arts
      Genre
      History, Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Sep 27, 1939, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Sep 1, 2009
      Runtime
      1h 46m
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