Escaping to England from a French embezzlement charge, widower Henry Scarlett is accompanied by daughter Sylvia who, to avoid detection, "disguises" herself as a boy, "Sylvester." They are ... See full summary »
Queen Elizabeth is running this show. The men in her court should be thinking about how to add to the glory of the Elizabethan Age and how to foil those pesky Spanish who got far too much ... See full summary »
William K. Howard
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 <email@example.com>
John Ford lost interest in this film early on. He didn't think the story was very strong, and didn't like the blank verse dialog. The film did not do well at the box office and Ford seldom mentioned it in conversation. Later, during filming of Stagecoach (1939), Ford harassed several actors, notably John Wayne, about their performances. As he began with Thomas Mitchell, who played Doc Boone, Mitchell reportedly said, "Just remember, I saw 'Mary of Scotland'". Ford left him alone for the remainder of the shoot. See more »
A screen caption introduces a setting as "Holyrood Castle". Properly this building, now the monarch's official residence in Scotland, is known as the Palace of Holyroodhouse sometimes shortened to Holyroodhouse or Holyrood, but never as Holyrood Castle. See more »
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."
The life story of Mary, Queen of Scots is a thoroughly engaging one. I recommend anyone who wants to know more about the history while being entertained at the same time to check out the two Jean Plaidy books, ROYAL ROAD TO FOTHERINGAY and its sequel, THE CAPTIVE QUEEN OF SCOTS - two great little novels that tell you all there is to know.
MARY OF Scotland is an all-too Hollywoodised version of the story that suffers from an exceptionally overlong running time, unfortunately. It's strange, because some parts of the production are exceptionally slow and boring, while 19 years of history is condensed into about five minutes. There are a few eventful bits but for the most part this is a drag.
The director is none other than John Ford, but despite the presence of such a cinematic luminary, he seems uninterested in the material which is lifeless as a result. Katharine Hepburn is also a disappointment as Mary herself, singularly failing to make the queen sympathetic in any way. Fredric March does what he can as Bothwell, and there are nice little roles for John Carradine and Moroni Olsen, but it's not enough.
I particularly disliked the way that some good little bits of history are omitted or simplified for no apparent reason. For instance, Douglas Walton's final scene didn't happen that way at all and much more drama could have been made of it. Instead all the focus is on the talk and its incessant and goes nowhere. The definitive story of Mary, Queen of Scots this certainly isn't.
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