Mary of Scotland (1936)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  28 August 1936 (USA)
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Reviews: 21 user | 16 critic

The recently widowed Mary Stuart returns to Scotland to reclaim her throne but is opposed by her half-brother and her own Scottish lords.


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(screen play), (from the play by), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Florence Eldridge ...
Douglas Walton ...
Robert Barrat ...
Gavin Muir ...
Ian Keith ...
Moroni Olsen ...
William Stack ...
Frieda Inescort ...
Mary Beaton
David Torrence ...


Mary Stuart returns to Scotland to rule as queen, to the chagrin of Elizabeth I of England who finds her a dangerous rival. There is much ado over whom Mary shall marry; to her later regret, she picks effete Lord Darnley over the strong but unpopular Earl of Bothwell. A palace coup leads to civil war and house arrest for Mary; she escapes and flees to England, where a worse fate awaits her. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


History called her "The Temptress"! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 August 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mary, Queen of Scotland  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System) (as R C A Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both Ginger Rogers and Bette Davis were interested in playing Elizabeth. Director John Ford wanted Tallulah Bankhead for the part, but Florence Eldridge. Fredric March's real-life wife, won the part See more »


When Rizzio is stabbed, no blood is visible on the dagger, on him, or on the bed linens. See more »


Bothwell: Dark or bright, I'll always follow your star, Mary.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "Like two fateful stars, Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor appeared in the sixteenth century, to reign over two great nations in the making ... They were doomed to a life-and-death struggle for supremacy, a lurid struggle that still shines across the pages of history ... But today, after more than three centuries, they sleep side by side, at peace, in Westminster Abbey." See more »


Referenced in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Academic biography based on the tragic figure of the sixteenth century, Mary Quen of Scotland
29 October 2007 | by See all my reviews

This is a good costume-designing , historic-drama and Katherine Hepburn is well cast in the title role . She plays a tragic , romantic heroine that contends with various treacheries . Mary (1516-1558) inherited the throne of Scotland from Jacob V . She was next in line to the English kingdom , and married Francisco II , king of France , but he died early . Having been in France for thirteen years , Mary returned Scotland , and arrives from France with some misgivings . Then , Mary disembarks in Leith and goes to a castle near Edimburg , along with David Rizzio (a cadaverous John Carradine) , court musician and confidant . There , she's received by his brother , the Earl James Stuart , (Ian Keith) . Later on , Queen Mary married a foppish named Lord Darnley (Walton) . But Mary falls in love with Bothwell (a stylish Fredric March) , a kilted Earl and her supporter in her battle for power . Then , Rizzio was reputed to be the father of Mary's , the future James I of England . Darnley , with some underlings , murdered Rizzio in Mary's presence . But Darnley is killed by an explosion in his refuge , outskirts Edimburg , and the God-fearing Calvinists led by John Knox (Moroni Olsen who played same role in stage) accused to Bothwell as regicide . John Knox and the rebels Lords besiege Holyrood and the Borthwell's stronghold , Dumbar castle . The Calvinists forced her abdication , Mary escapes and asks for protection to Queen Elizabeth I (Florence Eldridge) , but Mary is double-crossed and is taken imprisoned in the Tower of London . Although supposedly Mary and Elizabeth never met face to face , the movie have them doing so and the screen crackle when both have their reunion , because they are strong rivals for power in Tudor dynasty , England . After that , Mary confronts her English accusers at court in a stylized trial . Finally , the film reflects splendidly when Mary goes to beheading block with all due pomp and circumstance .

The motion picture is finely performed by Katharine Hepburn, in spite of this she was in her ¨box-office poison¨ days , the last scenes , where Mary confronts trial is so well played and photographed in a stylized manner -with Mary on the floor and judges in a sort of balcony- by cameraman Joseph August . However , the picture is interminable and overlong and some moments is frankly boring . Writing credits with excessive speeches by Maxwell Anderson (his own playwright) and Dudley Nichols , a Ford's habitual screenwriter . The picture is lavishly produced by Pandro S. Berman , an usual costumer's producer and professionally directed by John Ford . Followed by a remake with the same title (1971) with Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth and directed by Charles Jarrott .

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