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
Elizabeth I's love for the Earl of Essex threatens to destroy her kingdom.
Did You Know?
This was an adaptation of the play "Elizabeth the Queen" by Maxwell Anderson
. The stage production opened at the Guild Theatre in New York on November 3, 1930 starring legendary married couple Lynn Fontanne
and Alfred Lunt
. The play ran for 147 performances. The title of the movie was to be the same as the play, but Errol Flynn
protested that he wanted his presence acknowledged in the title. The choice of "The Knight and the Lady" upset Bette Davis
, and "Elizabeth and Essex" was a book title already copyrighted. "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" was chosen to fit in the motif of The Private Life of Henry VIII.
(1933) and The Private Life of Don Juan
(1934). For several years, from the time of Errol Flynn
's death until the film was issued on videocassette and began to be shown on Turner Classic Movies, the title was changed to "Elizabeth the Queen", after which it was restored to "The Private Lives...". See more
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
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 ...
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