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The Heart of a Queen (1940)

Das Herz der Königin (original title)
| Biography, Drama | 1948 (USA)
While awaiting her unjust execution at the hands of the treacherous Queen Elizabeth I, the tragic Mary Stuart reflects at the series of cruel political machinations that set up her path to the scaffold.


Carl Froelich


Harald Braun (novel), Harald Braun (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zarah Leander ... Mary Queen of Scots
Willy Birgel ... Lord Bothwell
Maria Koppenhöfer Maria Koppenhöfer ... Queen Elizabeth I. of England
Lotte Koch ... Lady Johanna Gordon
Axel von Ambesser ... Prinz Henry Darnley
Friedrich Benfer Friedrich Benfer ... David Riccio
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur ... Jon Knox
Walther Süssenguth Walther Süssenguth ... Lord Jacob Stuart
Odo Krohmann Odo Krohmann ... Lord Morton
Herbert Hübner ... Lord Arran
Emil Heß Emil Heß ... Lord Douglas (as Emil Hess)
Karl Haubenreißer Karl Haubenreißer ... Lord Balfour
Rudolf Klein-Rogge ... General Ruthven
Anneliese von Eschstruth ... Eine der vier Marys
Ruth Buchardt ... Eine der vier Marys


As the title "The Queen's Heart" suggests, this early German black and white version of Mary Queen of Scott's eventful reign and death focuses on her emotional perception rather lyrically, with some songs, mainly by her. Starting in the Tower, awaiting and receiving her sentence to the ax from the English court, where Elisabeth I chose to remain absent in person, we flash back to Mary's arrival after a long exile at the sophisticated, splendidly hedonistic French royal court, where she was raised as a Catholic, in her people's eyes effeminate or even depraved, elegant pleasure-accustomed lady, at utter odds with the stern Scottish protestantism of John Knox as well as England's Anglicanism. No less rugged and troublesome, even turning bloody, are Mary's affairs with Lord Henry Darnley, a Scottish-born dandy favorite Elisabeth sent her, who becomes Mary's unfaithful king-consort to give Scotland a male heir, James Stewart, and with true stern Scottish Lord Bothwell, who by any means -... Written by KGF Vissers

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Biography | Drama


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Release Date:

1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Heart of a Queen See more »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film was produced during a cycle of lavish historical anti-British propaganda films made by UFA during the Nazi regime. See more »


In the first scene of the movie Maria Stuart is playing Domino. This type of dominoes which were shown in the movie (with square halves) wasn't spread in Europe until the 18th century and it was first in Italy. While there are reports that Marco Polo brought them to Europe from China in the 13th-14th century and the word "domino" was known in the 1000s, the game itself looked completely different than in the movie. See more »


Mary Queen of Scots: They can take my crown. But not my right.
See more »


Version of Pulitzer Prize Playhouse: Mary of Scotland (1951) See more »


Nur nicht dran denken, nichts soll uns kränken
Music by Theo Mackeben
Lyrics by Harald Braun
Sung by Erich Ponto
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting but flawed
9 October 2013 | by rmeyerglassSee all my reviews

Where does one start? Like all other films about Mary Queen of Scots the plot line veers dizzyingly from the actual events of her life (for example Bothwell is portrayed as her enemy whereas he was actually one of her staunchest supporters). Zarah Leander is badly miscast in the title role - she's just too old and too statuesque for the part. This is painfully highlighted in her scenes with her four Marys. They were actually chosen to be her companions and were roughly the same age as the queen. In this film she comes across as a mother hen figure or a favourite high-school teacher to a quartet of slim young lovlies. The effects of this miscasting are hard to convey to English speakers but the nearest I can come to is to imagine Joan Crawford in the role emoting as she did in Mildred Pierce. The result is one of inadvertent camp comedy especially when La Leander lays on the patient suffering act which was her trademark (especiallyin her walk to the block). The sets, though, are magnificent - wonderful fantasies on renaissance Scottish and English architecture. The costumes too are as near to accurate as possible although there are some oddities such as Darnley's natty line in weird pointy shoulder pads and mini-kilts. Could have done without the miserable dirges that they felt obliged to give Zarah to perform, but she had to sing I suppose as she was, basically, known as an operetta/musical star. As it was released in 1940 the propaganda message is as subtle as the Blitz - perfidious Albion (Queen Elizabeth 1) being horrible to poor suffering German womanhood. I was interested to see Das Hertz der Koenigin but wouldn't be in any hurry to repeat the experience.

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