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
Makes the Elizabeth of History Gloriously Human--Early Half is Best.
This is well plowed ground. For years the role of England's Elizabeth I was owned by Glenda Jackson. Australian Cate Blanchett, Helen Mirren and now Anne-Marie Duff have essayed in the last ten years to portray Gloriana on the screen.
This version is more watchable, more accessible, more **alive** than any before.
Glenda Jackson was too sour and too butch--attended by a fawning and effeminate Dudley. Jeremy Irons looked like he had risen from the grave playing Robert Dudley to Helen Mirren's Elizabeth in that BBC production focusing on her middle years. Horrid is the only word to describe Ms. Mirren's appearance. The Cate Blanchett movie version tries to portray Elizabeth as a kind of early feminist--a concept that would not exist for many centuries. Dudley is squeezed into a tiny corner and hardly is a presence at all.
This production adopts as its center the long relationship between Elizabeth and Dudley. As "Robbie" Dudley, handsome, boyish Tom Hardy has swagger and sex appeal. He is not the least bit intimidated by his childhood playmate "Bess" now being the Queen. In one of this production's many telling moments, he is seen stroking the royal neck discreetly but not furtively even as Elizabeth receives the ambassador of the King of Spain. Agreed, Dudley seems to age little compared to Elizabeth, who gets older in appearance if not in demeanor. The relationship is accordingly more credible in the early parts of the series when both are in their twenties.
A few nitpicking pedants have pointed up some historical inaccuracies of a very minor nature. They in no way detract from the impact of this splendid version of history with its colorful sets, fine costumes, excellent acting and unforgettable musical score.
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