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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 11 November 1939 (USA)
A depiction of the love/hate relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) (as Aeneas MacKenzie) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

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Mistress Margaret Radcliffe (as Nanette Fabares)
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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

Plot Keywords:

queen | throne | earl | ireland | hug | See All (104) »

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

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Release Date:

11 November 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elizabeth and Essex  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bette Davis (31 at the time the movie was made) was less than half the actual age of Queen Elizabeth was at the time of the events of the film. Queen Elizabeth was 63 in 1596. Errol Flynn was only one year younger than her, although Essex was 32 years younger than Elizabeth. See more »

Goofs

The movie depicts Lord Burleigh being alive at the time of Essex's insurrection in 1601 however, Burleigh died in 1598. See more »

Quotes

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex: [after being slapped hard by Queen Elizabeth I] I would not have taken that from your father the King; much less will I take it from a king in petticoats!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Elizabeth & Essex: Battle Royale (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Love's Answer
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Walter Raleigh
Sung by Olivia de Havilland (dubbed by Faith Kruger)
Lute playing dubbed by an anonymous lutist
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User Reviews

 
Excellent Flynn Performance!Davis Greatest actress!
10 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Private lives of Elizabeth and Essex has been one of my favorite films for some time and just goes to show that one should look at these old films rather than believe what the biographers and critics state without examination. I have read that Errol Flynn was poor in this film,but that is in serious error,IMO! He does an outstanding job in this role and his doomed romanticism MAKES the film what it is. There is no story if the audience does not believe in the love affair, and Flynn convinces in this category. He holds his own with Powerhouse Davis, and that is saying something(watch her chew up Henry Fonda in Jezebel for e.g.)! His naturalness and ease on screen are very appealing, and there is no one more handsome in such costumes. He seems very much the courtier and lover. Very underrated thespian-he is elite here in a difficult role. Bette's pyrotechnics are a marvelous counterpoint to Errol's subtle ways-she is the Greatest movie actress,period. And, they did have sexual chemistry in this film, despite personal antipathy. Great stuff!


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