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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

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:

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Release Date:

11 November 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elizabeth and Essex  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,075,000 (estimated)
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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

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

Essex twice compares Elizabeth to her father, speaking of Henry VIII as if from personal acquaintance, though Henry died in 1547 and Essex was born in 1565. See more »

Quotes

Queen Elizabeth I: ...the necessities of a queen must transcend those of a woman.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic (1990) 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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