Mary Stuart returns to Scotland to rule as queen, to the chagrin of Elizabeth I of England who finds her a dangerous rival. There is much ado over whom Mary shall marry; to her later regret, she picks effete Lord Darnley over the strong but unpopular Earl of Bothwell. A palace coup leads to civil war and house arrest for Mary; she escapes and flees to England, where a worse fate awaits her.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to Katharine Hepburn, during the filming of Mary and Bothwell's love scene, John Ford, rather fed up with the idea of directing a romantic costume drama written in blank verse, simply said to Hepburn, "Here; you direct this scene." And she did. See more »
This movie about events of the 16th century concludes with a rendition of THE BONNIE BANKS O' LOCH LOMOND, a song that was not published until the 19th century. Evidently the makers of this photoplay were too lazy to research the history of Scottish music in order to find a tune that actually belonged to the time of Queen Mary. See more »
Opening credits: "Like two fateful stars, Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor appeared in the sixteenth century, to reign over two great nations in the making ... They were doomed to a life-and-death struggle for supremacy, a lurid struggle that still shines across the pages of history ... But today, after more than three centuries, they sleep side by side, at peace, in Westminster Abbey."
Radiant Hepburn in overlong historical drama from Maxwell Anderson play...
The complicated historical background involved in MARY OF Scotland is such that unless you know something about British monarchs you'll have a hard time knowing where the truth lies in this epic historical romance. But it's clear that KATHARINE HEPBURN gives a radiant performance as Mary, Queen of Scots--the only drawback being that she never ages a bit over a twenty-five year span. When she goes to her execution, she looks just as young as she did in the opening scene.
It's a pleasure to report that FREDRIC MARCH breathes a lot of life into his portrayal of Bothwell. Too bad he didn't exhibit this kind of gusto when he played the title role in ANTHONY ADVERSE the same year. He's all bravado and robust athletic grace and looks good in his period costumes. Maybe we owe his strong performance to John Ford, but whatever it is, he's much better here than he was as Anthony Adverse.
JOHN CARRADINE seemed an unusual choice to play Rizzo, the Italian secretary who happens to be a troubadour of sorts, but it's nice to see him in a more sympathetic role for a change. DONALD CRISP, ALAN MOBRAY, DOUGLAS WALTON and FRIEDA INESCOURT are interesting in supporting roles.
Walton is another actor who shines here, rather than remaining colorless in the background of many a film. He gives a flamboyant performance as Lord Darnley and it's probably among the best roles he ever had.
FLORENCE ELDRIDGE makes an interesting Queen Elizabeth, less showy in the role than Bette Davis or Flora Robson but still with the right amount of regal spirit.
John Ford directs the first half of the film with his usual authority but things get a little too repetitious and slow-moving in the second half when tedium really settles in before Mary's final walk to the execution block.
Summing up: A mixed bag, some strong performances, a few strong scenes but overall result is disappointing. Here's an historical romance that cried out for Technicolor. It manages to look drab in B&W despite the lavish costumes and good photography.
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