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.
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Sir Walter Raleigh gains audience with Queen Elizabeth I and soon wins her over to his way of thinking. He wants ships to sail and make a name for England. A young ward of the court, Beth Throgmorton, is strongly attracted to Raleigh and returns the attraction. But soon the Queen shows her desires and he bends in order to achieve his goal of ships. But still he loves Beth. Written by
Well made, but I must admit that I don't like films like this...
It's funny, but although I am a retired history teacher and generally love historical films, I HATE stagy costumers like "The Virgin Queen". I find them to be stilted and doubt if they come close to capturing the historical figures they claim to portray. Now this doesn't mean that an Elizabethan story cannot work for me--I love, for example, "Sea Hawk"--mostly because it's not stuck in a royal court for most of the film. That sense of adventure makes the court scenes watchable--but here in "The Virgin Queen" it's all pretty dull.
In this film, once again Bette Davis plays Elizabeth. Years earlier she played a younger version of this lady in "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex". Here, she's back and instead of playing against Essex, her paramour is Sir Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd). The effect of Davis with the young, handsome and vigorous Todd is a bit necrophilic--though in real life, it was probably pretty much the same. The film finds Elizabeth to be highly autocratic and petulant (again, a lot like the real Elizabeth). Much of the film consists of Elizabeth behaving as if she's got 10 in-grown toenails. Her mood becomes a lot worse when Raleigh marries a pretty young lady-in-waiting (Joan Collins) and Raleigh falls into disfavor with the Queen. It's full of this and other sorts of intrigues--some of which is actually just a bit interesting. The problem is that all the really interesting parts of Raleigh's life are ignored or barely explored--such as his abortive attempt to colonize America at Roanoke, his expeditions to find the mythical city of El Dorado and his eventual imprisonment and execution during the reign of James I. Instead, it's all talk, talk, talk--and quickly becomes tedious. When SOME action does occur, it's really too late for me. I'd already become bored with the whole thing.
While I didn't like the film very much, I give it a 5 simply because of its high production values. The costumes and sets are first-rate and look really nice in color and the actors try their best with the material they are given. Historically inaccurate and dull...it lacks the fun of "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" or "Blackadder II".
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