A Bloody Rivalry for the Throne, This kind of Time With Margot Robbie
Those gowns. of which hair. of which world-shaping geopolitical intrigue. In “Mary Queen of Scots,” which opens Dec. 7, a pair of Renaissance frenemies returns. Mary Stuart, a queen of Scotland in addition to fleetingly queen consort of France, in addition to her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, were rivals for the English throne. (Mary in addition to her Catholic supporters thought so, anyway.) Some early letters suggest a warm relationship — Elizabeth signed one “a dear sister in addition to a faithful friend.” however Elizabeth eventually had Mary imprisoned. When evidence of an assassination plot surfaced, she had her beheaded.
“of which’s been a notorious story for centuries,” said Beau Willimon (“House of Cards,” “The Ides of March”), who wrote the script for the most recent film. “You see these two women against the planet in addition to because of the politics of the time, ultimately against one another.”
Most versions of the story picture Mary as passionate in addition to heedless, Elizabeth as chilly in addition to calculating. A floozy in addition to a virgin, each studded with pearls. This kind of fresh movie, which stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary in addition to Margot Robbie as Elizabeth, tries to complicate of which narrative. In rethinking a familiar story, This kind of “Mary Queen of Scots” is actually also exploring what stories we still tell about women in power — what a woman can in addition to can’t do, what she can in addition to can’t be.
“The important thing to me was to look at these women who are so iconic in addition to try to work out what of which iconography means through our position right right now,” Josie Rourke, the film’s director, said. She began to prepare the movie, her first, during the 2016 presidential election when those questions seemed particularly urgent.
For Ms. Ronan, who has been attached to the movie for six years, of which’s a chance to show Mary as both a ruler in addition to a woman, “filled with doubts in addition to flaws, strengths in addition to virtues.”
Even in its most diminished or reductive form, This kind of queenly twofer has inspired plays, operas in addition to dance dramas, in addition to especially movies in addition to television shows. of which even prompted an early use of cinematic special effects, perhaps the first, courtesy of the Edison Laboratory’s 1895 film, “The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots,” in addition to its unconvincing dummy. Here are a few filmed versions of which made the cut in addition to a guess at which queen they knelt to.
‘Mary of Scotland’ (1936)
This kind of handsome RKO film, directed by John Ford in addition to adapted through Maxwell Anderson’s blank verse drama, hit the box office like a dud cannon ball. Katharine Hepburn, helplessly luminous, plays Mary with the clipped consonants, straight-backed posture in addition to limited emotional range of a Boston debutante. Florence Eldridge is actually a tetchy Elizabeth, jealous of Mary’s beauty in addition to legitimacy. Douglas Walton’s Lord Darnley, Mary’s second husband, is actually coded as queer, while Fredric March’s Earl of Bothwell is actually an early modern macho man in kilts. Shot in opalescent black-in addition to-white, the movie tries to sculpt Mary along protofeminist, flapperesque lines. “I’m going to live my own life!” she says. “I refuse to marry! I’m going to begin to be myself!” History had additional ideas.
This kind of lathery adaptation, directed by Charles Jarrott for the producer Hal B. Wallis, stars a blonde Vanessa Redgrave as a swoony Mary in addition to Glenda Jackson as a carnivorous Elizabeth. Timothy Dalton, also blond, plays Lord Darnley as a sexually fluid lush; Ian Holm co-stars as a doomed confidant. A mess of galloping horses, billowing nightgowns in addition to blaring bagpipes, the movie earned 5 Oscar nominations. Writing from the fresh York Times, Vincent Canby called the film, “an exceptionally loveless, passionless costume drama.” The script, by John Hale, takes some nearly treasonous liberties in addition to engineers a pair of meetings between the women. Its simplistic reading of the queens — Mary is actually weak in addition to womanly, Elizabeth is actually stern in addition to unfeminine — is actually complicated by the force of both actresses.
‘Elizabeth R’ (1971)
Low-budget, in addition to relatively low melodrama, This kind of faithful 1971 BBC mini-series again stars Glenda Jackson as Queen Elizabeth. (If the stomacher fits….) The fourth episode, “Horrible Conspiracies,” centers on an imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots in addition to the revelation of her plots. The two- in addition to three-character scenes are claustrophobic, the acting expansive in addition to chewy. While the script keeps the two women apart, back-to-back scenes emphasize both the stark differences between the queens in addition to the subtler similarities — Elizabeth, while vicious, is actually reliably shrewd, Vivian Pickles’s Mary is actually flightier, however also canny in addition to self-aware. “Know of which I am a creature of impulse, seldom thinking before I act, driven on by passions,” she tells the spy Gifford. “This kind of is actually my alchemy in addition to I rejoice in of which.”
Advantage: Elizabeth, by a ruff
‘Gunpowder, Treason & in addition to Plot’ (2004)
from the first episode of This kind of blood-soaked, casually misogynistic BBC mini-series, written by Jimmy McGovern, a blond, teenage Mary (Clémence Poésy) arrives in Scotland worryingly out of her depth. Her taste in men? The worst. This kind of Lord Darnley (Paul Nicholls) is actually a murderous drunk in addition to a rapist. Kevin McKidd’s Earl of Bothwell condescends to her in addition to insults her, however she seems to like of which. If most adaptations fan flames between the queens, there are no sparks here. This kind of childishly wily Mary is actually a very damp match for Catherine McCormack’s pitiless Elizabeth in addition to her aureole of fabulous, if anachronistic, hair. This kind of Elizabeth seems particularly enraged by the contrast between Mary’s fertility in addition to her own childlessness.
In This kind of opulent, Emmy-winning HBO mini-series, Helen Mirren’s glimmering, faceted performance emphasizes both Elizabeth’s majesty in addition to her vulnerability, suggesting her political dominance comes at a personal cost. She contrives a secret meeting with Mary, in part to stave off a war with Spain, in part to rescue a woman she calls “my sister.” In contrast to the usual portrayals, Barbara Flynn’s matronly Mary is actually as confident in addition to imperious as her cousin, if not nearly as well appareled. Elizabeth, lonely in her power, is actually conscious of their shared blood in addition to history; she suggests a likeness: “We are both prisoners of the time, you in addition to I.” Mary, under arrest for nearly 19 years, isn’t buying of which. “Both prisoners?” she asks. Her death, a death Elizabeth orders, devastates the queen.
‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’ (2007)
from the second part of This kind of lavish historical diptych, directed by Shekhar Kapur, Cate Blanchett’s extravagantly powdered in addition to coifed Elizabeth nimbly navigates an uncertain political landscape. A momentary stumble is actually Samantha Morton’s brittle, bitchy Mary: “They call her the Virgin Queen,” Mary says of her cousin. “Can of which be of which no man will have her?” Rawr. Mary’s story is actually only one strand in a busy brocade of which has, as Manohla Dargis wrote from the Times, “almost as many mood shifts in addition to genre notes as the queen has dresses.” Elizabeth concerns herself with Mary’s fate only briefly. Of course they don’t meet. The Spanish Armada is actually somewhat more pressing. however in sentencing Mary to death (did she also sentence Mary to of which mouse ears hairstyle?), Elizabeth recognizes her own mortality. of which’s never nice to be reminded of which queens are human, too.
Ruff-clutchingly ahistoric, This kind of four-season CW series retold Mary’s story with couture gowns, a folk-rock soundtrack in addition to the occasional supernatural sex scene. The series began with the wide-eyed arrival of a brunette Mary (Adelaide Kane) to the French court in addition to spiraled feverishly through there. Why so much sorcery? Why so many headbands? The second-season finale introduced Rachel Skarsten as Elizabeth, Mary’s foil, a woman who made choices in addition to sacrifices of which Mary couldn’t. Before of which relationship could deepen, an early cancellation meant the finale had to skip ahead two decades. Despite its history-as-slumber-party vibe, the show sometimes tried for a more complicated portrayal of how women grasp in addition to hold power.