The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth's life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her ...
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The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth's life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her years of triumph over the Armada; and finally her old age and her last, enigmatic relationship with her young protégé, the Earl of Essex. Written by
[rallying her troops to fight the Spanish]
Queen Elizabeth I:
I know that I have the body of a weak and feeble woman. But I have the heart and stomach of a king - and a king of England, too. And I think foul scorn that Spain or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm. To which, rather than face that dishonour, I will myself take up arms beside you. I will be your general and your rewarder for your virtues in the field. We know that you already deserve rewards and crowns, and we do assure...
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If you've seen Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth in the Oscar-winning movie and the great Helen Mirren as Elizabeth in the recent HBO film, it is easy enough to dismiss Anne-Marie Duff and all of "The Virgin Queen" as a distant third in the competition. Nonetheless, I thought Duff acquitted herself quite well, especially as the younger Elizabeth, and this BBC production may actually do a better job of recreating the period than the other two. In my opinion, the HBO production is the best of the three, mainly because of Mirren, but also because it is given more time to explore the history of the period than was afforded the Blanchett film. The Blanchett movie finishes second because Cate is an excellent actress and because she is surrounded by a wonderful cast. But to say that "The Virgin Queen" comes third in the race is by no means to degrade it. I enjoyed all three productions for somewhat different reasons and, contrary to those who say "enough already," we will remain immersed in this period of history (a)because it immediately follows the era recreated by Shakespeare in his history plays and (b) because it is a hinge in history, solidifying England's rejection of Catholicism and the defeat of Spain.
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