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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex Overview:

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) was a Biographical - Drama Film directed by Michael Curtiz and produced by Hal B. Wallis and Robert Lord.

Academy Awards 1939 --- Ceremony Number 12 (source: AMPAS)

AwardRecipientResult
Best Art DirectionAnton GrotNominated
Best CinematographySol Polito, W. Howard GreeneNominated
Best Music - ScoringErich Wolfgang KorngoldNominated
.

BlogHub Articles:

Watching 1939: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

on Apr 19, 2018 From Comet Over Hollywood

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them.?As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, tha... Read full article


The Essential Films of 1939: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

By Amanda Garrett on Mar 23, 2015 From Old Hollywood Films

Good Queen Bess (Bette Davis) fall for ne'er do well Errol Flynn in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. The Director: Michael Curtiz. The Stars: Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Source Material: The play, Elizabeth the Queen, by Maxwell Anderson. Olivia de Havi... Read full article


The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

By Beatrice on Feb 21, 2014 From Flickers in Time

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex Directed by Michael Curtiz Written by Norman Reilly Raine and Aeneas MacKenzie based on the play by Maxwell Anderson 1939/USA Warner Bros. First viewing/Netflix rental The quote, picture, and clip probably say more about the quality of this fictionalized cost... Read full article


Classic Films in Focus: THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX (1939)

By Jennifer Garlen on Nov 5, 2012 From Virtual Virago

Directed by Michael Curtiz, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) offers as much Technicolor pomp and spectacle as one could hope for in a lavish Warner Brothers costume drama, as well as the stars to match. Bette Davis rules the screen as Elizabeth I, but her court boasts luminaries as di... Read full article


Classic Films in Focus: THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX (1939)

By Jennifer Garlen on Nov 5, 2012 From Virtual Virago

Directed by Michael Curtiz, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) offers as much Technicolor pomp and spectacle as one could hope for in a lavish Warner Brothers costume drama, as well as the stars to match. Bette Davis rules the screen as Elizabeth I, but her court boasts luminaries as di... Read full article


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Quotes from

Queen Elizabeth I: And when he takes you in his arms again, thank heaven you are not a queen.
Mistress Margaret Radcliffe: But I thought to be a queen...
Queen Elizabeth I: To be a Queen is to be less than human, to put pride before desire, to search Men's hearts for tenderness, and find only ambition. To cry out in the dark for one unselfish voice, to hear only the dry rustle of papers of state. To turn to one's beloved with stars for eyes and have him see behind me only the shadow of the executioner's block. A queen has no hour for love, time presses, and events crowd upon her, and her shell, an empty glittering husk, she must give up all the a woman holds most dear.


Queen Elizabeth I: ...the necessities of a queen must transcend those of a woman.


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Facts about

Bette Davis (31 at the time the movie was made) was less than half the actual age of Queen Elizabeth was at the time of the events of the film. Queen Elizabeth was 63 in 1596.
This was an adaptation of the play "Elizabeth the Queen" by Maxwell Anderson. The title of the movie was to be the same, but Errol Flynn protested that he wanted his presence acknowledged in the title. The choice of "The Knight and the Lady" upset Bette Davis, and "Elizabeth and Essex" was a book title already copyrighted. Thus the final unwieldy title was used. The stage production opened at the Guild Theatre in New York on November 3, 1930 starring legendary married couple Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. The play ran for 147 performances.
Bette Davis had originally wanted Laurence Olivier for the role of Lord Essex, claiming that Errol Flynn could not speak blank verse well. She remained extremely upset about this through the entire filming, and Flynn and Davis never worked again together in a film, but according to Olivia de Havilland, she and Davis screened the film again a short while before Davis's stroke. At film's end, Davis turned to de Havilland and declared that she had been wrong about Flynn, and that he gave a fine performance as Essex.
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Best Music - Scoring Oscar 1939





















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Also directed by Michael Curtiz




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Also produced by Hal B. Wallis




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