The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

Approved   |    |  Biography, Drama, History


The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) Poster

A depiction of the love/hate relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.


7.1/10
4,605

Videos


Photos

  • Errol Flynn and Donald Crisp in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
  • The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
  • Bette Davis and Errol Flynn in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
  • The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
  • Bette Davis and Errol Flynn in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
  • Errol Flynn in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


7 December 2005 | arturus
10
| The Elizabeth of legend
This picture, based on Maxwell Anderson's play (written entirely in blank verse!) portrays the Elizabeth of legend, not the historical Elizabeth, in this case based on Lytton Strachey's book, "Elizabeth and Essex". In other words, this is more a theatrical than a strictly accurate presentation of the great queen and her times.

And what a presentation! Lynn Fontanne portrayed Elizabeth in the play's original Broadway run; Judith Anderson played her in the 1968 television presentation (opposite Charlton Heston!). Davis takes the part (re-written for the picture, discarding the blank verse) over the top. Her overactive, explosive performance might seem too much to some, but it definitely matches the style of the play itself, the sumptuous settings, gorgeously photographed, the historically accurate costuming, and Korngold's splashy, brilliant score, one of his best creations.

The supporting cast matches her at every turn. Even Flynn's performance, dismissed at the time as being lightweight, comes across as the ideal foil to the tempestuous, aging queen he's playing against.

Quite a treat, even after almost seventy years. Definitely of its time, but, understanding this, it can be thoroughly enjoyed.

Critic Reviews


More Like This

The Virgin Queen

The Virgin Queen

Dodge City

Dodge City

They Died with Their Boots On

They Died with Their Boots On

The Charge of the Light Brigade

The Charge of the Light Brigade

The Sisters

The Sisters

The Sea Hawk

The Sea Hawk

Captain Blood

Captain Blood

Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe Trail

Thank Your Lucky Stars

Thank Your Lucky Stars

The Old Maid

The Old Maid

It's Love I'm After

It's Love I'm After

In This Our Life

In This Our Life

Did You Know?

Trivia

This was an adaptation of the play "Elizabeth the Queen" by Maxwell Anderson. The stage production opened at the Guild Theatre in New York on November 3, 1930 starring legendary married couple Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. The play ran for 147 performances. The title of the movie was to be the same as the play, but Errol Flynn protested that he wanted his presence acknowledged in the title. The choice of "The Knight and the Lady" upset Bette Davis, and "Elizabeth and Essex" was a book title already copyrighted. "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" was chosen to fit in the motif of The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933) and The Private Life of Don Juan (1934). For several years, from the time of Errol Flynn's death until the film was issued on videocassette and began to be shown on Turner Classic Movies, the title was changed to "Elizabeth the Queen", after which it was restored to "The Private Lives...".


Quotes

Queen Elizabeth I: And when he takes you in his arms again, thank heaven you are not a queen.
Mistress Margaret Radcliffe: But I thought to be a queen...
Queen Elizabeth I: To be a Queen is to be less than human, to put pride before desire, to search Men's hearts for tenderness, and find only ambition. To cry out ...


Goofs

Essex twice compares Elizabeth to her father, speaking of Henry VIII as if from personal acquaintance, though Henry died in 1547 and Essex was born in 1565.


Soundtracks

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (Come Live With Me and Be My Love)
(posthumous 1599) (uncredited)
:yrics by
Christopher Marlowe
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Played on piano by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and sung by Nanette Fabray

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Biography | Drama | History | Romance

Featured on IMDb

See what IMDb editors are watching this month, and visit our guides to what's on TV and streaming, family entertainment, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com