“ Genre: Drama / Theatrical Release: 1998 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Shekhar Kapur / Actors: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes, Richard Attenborough ... / DVD released 2007-10-22 at Universal Pictures UK / Features of the DVD: PAL „
Elizabeth divided audiences on release. Some thought it fantastic, a visual delight and excellent historical recreation of the Tudor Court. Others could not look past a story riddled with historical inaccuracies. Still others simply could not get over the fact that an Indian Director could tell the story of the Golden Age of England better than their English counterparts.
There is no doubting the ambition of Elizabeth. It covers the early period of her reign, when she was under constant threat of execution from her half-sister, the Catholic Mary Tudor. It examines the tangled mess that was Elizabeth's personal life, her long-term relationship with Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, the many plots that were fomented against at home and abroad, and her struggle to impose at least outward religious unity on her realm to avoid the wars of religion that were tearing other European nations apart.
Tackling so many issues whilst remaining watchable was always going to be a real challenge. Yet, Director Shekhar Kapur manages it by making Elizabeth a film not about politics, but about people. For Kapur what matters is not so much who the various characters in this drama were but what made them tick. The film gets behind the mask of monarchy to try and give the audience a better idea of the real Elizabeth I.
Kapur is helped in this by a mesmerising performance from Cate Blanchett. Snobs at the time scoffed at the idea that an Australian could do justice to England's greatest monarch. Yet with hindsight, Blanchett makes the part so much her own that it's now difficult to imagine how anyone else could have been cast in the role. Her performance is nuanced and complex. At times, Elizabeth is little more than an immature, frightened girl; yet at other times, she is more than capable of driving through her will against those of her councillors. Thanks to Blanchett's careful performance, it's easy to see how clever Elizabeth was; playing off friends and enemies against each other, showing mercy where this would benefit her, being ruthless when this offered the best protection. It would have been all too easy to portray Elizabeth either as a simpering little girl or a as an assured monarch straight from the start, but Blanchett avoids this pitfall. Elizabeth's strength is that she is both of these, and neither.
Blanchett is helped by a superb array of co-stars who deliver performances that are just as compelling. Geoffrey; Rush's spymaster, Francis Walsingham, is chillingly ruthless and calculating, yet dogged in his determination to protect his Queen; Richard Attenborough is excellent as trusted advisor William Cecil, whilst Christopher Eccleston (as the Catholic Duke of Norfolk) is on fine devious form. If anyone lets the side down, it's Joseph Fiennes as Elizabeth's (possible) lover The Earl of Essex. Whatever you might think of him, Essex was a consummate politician, courtier and staunch ally to Elizabeth. Fiennes' performance reduces him to little more than a pretty boy barely capable of remembering his own name.
Elizabeth is not always the easiest of films to follow because Elizabeth doesn't always tread a conventional narrative path. It leaps around, looking at one aspect of court life here, before shifting to another there, then focussing on another elsewhere. At times, the focus is very much on Elizabeth Tudor as a person; at other times as a Queen. The same is true of many other characters who all have a dual nature - loyal subjects who genuinely believe the removal of their monarch is the only solution; faithful friends who nevertheless conspire to marry Elizabeth off against her wishes in order to secure the realm; foreign ambassadors who seek to exploit the naïve monarch, whilst retaining a soft spot for her refreshing honesty.
It's this element which really makes Elizabeth. It might be riddled with historical inaccuracies, but this is almost irrelevant. What Elizabeth successfully recreates is the tone of the Tudor court where everyone smiles at everyone else, whilst secretly stabbing them in the back and fighting for scraps of power. It perfectly captures the intrigues, politics, friendships and rivalries that the skilful Elizabeth (as she grew into her role) encouraged and exploited.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the strong visual identity. Rarely has a film captured the Tudor period so effortlessly and so well. Nor is this just a simple matter of using the right locations (although this certainly helps). It's what's done to these locations that really matter. Some elements of Tudor England are deliberately low key, almost squalid looking; others are visually sumptuous, designed to impress a sense of awe on the beholder and convey the power and authority of the monarch. Director Kapur recreates these images so well that they could almost be the result of in-depth historical analysis.
Certainly, some of the similes are a little overwrought, particularly towards the end where the idea of the Virgin Queen as a replacement for the Virgin Mary is overplayed. It's a link few of her subjects would have made at the time, and even fewer would have accepted if they had.
Elizabeth might be riddled with historical inaccuracies and play fast and loose with the real history, but in this case, it doesn't matter. It's the overall impression, the overall tone which feels so right and makes you more than willing to overlook them and buy into this as one interpretation of the reign of possibly England's greatest monarch.
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Running time: approximately 124 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2013
Cate Blanchett in a BAFTA and Golden Globe winning role (also nominated for an Oscar) as Elizabeth I. A good cast including Daniel Craig, Joseph Fiennes, Richard Attenborough, Eric Cantona and several other leading British actors.
The film was written by Michael Hirst who went on to create and write the television series The Tudors about the life of Henry VIII. A similar style of writing is in evidence here but the significant events that give the television drama such bite are few and far between here.
Overall, the film has a good story, though patchy in places. The intrigue in the drama is how Elizabeth resolves the religious issue at the beginning of her reign with little or no help aside from the shadowy figure of Walsingham, played by Geoffrey Rush, who returns to England on the death of Mary having been labelled a Protestant heretic. Rush is a bit lacklustre (not a patch on his Captain Barbarossa role in the Pirates of the Caribbean films), especially as he is such a pivotal character in the story.
As Elizabeth is courted by France and Spain for marriage and who attempt to take advantage of the religious divide in England, she tries to balance her own religious beliefs and her belief in one god to create some form of unity in the country.
Christopher Ecclestone appears too. He plays Norfolk a staunch ally of Queen Mary. He starts off with a bite in wanting to defend the catholic faith from heretics to end up almost with a whimper when he doesn't get things his own way. Like the story he was a bit patchy.
A solid film that I was interested in having watched The Tudors, overall 7/10, it's a bit short on action so if you're not a big history buff probably worth giving a miss.
My daughter is learning about the Tudors at school and when I saw this on Sky I recorded it and watched it together. I love watching films about this period of history and knew that this version of events had a particularly well respected cast.
***What's It All About?***
This film covers the life of Elizabeth just before she became queen after her sister Mary dies and goes into the first few years of her reign. It starts off with the worrying time for Elizabeth, when one minute she thinks she is close losing her life for treason, to being crowned queen the next. It also depicts the religious troubles at that time and the struggle between a country torn between Catholics andProtestants. It also tries to introduce other key characters that were important at this time, such as Mary of Guise, her advisors and her relationship with Robert Dudley.
(And what a fantastic one it is!)
Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth I
Geoffrey Rush - Sir Francis Walsingham
Christopher Eccleston - Duke of Norfolk
Joseph Fiennes - Robert Dudley
Richard Attenborough - Sir William Cecil
Fanny Ardant - Mary of Guise
Eric Cantona - Monsieur de Foix
Vincent Cassel - Duc d'Anjou
Kathy Burke - Queen Mary Tudor
John Gielgud - The Pope
Daniel Craig - John Ballard
The film also has parts for Lily Allen and Wayne Sleep to name just a couple of well known names that played a minor part.
Directed By Shekhar Kapur
I have to borrow my son's phase here and say that the acting was 'top notch'! I couldn't fault anyone. Of course, Cate Blanchett was extremely strong portraying the transformation of innocent young princess to a regal and serious queen who learned how to get down to the business end of things when required. Her slight mannerisms brought to life a monarch as a person; a person with great responsibilites and worries. She had great presence and was totally believable as this important monarch.
I was also impressed with Geoffrey Rush, who played Walsingham as a cunning, yet totally controlled schemer, when it came to advising Elizabeth. It shows what a good actor he is, because he was totally unrecognisable from the part he went on to play in Pirates of the Caribbean. Although he was rarely violent, he was clearly a man to be feared.
Christopher Eccleston was also fabulous as the mighty Norfolk; again he was convincing as a stately man who obviously despised Elizabeth and all that she stood for. A definite change for him compared to Dr Who.
The other actor who stood out for me was Joseph Fiennes, who perfectly captured the special romantic interest that Elizabeth was said to have with Robert Dudley. He went on to star in Shakespeare in Love and can be currently seen as one of the leads in Flashforward.
The music captured the Tudor times well, with plenty of strings and brass instruments used to good efftect. There was also authentic music used from the tme to accompany dances, which was very well done.
This film was shot in various locations across England from Northumberland to Derbyshire. The shots included plenty of green and pleasant countryside and I particularly liked the shots of York Minster. It really reflected England at this time I felt. It provided a majestic backdrop to her coronation and I loved seeing all the nooks and crannies where all the courtiers plotted and schemed against her.
I really loved this film; practically everything about it and wish that I could have seen it on the big screen. My only grumble is the factual inaccuracies. Yes, it is great to bring a subject like this to life and interpret characters as you thought they might have been, however why oh why do they have to mess with the facts. It is not as if there is not enough juicy events to put in as they stand. For example, Norfolk was shown to be colluding with Mary of Guise, yet historically it is her daughter, Mary Queen of Scots who he tried to plot with. Also the film starts off with Elizabeth carefree, consorting with Robert Dudley; yet it is thought that the two of them first met in the Tower of London.
So a word of caution, if you like facts, then reading around the subject a little before you view it, will help you understanding and possibly increase your enjoyment of the film as a whole.
Costumes and sets were exquisite; they perfectly captured this Tudor period and you imagined that this is how things might have been. There were some unusual editing stategies used, which were most effective. Silence and flashes of light were used to emphasis the importance of Elizabeth being presented with the ring that meant she was now monarch.
Overall, this film worked on so many different levels, however I would have liked to see it toned down just a little so that a 12A certificate could have been given, as I think that children can have stories from this time brought to life, to add meaning to what they are taught in school.
The script was well written and the film went at a pace that was both easy to follow, yet kept you engrossed. I think it is a challenge to keep the attention of an audience when the events of this time are common knowledge. This film managed this easily and I think made you thank your lucky starts that you did not live through this time, whether you were rich or poor!!
The film was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, but only came away with 1, for best make-up, which was a shame really. Both my daughter and I enjoyed watching this together.
If you like historic films, then I can recommend this film for plenty of intrigue and excellent performances - just beware of the artistic license!
Certificate - 15
Running time - 124 minutes
Studio - Univeral Pictures UK
This dvd is available from Amazon for only £4.98 which I think is a bargain for a film that can be watched more than once. Alternatively if you have access to Sky it is aired quite frequently.
Lushly directed by Shekhar Kapur, Elizabeth has stood the test of time ten years on. It tells the tale of Elizabeth's formative years from her time in the tower - up until she becomes 'The Virgin Queen'.
One thing that hinders the film significantly is some of the cameos. What was the point of having Eric Cantona in it for goodness sake? The fact that he would never have been chosen for the part now just shows how the director was just trying to pull in the punters. It doesn't quite end there however because there's also Angus Deayton!
That aside, theres some great performances as well. Christopher Ecclestone puts in a good show, as does Richard Attenborough. Oh yes - and there's new Bond Daniel Craig as an evil monk - who would have thunk back then?
Cate Blanchett does well as the Virgin Queen. She plays the naïve young Queen who eventually grows into a feared character in the court very well. Watching her performance though you cannot help by thinking of other actresses who have played the same character - Glenda Jackson and Helen Mirren. But then she is playing the same character, but differently and sensitively. I've seen her in better since though - Notes on a Scandal (she had a better English accent in that one) and
The film looks good. Its lavish and sumptuous but at the same time its brutal and realistic. History never looked this good when I was at school! I look forward to watching the recent sequel quite soon.
Elizabeth is an Academy Award-winning based upon the early reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It stars Cate Blanchett as the Queen, Geoffrey Rush as Walsingham, Joseph Fiennes as Robert Dudley, Christopher Eccleston as Thomas Howard, and Richard Attenborough as William Cecil. Eric Cantona also had a minor part.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age is the sequel to this film.
The film opens with the death of Mary I (Bloody Mary), in 1558. We then are given a glimpse of the new Queen hearing this news beneath an Oak tree as tradition dictates. From here the film follows the story of Elizabeth's Strugggle's with being a woman in a mans job. As she says in her most famous speech she made, "I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a King of England too!"
The film shows how she tries to overcome the privy chamber with help from Walsingham and how she chooses her own path in finding a suitor for husband, and how, as history chooses, she'd rather she didn't and so became The Virgin Queen.
Cate Blanchette is superb as Elizabeth I had helps to portray the characters feelings and emotions magically. For which she duly received an Oscar nomination. The film also received 5 other nominations including Best Makeup Best Picture, Best Art/Set Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Music.
The accompanying music in the film is terrific and helps create the feelings of the scenes. The strings melodies are terrific! The films script is expertly written and the ending is simply masterful with Elizabeth taking on the mantle that she is so widely famous for, The Virgin Queen, with her pale chalked white skin and frizzy ginger hair. All credit to Blanchette and Makeup.
The film will be loved by many but many will find it boring and not wish to sit through the 118 minutes. However those that do find the period interesting or do like the films will marvel at this film at the way the characters are knitted together and history and fiction walk hand in hand.
I recommend this film to anyone who has enjoyed such films as the Other Boleyn Girl and Mrs Brown.
Elizabeth is far superior to Elizabeth: The Golden Age with its originality and focusing on Elizabeth's lesser known stories and exploits, rather than the more widely known stories of the Armada and feud with Spain.
Simply put the film is brilliantly orchestrated and is a must have in any decent film collection. Stay clear if you only like comedy's or thrillers but the historians will love the film and the chance to debate whether she actually was the Virgin Queen or that is fabricated.
A super film, first class and a must see!
Having only just got myself a DVD player (pjs catches up with the world very slowly) I decided I should probably buy something to watch in it. I had hoped videos would fit if forced, but no such luck! This also means that this is my first ever DVD opinion, so stick with me guys! So, on a miserable afternoon in London I noticed that HMV on Oxford Street were having a MASSIVE SALE – to use their words. So in I popped, promising myself that I wasn’t going to buy something just because it was in the sale. Fifteen minutes later I walked out with 4 DVD's, one of which was Elizabeth. Again, being months behind the rest of the world, I had not seen Elizabeth, but liking most of the people who were in it thought it was worth a go. And at £6.99, even if it was dull as a really dull thing, it was only £6.99 and £19.99+. Well, what can I say. What a fantastic film. I don't really remember anyone talking about it, or any hype at all, from when it was released in cinemas – what a gem of a movie. The plot briefly (as I'm here to discuss the DVD, not the movie); The year is 1554 and England is being ruled by Mary of Tudor, Elizabeth's sister. Mary is advised to execute her sister for treason to stop her from coming to the throne, but when it comes down to signing her sisters death warrant, she doesn't. Mary dies and Elizabeth becomes queen. What follows is a conspiracy movie with non stop back stabbing and retaliation. Cate Blanchett is perfect as Elizabeth, she is strong and vulnerable at the same time. Her lover is played by the dashing <pjs spits on floor> Joseph Fiennes. Their love for eachother is so strong and you just know that it's all going to go a bit pear at some point. It never lasts in these things. Other cast include, Christopher Eccleston (Shallow Grave), Kathy Burke (Harry Enfield Shows), Richard Attenborough (he of bad Scottish accent in
Jurassic Park), the late Sir John Gielgud <pjs takes a minutes silence>… and Eric Cantona. Yes that's right. Eric Cantona. He's actually okay in his part as French Ambassador. The sets/scenery are beautiful, the costumes are big and flouncy as you'd hope. If you haven't seen it you really should. And so on to the DVD itself. Now I'm not a technically minded person and the numbers on the back mean absolutely nothing to me, but for those of you who they do, here they are. For those who don’t want to know – turn away NOW! Audio Content: English 5.1 Full Frame Anomorphic Widescreen – 1.85:1 There, that's the scary stuff out of the way. The features on the DVD which are extra to the main film are: Interview with Cast and Crew. This is ten minute-ish programme (I didn't time it as I watched it) interspersed with snippets of the film and moments of chat from the cast, director, producers and writer. It's quite interesting, but I'm glad I didn't watch it before the film as it includes many key moments as snippets. The Making of Elizabeth. Was a bit similar to Interview With… but talked to production people – designers etc. Again, quite short, around 10 minutes Behind The Secenes. A strange little piece to be on the DVD I thought. It was basically someone with a hand held camera who looked as though they had wondered about the sets taking quick shots of people doing there job. There is no sound other than that of general background noise. There’s 24 minutes of extra stuff in total. It has the normal (I presume) interactive menu screen to choose any of the features available, which also include various languages/subtitles. To finish – this is a great film, but worth paying £20 for? Possibly, though I'd be happier paying £12.99 for the video. However, I didn
39;t have to, for £6.99 it was a bargain and worth every penny. I'm not fussed about the extra bits, I wouldn't have watched them if I wasn't going to write this, but this 2hr film is definitely worth owning.
This film documents the early years the rule of Queen Elizabeth I of England - arguably Britain’s most successful monarch. At the end of her 40 year reign, Britain owned or had colonised over 25% of the world. Shaken by the death of Queen Mary (played by the brilliant Kathy Burke), Catholic Britain conspires against its new protestant ruler, Elizabeth I(Cate Blanchett). Weak and inexperienced in the ways of governance, Elizabeth relies heavily on her advisors, whilst carrying on a love affair with the earl of Leicester(Joseph Fiennes), unaware that those who advise her would also see her downfall. Queen of patriarchal Britain, her only purpose it would appear is to be married off to a powerful foreign suitor in order to strengthen foreign ties. “Forgive me madam, but you are only a woman.” states Sir William Cecil(Richard Attenborough) at one point demonstrating that her voice is not to be heard. With powerful enemies in every corner and the might of the papacy against her, her chances of remaining on the throne look bleak, but with the help of the ruthless Walsingham(Geoffrey Rush), a protestant back from exile, she sets about running the affairs of state her way. More than just a lavish costume drama or historical document, this film captivates the mind right from its shocking opening sequence – “Friends help me! I burn too slowly!” – to its dramatic and moving close. It is a fascinating story of love, betrayal, murder and intrigue which unfurls as Elizabeth struggles to keep her throne in 16th Century Britain. Lavish sets and flickering candles are accompanied by a haunting classical operatic score as dark deeds are performed in the name of England. Cate Blanchett puts in a superior performance as Elizabeth, exhibiting a true air of nobility and poise, and delivering her lines with regal grace. Geoffrey Rush also delights with a truly menacing, understated performance as the cunning and ruthl
ess Walsingham himself. Cameo performances are also made by the likes of French football star Eric Cantona (ex-Manchester United) and Angus Deyton (from satirical news quiz ‘Have I Got News For You’ amongst others) which although not good performances compared to the stars of the cast, are adequate and even add a certain amusement to the proceedings. These performances are aided and abbetted by some simply sumptuous costume design and brilliant direction by Shekhar Kapoor. The historical accuracy of the sets is worth special note. We have consistently seen movies which play up the excesses of regal luxury, but Kapoor opts for the almost 'scummy' realism. Lavish, brightly coloured, gold and jewel encrusted things may have been, but also the filth and squalor of the 16th century crept within the palace walls as well - and that is deeply apparent here. In all this is an excellent historical drama, with some outstanding performances by the leads and a generally talented supporting cast. An enthralling account of one of England’s most fascinating women and her fight for survival set against the backdrop of the often brutal 16th Century Britain. This film could not come more highly recommended to anybody who wants to see an intelligent piece of filmmaking supported by some excellent acting performances.
Elizabeth has to be one of the most sumptuous costume dramas of recent times. Based on the ascension of Queen Elizabeth I to the English throne and the earlier years of her reign it is visually stunning, packed wall to wall with world class performances and drama. But?. Before reviewing the film in its own right there is a but. This film has taken a huge scoop of artistic licence with the story and for those with an interest in Elizabethan history it will probably annoy you beyond compare at times. I would class my knowledge of this era as so-so but even I could see glaring distractions from what history tells us. Of course there is no law that says film has to depict situations as fact, or what we think we think to be fact; this could lead to some very dull films in deed. However, I did feel that this film had crossed that line a little to far. When viewed with this in mind the film is a powerful representation of the feeling of the times if not the facts. Therefore I would recommend you don't watch this film as a way of revising for your history exam but do watch it for a feeling of the atmosphere of Tudor England - it may help you look at those dull history books with new eyes! Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth is superb, wonderfully enhanced by intricate detail to costume and make up. The personal aspect of her life is mainly represented by her relationship with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. A friend since childhood it has been assumed that Dudley was a genuine love of the Queen and there is much conjecture that she wished to marry him The relationship between herself and Dudley, (played by Joseph Fiennes) is heavily romanticised. Dudley is far too often portrayed as a love sick puppy often on the verge of a lover's tantrum. I would like to have seen a little more power behind the Dudley character. History tells us that he was married in his late teens therefore whether the Queen wished to marry him o
r not came a secondary matter. And for real scandal his wife was found dead with a broken neck at the bottom of the stairs which lead to much court gossip and sealed the decision that the Queen could never marry a man who's character was so slurred. None of this is mentioned in the film and I can't help but feel it would have added to the atmosphere. The film-makers seemed so set on portraying the political and scandalous wrangling of the era it confuses me as to why they were so happy to 'fiddle' parts of the story for the sake of drama yet steadfastly ignore wonderful dramatic plots history placed right under their noses! These quibbles aside and looking at is as purely a film there is little to criticise. The film depicts the grandiose nature of the times wonderfully and it highly atmospheric. There is a great sense of the political and religious intrigue and backstabbing (sometimes literally!) of the era. Everyone is permanently on edge as the balance of power ebbs and flows - greatly influenced by the Catholic-Protestant divide. Set in the centre of this is Queen Elizabeth and the film shows how she develops from a frightened teenager with a flair for public speaking to a capable and confident leader. The supporting cast of plotters and would be successors is superb. Those particularly worth a mention are Geoffrey Rush as the Queens loyal but brutal supporter Sir Francis Walsingham and Christopher Eccleston as scheming pretender to the throne the Duke of Norfolk. Both are strong character actors who are utterly convincing as leading players in this most political of games. A strong and stirring soundtrack adds to the often dark and dangerous atmosphere. The film moves on at great speed and never feels stagnant. At the end, when the Queen faces her demons and dedicates her whole being to her country, seemingly at the cost of her own happiness, there is the feeling we have only just come to the beginnin
g of the story. For a film of feeling and emotion it is wonderful and will no doubt stir interest in even the most history shy viewer. When costume/historical drama is done well I find it one of the most entertaining genres available and in those terms this film is a must see. Five stars as a film, I will turn a blind eye to historical inaccuracies this time on the grounds that it does stir the emotions so well.
This is a chilling historical thriller about the plots, threats and assassins surrounding the young Queen, but more importantly the love she shares with Robert Dudley (Joseph Fiennes) and the personal relationships with her other advisors and friends, Norfolk (Christopher Eccleston), Francis Walsingham (Gregory Rush) and William Cecil (Richard Attenborough). Eric Cantona and Kathy Burke also make brief appearances as an ambassador and Queen Mary, Elizabeth’s half sister. Cate Blanchett is breath taking as the sovereign. She really brings Elizabeth to life, not as a queen but as the strong willed, hot blooded, fascinating young woman who gave up her own happiness for her country. The script is fair, though not out standing, but it is visually, that the film really shines. The queen and her friends, advisors and enemies are played by a bunch of exceptionally talented actors, whose presence simply lights up the screen, the costumes and scenery are stunning and the dramatic period music captures the mood perfectly. But make no mistake, this is no dull history lesson, it is a vivid, fast paced, somewhat artistic and very memorable portrayal of Elizabeth’s early reign ideal for anyone who likes romance, action, drama or history. There are, however, powerful scenes of brutal violence throughout, which some viewers may find quite upsetting. Though, personally I enjoyed the whole film from start to finish, particularly the last scene, in which Elizabeth cuts her hair and announces to the court that she is married to England, which is very moving. A must see.