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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (27-Sep-1939)

Director: Michael Curtiz

Writers: Norman Reilly Raine; Aeneas MacKenzie

From a play by: Maxwell Anderson

Music by: Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Keywords: Drama, Biography

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Leo G. Carroll
25-Oct-1892 16-Oct-1972 Waverly on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Donald Crisp
27-Jul-1880 25-May-1974 Silent film actor, survived into talkies
Henry Daniell
5-Mar-1894 31-Oct-1963 British-American character actor
Bette Davis
5-Apr-1908 6-Oct-1989 All About Eve
Olivia de Havilland
1-Jul-1916   Gone With the Wind
Nanette Fabray
27-Oct-1920   Caesar's Hour
Errol Flynn
20-Jun-1909 14-Oct-1959 Robin Hood
Ralph Forbes
30-Sep-1896 31-Mar-1951 The Hound of the Baskervilles
Alan Hale, Sr.
10-Feb-1892 22-Jan-1950 The Adventures of Robin Hood
Vincent Price
27-May-1911 25-Oct-1993 Master of the macabre
Henry Stephenson
16-Apr-1871 24-Apr-1956 The Prince and the Pauper
Robert Warwick
9-Oct-1878 6-Jun-1964 Alias Jimmy Valentine


Bette Davis   ...   Queen Elizabeth
Errol Flynn   ...   Earl of Essex
Olivia de Havilland   ...   Lady Penelope Gray
Donald Crisp   ...   Francis Bacon
Alan Hale, Sr.   ...   Earl of Tyrone
Vincent Price   ...   Sir Walter Raleigh
Henry Stephenson   ...   Lord Burghley
Henry Daniell   ...   Sir Robert Cecil
James Stephenson   ...   Sir Thomas Egerton
Nanette Fabray   ...   Mistress Margaret Radcliffe
Ralph Forbes   ...   Lord Knollys
Robert Warwick   ...   Lord Mountjoy
Leo G. Carroll   ...   Sir Edward Coke


Review by anonymous (posted on 22-Jul-2005)

Rarely are there four star movies. But it is possible if you rate a movie for what it is and not for what it lacks. A superb cast, a great director and a wonderful musical score highlight a film that deals in love, war, and political intrigue. I ask that you look at the cast and tell me how one mobilizes that kind of acting firepower today. The closest I have seen in recent movies is the Tom Cruise movie where he plays a Naval attorney with Jack Nicholson as the villanous Marine General (A Few Good Men). But the tension between Davis and Flynn carries over to the big screen in a way that makes this movie consistently move towards an ending that is not quite so predictable. Bette Davis is moving as the strong queen. Flynn is himself as the brash, conquering hero who thirsts for power. Who else but Flynn always appears to look comfortable in Elizabethan clothes? Michael Curtiz does a wonderful job of assembling these actors and producing a great movie. His directing resume is formidable, at best. While he and Flynn never really got along, he knew how to deliver the finished product, as witnessed by The Adventures of Robin Hood and Casablanca. And the Korngold score is magnificent. He goes on to use certain bars of this music in The Sea Hawk, but that's acceptable. It is HIS music. But the into where Flynn returns to the castle triumphant from victory has outstanding music, as does the confrontation with Tyrone (Alan Hale) and the finale with him going to the death. Period movies don't appear to come off as well these days. But back in the Golden Age of Hollywood, they appeared to be a genre that prospered. Maybe now is the time to reconsider that genre of movie again. This is a movie that stands on its own and serves as part of the collection of movies that made Flynn the Elizabethan Indiana Jones of his time. Davis cements her image as a woman who can portray Queen Elizebeth in her sleep. She IS-no offense to Dame Flora Robson- the Queen until she gets to star in The Lady Eve. And Korngold lets you know that John Williams' music came from somewhere. For it is Korngold who brings the idea of complex composition to movie music. His label of "The Last Prodigy" by writer Brendan Carroll is most deserved. Turner Classic Movies shows the movie from time to time and this movie works well for television. Isn't it about time we started giving Flynn his due as an actor? See the doggone movie!

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