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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>
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."
Historical drama from RKO about the rivalry between Mary of Scots (Katharine Hepburn) and her cousin Elizabeth I (Florence Eldridge). The film follows Mary's fight for justice from 1560 to 1587 and includes her third marriage to Bothwell (Fredric March). This film was a notorious flop when it was originally released and it had a large part in Hepburn being called box office poison. Seeing the film today it's rather amazing to see how good the film actually looks considering RKO was usually just popping out very low-budget films. There were certainly a few exceptions and this here is one of them and I'm sure many will be shocked to see how much actually went into this film. The amazing sets and costumes are one of the biggest selling points to the movie. Ford knows how to make things appear epic and he does that here with these amazing sets that make you feel as if you're at the actual locations. Many times these sets are obviously on some lot but you never get that feeling here. The costumes are another major plus as they help bring a realistic nature to the film. I'm not sure what the actual budget was on the film but it really does look just as expensive as many of de Mille's epics. Another reason the film is worth viewing is the performance by Hepburn. As a devoted atheist she really does a nice job in the role of a Catholic and her religious scenes are quite moving as she's certainly giving it her all. She's very believable in the part as you can tell she's strong enough to lead all the battles that Mary had to. That strong nature of the actress clearly shows up on the screen. March is also very good in his role, although the film could have used much more of him. I was a little Luke warm on Eldridge but after a while she started to grow on me. The supporting cast includes Douglas Walton, Frieda Inescourt, Donald Crisp and John Carradine. Carradine plays the servant Rizzo and does a pretty good job with it. We also get to hear him sing a couple songs, which I'm not sure how many times he had the chance of doing that in his long career. The biggest problem with the movie is that the story is at times hard to follow as it appears like the screenplay wasn't totally sure where they wanted to take all of the events. I think at times the story just seemed to float all over the place.
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