The early life of Elizabeth I, from her childhood until her accession to the throne of England in 1558.The early life of Elizabeth I, from her childhood until her accession to the throne of England in 1558.The early life of Elizabeth I, from her childhood until her accession to the throne of England in 1558.
- character name as title
- king edward vi character
- king henry viii character
- queen elizabeth i character
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Charles Laughton is good, if somewhat hammy, as King Henry VIII. His deathbed scene takes forever.
Deborah Kerr is OK as the rather frail Katharine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII; she looks too healthy and pretty to be ill. Apparently, she's afflicted with a dread disease that leaves her looking lovely, with perfect make-up, not a hair out of place and in soft focus, while it kills. Actually, Parr died in childbirth after becoming immediately pregnant with Thomas Seymour's child after her marriage, while her four year marriage to Henry produced no offspring. This rather puts to bed (pardon the saying) Henry's affirmation that Henry was virile and sexually active up to his death. But I digress. Stewart Granger's Thomas Seymour is appropriately heroic and apparently gifted with second sight. It's too bad he wasn't gifted with two heads.
Simmons is very good in the title role. Her voice has the commanding tones of one accustomed to being obeyed, and she convincingly ages from around ten to age 25. She is the best part of the film.
Director George Sidney uses a subtle and effective trick to get the viewer on Simmons' side. In her scenes, the furniture is immense (in one scene, she sits in a chair that is twice her size), suggesting that Bess is dwarfed by the events taking place around her.
The film received well deserved Oscar nominations for Best Art Direction and Costumes. "Young Bess" is a good showcase for Simmons' acting talents.
- Jun 25, 2017