Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)


I’ve mentioned this one a few times as having a highly romanticized plot and very pretty, generically historical costumes. Mary Queen of Scots (1971) starring Vanessa Redgrave does stand as one of the more complete tellings of the tragic queen’s story, even if the details play fast and loose with actual history. Margaret Furse received her final Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design with this film, and the costumes, like the script, give a basic historical silhouette while messing around with the details.

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5 Responses

  1. Caradoc

    This 1971 may have its issues, but it’s way better than the Ronan-Robbie “It” parody.

    • ED

      It also gave us Dame Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth R before ELIZABETH R, so the casting department assuredly deserve our grateful thanks and heartfelt praise.

      • Trystan L. Bass

        Elizabeth R aired on TV in the UK in early 1971 before this film premiered anywhere (it was first shown in the US in Dec. 1971, then the UK in March 1927). Tho’ I don’t know which one was filmed first, given that movies often take longer to produce.

  2. ED

    Apropos of nothing, memories of watching this film helped sell me on THE SERPENT QUEEN – because, if nothing else, the version of Her Late Majesty Queen Mary in that latter show felt genuinely fresh and entertaining, rather than yet ANOTHER Romantically Tragic or Tragically Romantic Mary Stuart.

    Quite frankly we could do with a MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS film which applied that sort of Black Comedy to the murder of Lord Darnley (One of the few historical assassinations one can look at and, when asked “whodunnit?”, quite reasonably answer “EVERYONE”*).

    *At least everyone who was anyone in contemporary Scotland: at least one version of events – that by Ms. Alison Weir – gave me a mental image of half the Scottish establishment showing up to provide an appreciative audience to Henry Stuart’s murder.

    The other half were, of course, busy making that happen (and pretending they hadn’t been anywhere near the fatal spot).


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