Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex(1939)

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939). Romantic/drama. Cast Bette Davis, and Errol Flynn. Director: by Michael Curtiz, and was based on the Maxwell Anderson play. Supporting cast: Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp, Henry Daniell, Henry Stephenson, and Vincent Price. The score was composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who later used a theme from the film. The elaborate costumes was designed by Orry-Kelly. Among the film's five Academy Award nominations was a nomination for Best Color Cinematography. Bette Davis was thought to receive an Academy Award nomination for her role; instead, she was nominated in that year for Dark Victory.

Earl of Essex returns from his battle at Cadiz to be greeted by Lady Penelope Gray and other ladies of the court and the jealousy of Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Robert Cecil. Queen Elizabeth, in love with Essex, fears his thirst for power and puts him down him for the high cost of his victory. Proud and thinking the Queen is wrong, Essex travels back to Wonstead. Francis Bacon, wants to smooth things over, suggests that Elizabeth appoint Essex Master of the Ordnance in order to stop the uprising in Ireland. To serve his country, Essex returns to court where he falls victim to Raleigh and Cecil who conspire to turn him and the queen against each other by sending Essex to Ireland against the Queens wishes.. Later his pleas for help go unanswered and facing death, he is forced to surrender to Tyrone. Unknown to either Essex or Elizabeth, Cecil, Raleigh and Penelope have been intercepting the lovers' letters, and so Essex returns to England, believing that he has been betrayed by his queen.

This has to be one of Davis best dramatic performance ever!

Fun Fact:

The sixth of nine movies made together by Warner Brothers' romantic couple Olivia De Havilland and Errol Flynn.

Donald Crisp (27 July 1882 – 25 May 1974) was an English film actor. He was also an early motion picture producer, director and screenwriter. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1942 for his performance in How Green Was My Valley.

While touring with the company in the United States and Cuba, Crisp first became interested in a career in the theatre. By 1910, Crisp, now using the name Donald, was working as a stage manager for director George M. Cohan. It was during this time he met and befriended film director D. W. Griffith. When Griffith moved to Hollywood in 1912, Crisp accompanied him.

From 1908 to 1930, Crisp, in addition to directing dozens of films, also appeared in nearly 100 silent films, though many in bit or small parts. One notable exception was his casting by Griffith as General Ulysses S. Grant in Griffith's and The Birth of a Nation in 1915. Another was his role in Griffith's 1919 film Broken Blossoms, as "Battling Burrows".

Crisp worked as an assistant to Griffith for several years and learned much during this time from Griffith. His first directing credit was Little Country Mouse, made in 1914. Over the next fifteen years, Crisp directed some 70 films, most notably The Navigator (1924) with Buster Keaton and Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925) with Douglas Fairbanks. His final directorial effort was the 1930 film The Runaway Bride starring Mary Astor.

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