7.2/10
4,211
64 user 25 critic

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.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) (as Aeneas MacKenzie) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Sir Walter Raleigh overcomes court intrigue to win favor with the Queen in order to get financing for a proposed voyage to the New World.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Bette Davis, Richard Todd, Joan Collins
Dodge City (1939)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Texas cattle agent witnesses first hand, the brutal lawlessness of Dodge City and takes the job of sheriff to clean the town up.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Sheridan
The Sisters (1938)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three daughters of a small town pharmacist undergo trials and tribulations in their problematic marriages between 1904 and 1908.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Anita Louise
The Sea Hawk (1940)
Action | Adventure | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Claude Rains
The Old Maid (1939)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The arrival of an ex-lover on a young woman's wedding day sets in motion a chain of events which will alter her and her cousin's lives forever.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, George Brent
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A woman reporter tries to prove she's just as good as any man, but runs into trouble along the way.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Roscoe Karns
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A highly fictionalized account of the life of George Armstrong Custer from his arrival at West Point in 1857 to his death at the battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. He has little ... See full summary »

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Arthur Kennedy
Captain Blood (1935)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After being wrongly convicted as a traitor, Peter Blood, an English physician, is sent to exile in the British colonies of the Caribbean, where he becomes a pirate.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A major countermands orders and attacks to avenge a previous massacre of men, women, and children.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Patric Knowles
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge, and predictable complications result.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel
Juarez (1939)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Louis Napoleon III takes advantage of the American Civil War to circumvent the Monroe Doctrine and expand his power by helping Emperor Maximillian Hapsburg to add Mexico to his empire. of Mexico.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Brian Aherne
Biography | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A financially-strapped charter pilot hires himself to an oil tycoon to kidnap his madcap daughter and prevent her from marrying a vapid band leader.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Stuart Erwin
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Earl of Tyrone
...
...
...
Sir Robert Cecil
...
...
Mistress Margaret Radcliffe (as Nanette Fabares)
...
...
...
Sir Edward Coke
Edit

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 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 November 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elizabeth and Essex  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,075,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Bette Davis and Errol Flynn would appear together in one more film, Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943), a wartime musical with an ensemble of Warner Bros. studio stars. In the later film, Davis and Flynn have no scenes together; however, both of them go against type by performing musical numbers. Davis sings and dances in "They're Either Too Young Or Too Old," while Flynn stars in the number, "That's What You Jolly Well Get." 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: And now, may I go? This dying sticks in my mind and makes me poor company.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: The Great Stars (1963) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Queen Bette
28 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

The main interest in this 1939 film is the great performance by Bette Davis. It was a role she was born to play. Her input on the film makes it work in unexpected ways. Under the direction of Michael Curtiz, the stage play, by Maxwell Anderson, gets a great Technicolor production. The adaptation by Norman Reilly Raine and Aeneas McKenzie, works well.

The main thing is not to look for real history in this movie. We are given a fictionalized account of what Mr. Anderson thought was drama, taking dramatic license along the way. With all that into account, the film rewards the viewers splendidly.

Errol Flynn was cast as Robert Devereux for his good looks, no doubt. He offers such a contrast against the aging Elizabeth, that one wonders what could have attracted these two souls into a love both felt for one another. Mr. Flynn is not as effective here as in some of his other vehicles, where he reigned supreme. In this movie, he is totally outfoxed by a cunning Bette Davis. Both stars brought their own chemistry to the roles and it's curious that after all the years since it was released, the film still fascinates.

Olivia de Havilland plays a minor role of Penelope. It's curious seeing her in some frames with Errol Flynn, her partner in many movies where they played lovers to better effect. The supporting cast is excellent. Donald Crisp, Alan Hale, Vincent Price, Henry Stephenson, Nanette Fabray and Herny Daniell, among others, support the two stars well.

Ultimately this was one of the best films Bette Davis graced with her appearance. The film remains one of her signature creations. This Elizabeth offered her a role in which she could portray one of the strongest women in history. Ms. Davis outshines others whenever they are seen in scenes together.

Long live this queen! Long live Queen Bette!


28 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 64 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page