During the sixteenth century, the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots engages in over two decades of religious and political conflict with her cousin, the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England, amidst political intrigue in her native land.
Mary Stuart, named Queen of Scotland when she was six days old, is the last Roman Catholic ruler of Scotland. Her cousin Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England and her arch adversary, has her imprisoned at age 23. Nineteen years later, Mary is executed, removing the last threat to Elizabeth's throne. The two Queens' contrasting personalities make a dramatic counterpoint to history.Written by
Mary is seen enjoying a late-morning cup of hot chocolate in bed (and even requesting it when she is a prisoner) despite this not being a popular drink in the British Isles until well into the 18th century. See more »
The story of Scotland's last Queen has been told in many versions throughout the history of cinema, and it might be thought that this one would not be that different. This is true: the major characters remain Mary herself (played by Vanessa Redgrave), and Elizabeth I of England (played by Glenda Jackson). The story progresses through her time as Queen to the sickly Francois of France, to her return to a Scotland dominated by Protestantism and regented by her brother Jamie (played by Patrick McGoohan), through her unfortunate marriage to the weak and selfish fop Lord Darnley (Timothy Dalton) and her eventual deposition following marriage to Lord Bothwell (played with charm by Nigel Davenport).
The script is a little clunky in places, and departs from the true historical record considerably in the name of drama: it is a pity that Darnley in particular is presented as rather one-note for the bulk of the time (although portrayed very well within the limitations of the script). However, Redgrave and Jackson are splendid, while Ian Holm gives a short but affecting portrayal of the doomed minstrel Rizzio.
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