Mary, Queen Of Scots

  • 1971
  • Movie
  • GP
  • Biography, Historical

Everyone who enjoyed Hal Wallis' production of ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS and, to a greater extent, his BECKET, eagerly awaited this film and was likely disappointed by the results of another look backward at British history. Although Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary never did meet in real life, the decision was made to give them some confrontations in the...read more

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Everyone who enjoyed Hal Wallis' production of ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS and, to a greater extent, his BECKET, eagerly awaited this film and was likely disappointed by the results of another look backward at British history. Although Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary never did meet in real

life, the decision was made to give them some confrontations in the picture. The story had been told before in a 1936 RKO film, MARY OF SCOTLAND, that starred Katharine Hepburn, was directed by John Ford, and adapted by Dudley Nichols from Maxwell Anderson's play. They should have left it there

for, although this was sumptuous and opulent, it was essentially empty. When but 9 months old, Redgrave is named queen, then raised in France by her mother's Catholic family in the middle 1500s. At 16, Redgrave marries Denning, the boy King of France, but he dies soon afterwards, and her

mother-in-law, Kath, thinks she is responsible for the young king's demise. Just as Kath is about to banish Redgrave, her royal emissary, Davenport, arrives with the news that her half-brother, McGoohan (a Protestant), has asked for her to return and take the mantle as Queen of Scotland since her

mother has died. McGoohan, however, wants the crown for himself and is in cahoots with the British Queen Elizabeth (Jackson). Redgrave decides to take the position as Queen of Scotland and sails over from France. Jackson will not allow the group in England and will not guarantee them a safe

journey, so Redgrave and company must go directly to Scotland. There they are greeted by religious prejudice from the Calvinists, led by James, and a barrage of hostility from all the other Protestants, for Redgrave is, after all, a Catholic. Redgrave is quickly ensconced on the throne and shows

herself to be a sober and intelligent queen, much to the surprise of Jackson and McGoohan. They must act fast before she solidifies her hold on the people of Scotland. Jackson sends Massey, a charming commoner who is in great favor at court, to woo Redgrave. Jackson agrees to sign a succession

document to the British throne if Redgrave marries Massey. Just in case Redgrave finds the Protestant Massey not to her liking, Jackson includes dissolute and apparently bisexual Dalton, a Catholic, in the traveling party. Things go awry when she chooses the debauched Dalton over the dashing

Massey and marries him in the face of strong protest by her advisors. Dalton's plans include taking over as king, but Redgrave is too smart for her husband, so Dalton contacts McGoohan and they conspire to take the life of the one man who has Redgrave's ear, her aide, Holm. Redgrave, now pregnant

by Dalton, manages to escape with the help of Davenport after Holm is murdered. Davenport leads a force against the rebels and defeats them. Then Dalton, who is suffering from syphilis, is killed by angry Protestant nobles who hope to pin the rap for the murder on Davenport, already a suspect in

Dalton's death because it is obvious that he is in love with Redgrave and has recently annulled his own marriage to marry her. Davenport eventually is cleared of suspicion but he has to leave Scotland to go to Europe, where he dies, insane, in a prison in Denmark. Now without her husband

Davenport, Redgrave is forced to abdicate in favor of her baby son. Redgrave goes to England and meets with Jackson, asking for help. She is betrayed by Jackson and tossed into jail, where she spends the next 18 years. Redgrave continues trying to escape and rally her Catholic supporters, who

would like to see Jackson dead, and this causes Jackson to insist that Redgrave renounce her actions and her followers or be executed. Redgrave will not and is rewarded for her stand by having her head separated from her body on Feb. 8, 1587, at Fotheringay Castle. (Note: Fotheringay is the name

H.G. Wells gave to his lead character in THE MAN WHO COULD WORK MIRACLES.) The film was nominated for five Oscars: Best Actress (Redgrave, who lost to Jane Fonda for KLUTE), Best Sound, Best Costumes, Best Score, and Best Art Direction, but it won none of those. The picture is long, beautiful, and

dull.

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  • Released: 1971
  • Rating: GP
  • Review: Everyone who enjoyed Hal Wallis' production of ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS and, to a greater extent, his BECKET, eagerly awaited this film and was likely disappointed by the results of another look backward at British history. Although Queen Elizabeth and Qu… (more)

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