The Virgin Queen (1955)

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The Virgin Queen (1955) Poster

Sir Walter Raleigh overcomes court intrigue to win favor with the Queen in order to get financing for a proposed voyage to the New World.

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  • Joan Collins in The Virgin Queen (1955)
  • Bette Davis in The Virgin Queen (1955)
  • Bette Davis in The Virgin Queen (1955)
  • Bette Davis in The Virgin Queen (1955)
  • The Virgin Queen (1955)
  • Bette Davis and Richard Todd in The Virgin Queen (1955)

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24 January 2010 | Bunuel1976
| THE VIRGIN QUEEN (Henry Koster, 1955) ***
16 years after portraying Queen Elizabeth I in Michael Curtiz's THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX (1939), Bette Davis donned the garments of the fiery British monarch once more for this fine (if largely unhistorical) costumer about another tumultuous relationship of hers – with Sir Walter Raleigh (here played by the late Richard Todd, who died just the other day aged 90). Although Davis unsurprisingly dwarfs the rest of the participants in the acting stakes, she is still surrounded by a most able cast that also includes Joan Collins (as one of Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting who, much to the latter's chagrin, becomes Mrs. Walter Raleigh and is carrying his child), Herbert Marshall (as the long-suffering Chancellor of England), Robert Douglas (as Elizabeth's villainous chief adviser), Dan O'Herlihy (as, controversially, an Irish lord and Raleigh's best friend) and Jay Robinson (as Douglas' reptilian henchman). There are some good lines (especially when Davis and Todd indulge in verbal sparring), two good fight sequences both involving Todd (a vigorous swordfight in a tavern at the start and an animated fistfight with Douglas towards the end), a serviceable score from Franz Waxman and, as is to be expected from a Grade-A studio product, the film is very handsome to behold (the costume designers nabbed its sole Oscar nod).

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