Queen Elizabeth I
Bette Davis also played the Tudor Queen twice. Her first portrayal was in the film
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939). Errol Flynn once again played the courtier,
this time Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, whose love for the Queen is not enough to stop him seeking power.
A convincing portrayal of Elizabeth from this great actress, and the real life tension between Flynn and Davis
added chemistry to their onscreen performance.
Davis's second portrayal was in the film The Virgin Queen (1955). This tells the story of Sir Walter Raleigh, played by Richard Rodd. A young Joan Collins stars as Raleigh's wife, Bess Throckmorton.
The Virgin Queen on IMDb
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex on IMDb
Jean Simmons starred as a teenage Elizabeth in the 1953 film Young Bess. This film was adapted
from the novel of the same name by Margaret Irwin. Simmons's husband, Stewart Granger, played the impetuous Thomas
Seymour, Lord High Admiral, and Deborah Kerr played Catherine Parr. It is an unashamedly romantic interpretation
of the controversial relationship between Elizabeth and Seymour.
Young Bess on IMDb
Jean Simmons on IMDb
Irene Worth played Queen Elizabeth in Seven Seas to Calais (1962). Set in the Armada years,
it tells the story of Sir Francis Drake (played by Richard Todd) who not only succeeds in conquering the seas, but in
winning the heart of the Virgin Queen herself.
Seven Seas to Calais on IMDb
Irene Worth on Wikipedia
Judith Anderson played the Queen in a 1968 American series called Elizabeth The Queen.
Again, the Queen's tumultuous relationship witb the Earl of Essex was the focus. Charlton Heston played the doomed Earl.
Elizabeth The Queen on IMDb
Judith Anderson on Wikipedia
Glenda Jackson perhaps proves herself the greatest of the screen queens in the wonderful BBC
series Elizabeth R (1971). This six part series chronicles Elizabeth's life from the reign of her brother,
Edward VI, until her death in 1603, and remains the best ever dramatistion of the Queen's life. Not only does Jackson give
a powerful portrayal of the Queen, but the scripts are well written and historically accurate.
No other series, to date, has recreated the Elizabethan world as faithfully. There are also strong performances from
Robert Hardy, as The Earl of Leicester, and Ronald Hines as William Cecil.
When the series was first broadcast, the scripts were published in a single volume, edited by J. C. Trewin, Plays of the year special, Elizabeth R. The book is now out of print, but copies are sometimes available from used books shops.
Jackson repeated her performance as Elizabeth in the 1971 film Mary, Queen of Scots. Vanessa Redgrave played Mary Stuart. This film isn't as historically accurate but is well acted and produced.
Elizabeth I tribute stamp sets signed by Glenda Jackson are available from Buckingham Covers.
Elizabeth R on IMDb
Mary, Queen Of Scots on IMDb
Glenda Jackson on Wikipedia