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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  11 November 1939 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 3,455 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 25 critic

A depiction of the love/hate relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.

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(screen play), (screen play) (as Aeneas MacKenzie) , 1 more credit »
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Title: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Henry Stephenson ...
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James Stephenson ...
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Mistress Margaret Radcliffe (as Nanette Fabares)
Ralph Forbes ...
Robert Warwick ...
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Sir Edward Coke
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Storyline

This period drama frames the tumultuous affair between Queen Elizabeth I and the man who would be King of England, Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. Ever the victor on the battlefield, Devereux returns to London after defeating Spanish forces at Cadiz. Middle-aged Elizabeth, so attracted to the younger Devereux but fearful of his influence and popularity, sends him on a new mission: a doomed campaign to Ireland. When he and his troops return in defeat, Devereux demands to share the throne with the heir-less queen, and Elizabeth, at first, intends to marry. Ultimately sensing the marriage would prove disastrous for England, Elizabeth sets in motion a merciless plan to protect her people and preserve her throne. Written by IMDb Editors

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Elizabeth I's love for the Earl of Essex threatens to destroy her kingdom.


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 November 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elizabeth and Essex  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Errol Flynn and Bette Davis disliked each other, and when Elizabeth slaps Essex in front of the entire court, Davis hauled off and unexpectedly belted Flynn for real, during a dress rehearsal, a blow that brought stars to his eyes. Flynn described in his biography that he had decided that if Davis hit him during filming, he would have to hit her back. However, she did not actually hit him in the take that ended up in the final version of the film. See more »

Goofs

The real Robert Cecil was small and had a curved spine, and was one of Queen Elizabeth's chief counselors, not the supercilious character portrayed in this film, or in Maxwell Anderson's original play. The queen would affectionately refer to him as "my dwarf". He is more accurately portrayed in the TV miniseries Elizabeth I. See more »

Quotes

Queen Elizabeth I: And when he takes you in his arms again, thank heaven you are not a queen.
Mistress Margaret Radcliffe: But I thought to be a queen...
Queen Elizabeth I: To be a Queen is to be less than human, to put pride before desire, to search Men's hearts for tenderness, and find only ambition. To cry out in the dark for one unselfish voice, to hear only the dry rustle of papers of state. To turn to one's beloved with stars for eyes and have him see behind me only the shadow of the executioner's block. A queen has no hour for love, time presses, and ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Between Two Worlds: Erich Wolfgang Korngold (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (Come Live With Me and Be My Love)
(posthumous 1599) (uncredited)
Written by Christopher Marlowe
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Played on piano by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and sung by Nanette Fabray
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Chemistry between distinct poles
24 July 2005 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie when I was a child in Mexican black and white TV. Now it has been released in DVD in Spain by Divisa(2005) It is clear that true history is absent in most of the historic events related to the story. Essex was actually married to Penelope Rich (and not Gray, as in the movie), which meant nothing to his relationship to the queen. The meeting with Ireland's clan chief Tyrone was thought alright as treason, but when Essex entered London no one rouse with him. He passed a lot of time in his house, far from London, before the Queen made any decision on his final destiny... also Briton's uniforms in Ireland look Spanish...etc. The strange thing is that the story itself, as told by Curtiz, functions well. Davies is great ( a little bit overacting, but, who cares?), as the uncommon woman Elizabeth must have been. She did'not want Flynn to play the part: she asked for Laurence Olivier, but I sincerely think Flynn gave the necessary gaiety and spirits Essex would have had in reality, and Olivier would have spoiled that by his well known acting excesses, playing dark and severe where there should be light and superficial. Both, Davies and Flynn, seem profoundly in love and hate. Constanty driving in and out from and to love and politics. I would'not say this is a great movie, but it's worth while seeing it! (Excuse my English, I write better in Spanish)


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