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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recently viewed: "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex"

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Wow, another great movie from 1939!  Bette Davis plays Queen Elizabeth, who must deal with her love for the Earl of Essex (Errol Flynn) and his desire to rule England (either along side her, or alone).  Davis was only 31 here, and plays the much older Elizabeth through makeup (shaving her eyebrows and hairline) and actions.  Flynn plays the much younger Earl (though he was only a year younger than Davis) as hot tempered and eager to achieve military fame.

Like many movies around historical figures, this one plays loose with facts (painting the Earl much more favorably, and adding in a conspiracy preventing Elizabeth and Essex from receiving each other letters) but the acting is marvelous.  The interior scenes are great, with the color being very vivid, but the exterior battle scenes are clearly on a sound stage and suffer a bit.

This DVD version is one of the "Warner's Night at the Movies" designed to stimulate a typical movie night from the time.  We get a preview (Davis in Dark Victory), a Newsreel, a musical short ("The Royal Rodeo") and a Chuck Jones directed cartoon ("Old Glory" with Porky Pig).  It makes for a fun viewing experience.

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