I have another movie recommendation for you. The same year (2005) HBO brought out their movie about Elizabeth I (see previous blog entry), Masterpiece Theater debuted a version of their own, Elizabeth I, The Virgin Queen. Here’s the Netflix blurb:
The offspring of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I used her education, intelligence and knack for diplomacy to guide England to glory. This riveting historical drama starring Anne-Marie Duff as the legendary sovereign chronicles how the shrewd Virgin Queen assumed the throne of a nation in turmoil, stabilized the economy, earned her subjects’ devotion and manipulated a succession of suitors to political advantage.
Like the Helen Mirren/HBO version, this movie was approximately 3 1/2 hours long on two DVDs which I watched over two evenings. I am now steeped in the court intrigues of the late 1500s.
Ms. Duff doesn’t have the same screen presence as Ms. Mirren. However, she was more believable in the early years of Queen Bess’s reign, whereas Ms. Mirren was more believable as the aging queen. Both actresses displayed the passion of the virgin queen. I’m glad that I watched one version right after the other. It was fun to compare the courts, to see the similarities of the stories and some of the differences. I recommend them both.
During my secular career, I wrote one medieval novel. I find pleasure reading about that time period (both in research and in novels). Writing a story set in the Middle Ages is much more difficult, and I applaud those authors who do it well. Me, I’ll stick with renting movies about that era from here on in.