The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth's life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her ... See full summary »
When Elizabeth Tudor comes to the throne, her (male) advisers know she has to marry. Doesn't she? Thus starts a decades-long political/ matrimonial game, during an age of high passions and high achievement.
During the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots; as Elizabeth's envoy is speaking how best to inform the Queen of the beheading; they are outside, in a courtyard. Contemporary accounts show that Mary's real execution took place indoors at Fotheringhay Castle. See more »
... the greatest actress of our time portraying the legendary Queen Bess. And, needless to say, Mirren surpasses herself, and in all likelihood Elizabeth I, too. What a treat this series is! The historical aspects were slightly inaccurate, as they must be when 19 years are covered, but only occasionally inaccurate and the film benevolently grants Elizabeth the faithful suitors she may never have had; Alencon seems genuinely interested in the old girl, as does Leicester, and the Essex rebellion was reduced to a spur of the moment undertaking, completely unpremeditated, so as to render the hero, the Earl of Essex, a bit purer than was the actual case.
Almost every quote we know from Elizabeth's reign (even the authentic ones) is in this admirable production. However, the film coquettishly cuts the most famous Elizabeth quote short: when Robert Cecil tells the dying queen that she must go to bed, Mirren only says: "Must?", and does not proceed to say: "Little man, 'must' is not a word to be used to princes". But the 'golden speech' is there, Elizabeth's most famous speech, marvelously punctuated by the Queen looking shrewdly at Cecil while the enthusiastic Parliament applauds, as if to say: "They bought it!"
When I browsed the cast (on IMDb, the moment I saw that the film was on), I was dismayed to find that Shakespeare was not in it, but the Bard is profusely quoted throughout the script (for instance "love is not love which alters when it alteration finds") and his beloved, long-haired patron, the Earl of Essex was truthfully revealed in his shameful betrayal of Essex when push came to shove at the trial. Even Catullus made a brief guest appearance in Latin ("Odi et amo")to set off Elizabeth's doomed love for Essex. But this will be quite enough of me exhibiting my classical education. Let it suffice that this series is an absolute must. I'll buy it as soon as it comes out for sale.
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