Elizabeth (film)

Elizabeth (film)

Infobox Film
name = Elizabeth

caption = Original Film Poster
director = Shekhar Kapur
producer = Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Alison Owen
writer = Michael Hirst
starring = Cate Blanchett
Geoffrey Rush
Christopher Eccleston
Joseph Fiennes
Richard Attenborough
Kathy Burke
Daniel Craig
Vincent Cassel
John Gielgud
music = David Hirschfelder
cinematography = Remi Adefarasin
editing = Jill Bilcock
distributor = Polygram
Gramercy Pictures
released = 6 November, 1998
runtime = 124 min.
country = flagicon|UK
rating: = MPAA: Rated R for violence and sexuality.
language = English
budget = $25,000,000 (estimated)
gross = $82,150,642 (worldwide)
preceded_by =
followed_by = "" (2007)
website =
amg_id = 1:173470
imdb_id = 0127536

"Elizabeth" is a 1998 film loosely based on the early reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The film was written by Michael Hirst and directed by Shekhar Kapur. It stars Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes, Christopher Eccleston, and Richard Attenborough. It was the final film of acclaimed British actor Sir John Gielgud. It also stars a 12-year-old Lily Allen as a lady in waiting, Manchester United legend Eric Cantona as the French ambassador, future Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston as the Duke of Norfolk, and Daniel Craig, who would later portray James Bond, as a member of the Vatican who is heavily involved in the film's central plot.

A sequel, "" was released by Universal Studios on October 12, 2007.


In 1558, the Roman Catholic Mary I of England dies of a cancerous tumor in her uterus, leaving her Protestant half sister Elizabeth as Queen. Elizabeth had previously been jailed for a supposed conspiracy to murder Mary, but has now been freed for her coronation. The film shows Elizabeth being courted by suitors (including Henri, Duc d'Anjou, the future King Henry III of France, whom she rejects) and urged by William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley to marry, which, as he states, would secure her throne. Instead, she has a secret affair with her childhood sweetheart, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The affair is, however, no secret from Cecil - who makes clear that a Monarch has no private life (having an affair with a queen confers considerable power on the lover - all the more as it might result in pregnancy).

Elizabeth deals with various threats to her reign, including The Duke of Norfolk, a Catholic in her court who conspires to have her murdered, and the effective ruler of Scotland, Mary of Guise, who allies with France to attack England's forces. At the end of the film, Norfolk is executed for his conspiracy and Mary is assassinated by Elizabeth's advisor, Francis Walsingham.

Elizabeth permanently banishes Dudley from her private presence when she finds out that he is married; as depicted in the sequel, Elizabeth then gives up ever having sex again, feeling that such relations could give a man too much power over her. Moreover, cutting off her relations with Dudley is part of the process by which she becomes increasingly tough and assertive - in one scene she carefully prepares and rehearses the speech she would deliver to a recalcitrant Parliament and force through her religious reforms.

She also becomes capable of occasional ruthless behaviour - as in unflinchingly ordering the execution of people which she considers dangerous to her rule, as well taking up as her right-hand man the Machiavellian Walshingham, who thinks nothing of torturing people or killing with his own hands.

All this is a considerable change from the warm-hearted, rather romantic girl which Elizabeth was in the early parts of the film; remaining such would have been incompatible with being a Queen who actually ruled and dominated the men around her, and her transformation is a major theme of the film.

The film ends with Elizabeth assuming the persona of 'The Virgin Queen', and initiating England's Golden Age.

Dramatic license

The film takes many liberties with history. Among them:
*The real Robert Dudley did not betray Elizabeth, and remained a loyal subject until his death.
*Similarly, Dudley is shown in the film as converting to Catholicism when in fact he was a staunch Protestant (of the type that would later become termed as Puritan), making such conversion unthinkable.
*Kat Ashley is portrayed as being of similar age to Elizabeth, though in reality she was significantly older, having been Elizabeth's governess.
*In the film, Elizabeth appears to find out from Sir William Cecil that Robert Dudley has married, whereas in reality Elizabeth was well aware, since she attended his wedding. (While it is true that Elizabeth knew that Dudley married his first wife, Amy Robsart, and did indeed attend their wedding, she may not have known about his second marriage – to her cousin, Lettice Knollys; there are rumors she was furious when she discovered the truth. However, this was somewhat later than the events of this film.)
*In the film, Elizabeth I is courted by Henri, Duke of Anjou. The two never met in reality, as the actual proposal was for her marriage to François, his younger brother. François came to England and the proposal became a very serious prospect, although it was never fulfilled. Neither Henry nor Francois went to Scotland to meet Mary of Guise (indeed, Mary died years before the marriage proposal to Francois was even made).
*William Cecil was not even 40 years old when Elizabeth began her reign, contrary to his cinematic portrayal as elderly. He was not retired by the young queen, either. He remained one of her most trusted advisors until his death, shortly before hers. Similarly Francis Walsingham was in his mid-twenties when Elizabeth was crowned, not a middle-aged man as he was portrayed by Geoffrey Rush.
*The conspiracy of The Duke of Norfolk confuses several events into one - in the film he is arrested and summarily executed for trying to supplant Elizabeth and marry Mary Queen of Scots to cement his hold on the throne. In reality Norfolk was imprisoned in 1569 for trying to wed Mary, Queen of Scots without permission, but was eventually released. He was then involved in a separate plot in 1572 (three years later) to put Mary of Scots on the throne, for which he was then tried and executed.
*No evidence exists to support the claim that Francis Walsingham was involved in the death of Mary of Guise; she died of dropsy. Furthermore, her death occurred only a year into Elizabeth's reign, whereas many of the other events in the film occurred later, making them seem concurrent in the way they are presented.
*In the film, and as emphasised in its promotion, Elizabeth has bright blue eyes (Cate Blanchett's natural eye color); however, Elizabeth is well known for having the deep amber brown eyes of her mother, Anne Boleyn, and the bright red hair of her father, Henry VIII. Blanchett had sensitive eyes, so she was unable to wear coloured contacts for her role.
* The Spanish government, armed with massive financial resources from the New World, had many spies in Elizabethan England, and was desperate to discover evidence of Elizabeth's sex life (if any). Their failure to produce any evidence indicates that Elizabeth's lifetime virginity is one of the best attested facts of history.
*Bishop Stephen Gardiner (Terence Rigby) died before Elizabeth came to the throne, and had no part in the Ridolfi plot.
* The Earl of Arundel was not executed as shown in the film. He was kept in honourable imprisonment (in comparative luxury) with his family in the Tower of London.

Claims of Anti-Catholicism

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights accused the film of anti-Catholicism, stating that the film gives "impression that the religious strife was all the doing of the Catholic Church", noting that the "New York Times" review considered it "resolutely anti-Catholic" complete with a "scheming pope" and repeating the charge made in the "Buffalo News" that " [e] very single Catholic in the film is dark, cruel and devious". [ [http://www.catholic-league.net/catalyst.php?year=1999&month=January-February&read=709 "Elizabeth" is "resolutely anti-Catholic"] Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, January-February 1999]


*Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I of England
*Geoffrey Rush as Francis Walsingham
*Christopher Eccleston as Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
*Joseph Fiennes as Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
*Kathy Burke as Mary I of England
*Emily Mortimer as Kat Ashley
*Edward Hardwicke as Henry FitzAlan, 19th Earl of Arundel
*Daniel Craig as John Ballard
*James Frain as Alvaro de la Quadra
*Kelly Macdonald as Lettice Knollys
*Angus Deayton as Waad, Chancellor of the Exchequer
*Wayne Sleep as the dance tutor
*Richard Attenborough as William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
*John Gielgud as The Pope
*Fanny Ardant as Mary of Guise
*Vincent Cassel as the Henri, Duc d'Anjou
*Eric Cantona as Monsieur de Foix


At the 71st Academy Awards, Jenny Shircore won the Oscar for Best Makeup. The film also received six other Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Cate Blanchett for Best Actress in a Leading Role, John Myhre and Peter Howitt for Best Art/Set Direction, Remi Adefarasin for Best Cinematography, Alexandra Byrne for Best Costume Design, and David Hirschfelder for Best Music (Original Dramatic Score).cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0127536/awards |title=Elizabeth (1998) - Awards |accessdate=2007-10-15 |publisher=Internet Movie Database]

At the 52nd BAFTA Film Awards, the film won five awards. It won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film, Cate Blanchett won Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Remi Adefarasin won Best Cinematography, Jenny Shircore won Best Makeup & Hair, and David Hirschfelder won the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music. It was also nominated for several other awards: Best Film, Shekhar Kapur for Best Direction, Michael Hirst for Best Original Screenplay, Alexandra Byrne for Best Costume Design, Jill Bilcock for Best Editing, and John Myhre for Best Production Design.cite web|url=http://www.bafta.org/awards/film/nominations/?year=1998
title=Past Winners and Nominees - Film Nominations 1998

Cate Blanchett won Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama at the 56th Golden Globe Awards held in 1999. The film was also nominated for Best Motion Picture (Drama), and Shekhar Kapur was nominated for Best Director.

At the 1998 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Cate Blanchett was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.

Release, box office performance, and trivia

"Elizabeth" premiered in September 1998 at the Venice Film Festival and was also shown at the Toronto International Film Festival.cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0127536/releaseinfo |title=Elizabeth (1998) - Release dates |accessdate=2007-10-15 |publisher=Internet Movie Database] It premiered in London on October 2, 1998 and it premiered in the United States on October 13, 1998. It opened in the United Kingdom on October 23, 1998 and opened in limited release in the United States in 9 theaters on November 6, 1998, grossing $275,131.cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=elizabeth%A0.htm |title=Elizabeth (1998) - Weekend Box Office |accessdate=2007-10-15 |publisher=Box Office Mojo] Its widest release in the United States and Canada was in 624 theaters, and its largest weekend gross throughout its run in theaters in the U.S. and Canada was $3.9 million in 516 theaters, ranking #9 at the box office. [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=1998&wknd=48&p=.htm Retrieved 2007-10-15] "Elizabeth" went on to gross $30 million in the United States and Canada, and a total of $82.1 million worldwide. [cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=elizabeth%A0.htm |title=Elizabeth (1998) |accessdate=2007-10-15 |publisher=Box Office Mojo]

"Elizabeth" was filmed in exactly 45 days. Fact|date=November 2007


External links

* [http://elizabeth.frenchboard.com Elizabeth International Forum]
* [http://www.elizabeth.co.nr Elizabeth Multimedia Site]
* [http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechelizabeth.html Speech in Movie to Rival Clergy in Text and Video] from AmericanRhetoric.com
* [http://film.virtual-history.com/film.php?filmid=64 Movie stills]

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
before = "Nil by Mouth"
after = "East is East"
title = Alexanda Korda Award for Best British Film
years = 1998

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