Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mary of Scotland - Authentic Region 1 DVD from Warner Brothers starring Katharine Hepburn Fredric March Directed by JOHN FORD|
Director: John Ford
Release Date June 6th, 2006.
Similarly Requested DVDs
Ripe for Revival
Randy Buck | Brooklyn, NY USA | 10/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MARY OF SCOTLAND was a major flop in its day, one of the '36 trio that led Hepburn to be declared "box office poison" by theatre owners. But this fine new WB DVD gives the film a splendid chance to find an appreciative audience. The source play has aged as badly as most of Maxwell Anderson's work; the dialogue sounds like a Tudor/Stuart history trot written by Ethel M. Dell. But the cast breathes vigorous life into stilted dialogue. Hepburn, generally not the most erotic actress, is surprisingly sexy as the ill-fated Mary -- finally, this performance shows Cukor wasn't completely besotted to think Kate could pull off Scarlett O'Hara. March looks and sounds every inch the dashing Bothwell (a distant relative of Hepburn's, by the way), and John Carradine shines as Rizzio. Magnificent production design and breathtaking cinematography, coupled with sensitive, intelligent direction from Ford, complete with canny use of extremely effective closeups, make this warhorse surprisingly sturdy. An unexpected treat."
Riveting Historical Drama
David Baldwin | Philadelphia,PA USA | 06/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film demonstrates why director John Ford ranks at the apex of great American film directors. By tackling a costume drama with stage origins and effectively opening it up for the big screen Ford demonstrates his versatility as a director of more than Westerns. There is a forboding doom that permeates this film that is symbolized by the fog shrouded ship that returns Mary Tudor(Katharine Hepburn) to her beloved Scotland. She assumes the throne to be met with a variety of intrigues and treacheries from the Scotch noblemen, religious separatist John Knox, her brother, her husband, and not the least her cousin Elizabeth I of England. Despite these threats Mary maintains her nobility throughout. Katharine Hepburn is a wonder as Mary maintaining a regal bearing despite the impending doom that awaits. Frederic March is dashing as the Earl of Bothwell, Mary's love. The romantic sparks between Hepburn and March are lusty. My lone quibble with the film is the broad villainy of Elizabeth, portrayed by Florence Eldridge. The face-off between Elizabeth and Mary towards the end of the film seemed to be used more for dramatic effect than for historical accuracy. That reservation aside, a great film that is indispensible."
Ultimately, a poor film
R. C. Walker | Encinitas CA, United States | 10/15/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
""Mary of Scotland" (1936) is presently not in print save for used copies (which are of good quality). The film stars a luminous Katharine Hepburn and a powerful Frederick March, a combination that ought to guarantee a good film. Yeah. Well -- -- --
The fact is, "Mary of Scotland" is in many ways not a good film. Considered as pure storytelling, it's fairly OK. As a biography of Mary Stuart, in the words of Jay Sherman ("The Critic"), it stinks. The actual life of Mary Stuart is all but lost in a melodramatic plot, over-ripe dialogue, and inexplicable gaps.
The film opens with Mary's (Hepburn) return from her long stay in France -- with nary a trace of a French accent. Well, be that as it may. Opening at this point makes sense, one of the few good choices made by its writer and director. Mary arrives in Scotland despite the intention of Queen Elizabeth I of England (Florence Eldridge) to prevent her. A niece of Henry VII, Mary's claim to the throne of England is even better than Elizabeth's (whose legitimacy has always been a matter of debate). Mary's assertion (in the film) that she "did it all for love" would, if she actually said it, have been a self-serving lie. Mary may have liked love, but she loved power.
Eldridge as Elizabeth: There may have been less effective portrayals of the Virgin Queen, but this one is right down there near the nadir. Aside from her tepid portrayal, she just doesn't have the height. It's a good thing she isn't required to appear in scenes with (or against) Hepburn, as the comparison would be too awful to contemplate. They appear together only once, in a phony pre-execution tête-a-tête that reduces the motivations of both queens to petty spleen. Droll, but the meeting never took place. By the time of this alleged interview was in a deep state of denial, believing that although she had signed an order of execution her people would know she didn't want it carried out.
The film follows Mary's attempt to establish her rule in fractious mid-16th Century Scotland. The Scots, generally, are half Pict and half Irish, so fractiousness was the leading personality characteristic. In her efforts she's supported by the Earl of Bothwell (March). He loves her and she loves him, but the marriage of queens is way more complicated than that
Mary instead marries Lord Darnley, an English lord whose claim to the English throne is at least as good as hers. This marriage is part of Mary's hope to replace Elizabeth as Queen of England. It also results in the birth of the future James VI of Scotland and later James I of England. Darnley is played with earnest foppishness by Douglas Walton. Walton had a lot of minor roles in almost 60 films, oddly uncredited in many of them. He does pretty well in this one. The film, however, ignores most of the complex machinations that lay behind Mary's decision to marry Darnley.
Mary's attempt to rule as well as reign is opposed by a number of Scottish lairds -- particularly her half-brother James Stuart, Earl of Moray, the former Regent of Scotland. Moray is played staunchly by Ian Keith, a Broadway fixture who also played a large number of "B" roles in major and minor pictures. Mary was also opposed by John Knox, the voice of Calvinism in Scotland, a pompous bigot with a big mouth and a very narrow intellect. He is played here very effectively by Moroni Olsen, a talented actor who did well playing self-important idiots of that sort.
Mary's mainstay early on was David Rizzio, an Italian troubadour with a talent for politics and intrigue. Although he has a reputation as rather a pretty boy, he's played here by the great John Carradine -- an excellent Shakespearean on the stage whose stentorian voice eventually landed him in a lot of "B" (and worse) horror films. Rizzio's assassination marks the beginning of Mary's fall from the Scottish throne.
Mary's final defiant marriage to Bothwell leads to her final defeat. Soon after, she flees to England to seek Elizabeth's protection. The latter is too wily to let Mary run loose in England, and quickly converts refute into house arrest. The film then cuts immediately to Mary's trial for treason, skipping over years of her plots and machinations to escape her prison, overthrow Elizabeth, and make herself Queen of England. In fact, the implication of the film is that Mary was innocent. Fat chance. The important (nay, central) character of Sir Anthony Babington is barely mentioned.
The film ends at the scene of Mary's execution, which is not shown. She is finally shown mounting the scaffold. This whole scene is the most laughably stupid in the film. Although the photography is in black/white, it seems clear that Mary isn't wearing the red dress she is known to have worn. Hepburn's Mary is still young and radiantly beautiful ... although Mary at the time was old and worn and reduced to wearing a wig. The dog is missing. Before mounting the scaffold, Mary removes her ruff (as would be necessary), but retains a high collar. Had she worn such a thing, it would have taken more than 2 or 3 strokes of the axe to take her head. Of course, in fact, her neck had to have been laid bare.
As a biographical study of Mary Stuart, this film is wholly unsatisfactory. It says damn little in reality about Mary and even less about her great rival, Elizabeth. The final scenes in the film present events in such an inaccurate and fragmentary manner as to amount to a complete fiction. All that we are left with is a fine performance by Hepburn in an expensive -- yet cheap -- melodrama."