IMDb > Mary of Scotland (1936)
Mary of Scotland
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Mary of Scotland (1936) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Dudley Nichols (screen play)
Maxwell Anderson (from the play by)
View company contact information for Mary of Scotland on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 August 1936 (USA) See more »
One of the greatest love stories of all time... brought to the screen in throbbing glory by a wonderful cast of stars! See more »
The recently widowed Mary Stuart returns to Scotland to reclaim her throne but is opposed by her half-brother and her own Scottish lords. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
"I prefer to stand, symbolically" See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Katharine Hepburn ... Mary Stuart

Fredric March ... Bothwell
Florence Eldridge ... Elizabeth Tudor
Douglas Walton ... Darnley

John Carradine ... David Rizzio
Robert Barrat ... Morton
Gavin Muir ... Leicester
Ian Keith ... Moray
Moroni Olsen ... John Knox
William Stack ... Ruthven

Ralph Forbes ... Randolph

Alan Mowbray ... Throckmorton
Frieda Inescort ... Mary Beaton

Donald Crisp ... Huntly
David Torrence ... Lindsay

Molly Lamont ... Mary Livingstone
Anita Colby ... Mary Fleming

Jean Fenwick ... Mary Seton
Lionel Pape ... Burghley
Alec Craig ... Donal
Mary Gordon ... Nurse
Monte Blue ... Messenger
Leonard Mudie ... Maitland
Brandon Hurst ... Airan
Wilfred Lucas ... Lexington
D'Arcy Corrigan ... Kirkcaldy
Frank Baker ... Douglas
Cyril McLaglen ... Faudoncide
Doris Lloyd ... Fisherman's Wife
Robert Warwick ... Sir Francis Knollys
Murray Kinnell ... Judge

Lawrence Grant ... Judge
Ivan F. Simpson ... Judge (as Ivan Simpson)
Nigel De Brulier ... Judge (as Nigel de Brulier)
Barlowe Borland ... Judge
Walter Byron ... Walsingham
Wyndham Standing ... Sergeant-at-Arms
Earle Foxe ... Earl of Kent
Paul McAllister ... du Croche
Lionel Belmore ... Fisherman
Gaston Glass ... Frenchman
Neil Fitzgerald ... Nobleman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Anthony ... Man (uncredited)
John Blood ... Man (uncredited)
Al Bridge ... (uncredited)
Tommy Bupp ... Boy in Boat (uncredited)
David Clyde ... (uncredited)
Hallam Cooley ... (uncredited)
Harvey D'Roulle Foster ... Man (uncredited)
Jean De Briac ... Man (uncredited)
Jerry Frank ... (uncredited)

Bud Geary ... (uncredited)
Douglas Gerrard ... (uncredited)
Hilda Grenier ... Woman (uncredited)
Winter Hall ... (uncredited)
Halliwell Hobbes ... Man (uncredited)
Robert Homans ... Jailer (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Soldier (uncredited)
Maxine Jennings ... Woman (uncredited)
Jean Kircher ... Prince James (uncredited)
Judith Kircher ... Prince James (uncredited)
Fred Malatesta ... Man (uncredited)
G.L. McDonnell ... Man (uncredited)
Wedgwood Nowell ... Queen Elizabeth's Majordomo (uncredited)
John Pickard ... Soldier Dueling Bothwell (uncredited)
Father Raemers ... Man (uncredited)
Robert Ryan ... (uncredited)
Leslie Sketchley ... (uncredited)
Wingate Smith ... (uncredited)
Pat Somerset ... Mary's Majordomo (uncredited)
Harry Tenbrook ... One of Queen Mary's Guards (uncredited)
John Tyke ... Man (uncredited)
Billy Watson ... Fisherman's Son (uncredited)
Bobs Watson ... Fisherman's Son (uncredited)
Niles Welch ... Man (uncredited)

Directed by
John Ford 
Leslie Goodwins (uncredited)
Writing credits
Dudley Nichols (screen play)

Maxwell Anderson (from the play by)

Mortimer Offner  contributing writer (uncredited)

Produced by
Pandro S. Berman .... producer
Original Music by
Nathaniel Shilkret 
Cinematography by
Joseph H. August (photographed by)
Jack MacKenzie (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Van Nest Polglase 
Costume Design by
Walter Plunkett 
Makeup Department
Mel Berns .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Louise Sloane .... hair stylist: Ms. Hepburn (uncredited)
Production Management
Bert Gilroy .... unit manager (uncredited)
Louis Shapiro .... unit manager (uncredited)
Charles Stallings .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Edward Donahue .... assistant director
Art Department
Carroll Clark .... associate art director
Darrell Silvera .... set dresser
Sound Department
Hugh McDowell Jr. .... recordist
Denzil A. Cutler .... sound recordist (uncredited)
George Marsh .... sound edit (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Vernon L. Walker .... photographic effects (as Vernon Walker)
Camera and Electrical Department
Louie Anderson .... grip (uncredited)
Ernest Bachrach .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Jane Loring .... editorial associate
Robert Parrish .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Maurice De Packh .... orchestrator (as Maurice de Packh)
Nathaniel Shilkret .... musical director (uncredited)
Max Steiner .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Other crew
Jack Bond .... stand-in: Fredric March (uncredited)
Patricia Doyle .... stand-in: Katharine Hepburn (uncredited)
Idalyn Dupre .... stand-in: Frieda Inescort (uncredited)
Georgia French .... stand-in (uncredited)
Hermes Pan .... choreographer (uncredited)
Meta Stern .... script clerk (uncredited)
Bill Worth .... stand-in: John Carradine (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
123 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Victor System) (as R C A Victor System)
Argentina:13 | Australia:G | Finland:S | UK:U | USA:Approved (PCA #2052) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

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 »
Revealing mistakes: When an overzealous Bothwell pulls at the window bars of his cell, the prop bars move.See more »
Moray:I have only followed my conscience.
Mary, Queen of Scots:I hope you have one.
See more »
Movie Connections:


How does the movie end?
Is "Mary of Scotland" based on a book?
Why was Mary of Scotland considered to be the "rightful queen" of England?
See more »
14 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
"I prefer to stand, symbolically", 7 February 2009
Author: Steffi_P from Ruritania

There was something of a fad for Tudor-period dramas in the late 1930s, although Mary of Scotland is something of an overlooked picture in the careers of Katherine Hepburn and John Ford. The star and director went on to have an on-off love affair, although this was the only occasion on which they worked together.

Mary of Scotland has the look that is typical of Ford's RKO features. It's often forgotten that Ford was a director who liked to work with space, shape and light, usually manifested in a sharp contrast between the indoor and outdoor worlds. Here the contrast is between the palace of Elizabeth – light, open and filled of straight lines and symmetry – and the castle of Mary – small, shadowy and made of rough curves. At first glance this seems to imply that the Scottish setting is grimmer and more confined, but for Ford these cosy spaces with layers of shadows were also about honesty and simplicity – see for example the compositions he makes in The Informer or The Fugitive. Those two pictures were also made at RKO, and their expressive look is testament to the fact that although the studio might not have had much money it did have a strong and open-minded production design team, something Ford took advantage of when he could.

By this point, few Ford films would be complete without the sing-song scene, and there is an especially fine example in Mary of Scotland. Ford never made an out-and-out musical in his career, but the way he uses singing as an emotional backdrop is remarkable. Here, the song sung by the peasants as they march into the castle begins as a simple yet effective expository device – demonstrating where the people's loyalties lie – but then the scene moves onto another level. Ford isolates one singer, then cuts to a rare close-up of Hepburn. The beauty of the music provides a backdrop to her emoting. It is in such moments that Ford's direction is at its strongest.

This was perhaps an important breakthrough role for Hepburn, whose parts until now had mostly been as teenagers or young women. This is her first real adult role and she handles it well, albeit with one or two touches of uncertainty when she is required to act "queenly". She does however manage the task of humanising the queen, more so than the screenplay would seem to allow. Unfortunately her leading man, the normally excellent Fredric March, is rather bland here. It's a real treat though to see John Carradine in a role where he really gets to show his more sensitive side. Because of his looks, not to mention his creepy voice, the character actor generally landed villainous roles, but he was actually at his best playing good guys.

One oft-repeated story regarding this production – although it varies a little depending on who's telling it, so pinches of salt at the ready – is that Hepburn and Ford disagreed over the necessity of Mary and Bothwell's final scene together on the tower top. Ford thought it a pointless bit of soppiness, Hepburn said it was the most important scene in the script. Eventually a flippant Ford challenged Hepburn to direct it herself, which she did. The scene stands out because Hepburn actually shoots it with some romantic tenderness – something Ford hardly ever did – with lengthy close-ups and rhyming angles. You can see why Ford didn't like it; he tended to downplay the love themes in his pictures, and on top of that the scene is rather heavy on dialogue. Hepburn was right though – without this scene the romance between Mary and Bothwell would be little more than a subplot, and without the romance the film wouldn't work. Audiences would find it hard to empathise with a queen clinging onto her throne, but easy to sympathise with a woman separated from the man she loves.

Mary of Scotland was not really Ford's cup of tea, and it was his rather cavalier approach to interpreting a screenplay that spoiled a fair few of his pictures (even though it won him the admiration of the auteurists). This picture is only saved by his use of music, the proficiency of the RKO crew and of course the good judgement of Katherine Hepburn. Nevertheless, I can't help but love Ford's laid-back realism. In one scene, we see a dog barking crazily at men entering a room; in another a moth flutters about John Knox's head. How many other directors of that era would have kept those takes?

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