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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,290 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), 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 7.2/10

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Earl of Tyrone
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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

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

Details of some historical characters and events have been changed to fit the dramatic narrative. 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 Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006) 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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