The Private Lives Of Elizabeth And Essex (1939)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

Alternate title:  Essex And Elizabeth

USA, 1939.  Warner Bros..  Screenplay by , , based on the play by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1939.

The volatile love affair between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Earl of Essex in 16th-century England is the main focus of this fascinating and gorgeously shot costume drama.  Bette Davis gives one of her most explosive performances as the iron-fisted monarch, “a king in petticoats” as Essex () refers to her when he’s in one of his more sour moods. The two had a private love affair that few knew about, but in public their sexually-charged fights were great fodder for public digestion until she finally had to execute him for treason when he was still a young man. The gorgeous costumes by Orry-Kelly practically pop off the screen in this sumptuous affair that also features Olivia de Havilland in a small role as one of Flynn’s ardent female admirers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s