6.4/10
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25 user 21 critic

Mary of Scotland (1936)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 28 August 1936 (USA)
The recently widowed Mary Stuart returns to Scotland to reclaim her throne but is opposed by her half-brother and her own Scottish lords.

Directors:

John Ford, Leslie Goodwins (uncredited)

Writers:

Dudley Nichols (screen play), Maxwell Anderson (from the play by)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Katharine Hepburn ... Mary Stuart
Fredric March ... Earl of Bothwell
Florence Eldridge ... Elizabeth Tudor
Douglas Walton ... Lord Darnley
John Carradine ... David Rizzio
Robert Barrat ... Norton
Gavin Muir ... Leicester
Ian Keith ... James Stuart - Earl of Moray
Moroni Olsen ... John Knox
William Stack William Stack ... Ruthven
Ralph Forbes ... Randolph
Alan Mowbray ... Throckmorton
Frieda Inescort ... Mary Beaton
Donald Crisp ... Huntly
David Torrence ... Lindsay
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

History called her "The Temptress"! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 August 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mary, Queen of Scotland See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System) (as R C A Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Queen Elizabeth I: You were born too close to my throne.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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."

ENGLAND See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Radiant Hepburn in overlong historical drama from Maxwell Anderson play...
16 October 2007 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

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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