Geena R. (geenastarr) from EVERETT, MA Reviewed on 3/9/2012...
Miss Davis was also in retirement living in Maine and hadn't done a movie for 2-3 years i think-- not sure but it was over 2 years! I see many know the fact that she had her forhead shaved back etc.... This was one of those, "comebacks", which, for myself at least, i thank the gods for!
BTW, the year 1939, for movies is quite a famous year! To this day it is a year that the most cherished, big budgeted, wonderful and simply great movies were made! Look it up for yourselves and get a gander hehe!
A regal Bette Davis in lavish costume drama
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 01/15/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1939, Bette Davis provided one of her greatest performances as Queen Elizabeth the 1st in the Technicolor MGM drama "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex". She sacrificed for the role, to the extent of shaving her eyebrows plus two inches from her hairline to resemble the aged monarch. So when Twentieth Century Fox went forward with THE VIRGIN QUEEN sixteen years later, it made sense for Bette Davis to once again ascend the throne. Though it does pale dramatically when compared to the earlier film, Bette Davis' regal performance keeps it on a smooth path.
Queen Elizabeth (Bette Davis) falls in love with the younger Sir Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd), despite the scheming of a catty rival (Joan Collins). Though historically, THE VIRGIN QUEEN often plays fast and loose with the truth; Joan Collins (a Fox contract player of the period) creates some fireworks as the "Other Woman"--and her scenes with Davis are fun. Richard Todd and Bette Davis also have an enjoyable rapport, despite Henry Koster's often pedestrian direction.
If you enjoyed "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex", you will most certainly appreciate THE VIRGIN QUEEN. How often does an actor get the chance to revisit a role and get to use their newfound maturity and insight to create a deeper characterisation the second time around?
Highly-recommended for Bette Davis fans."
Davis plays Queen Elizabeth I for a second time
calvinnme | 02/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Davis' second film in which she plays Queen Elizabeth I of England. Personally, I thought 1939's "Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" was better, but it is hard to compare the two since this film takes place 15 years earlier in history than "Private Lives" and has Davis essentially playing Elizabeth at the age - 47 - that Davis actually is. The earlier film had Davis at 31 playing Queen Elizabeth in her sixties. Here Richard Todd plays Sir Walter Raleigh, who, like Essex in the earlier film, is a younger man who trades on Elizabeth's love for him to gain some personal glory. Richard Todd plays Raleigh effectively, but there is just no topping the charisma of Flynn's performance in the earlier movie.
The special features include a "Making Of" featurette, some trailers, and a photo gallery. This film is being released separately and as part of Fox' Bette Davis Centenary Collection."
Bette Davis in The Virgin Queen
Chris | Leeds, Utah United States | 01/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bette Davis reigns supreme in this highly colourful film on the lives of Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh.
The full pageant of royal life, including the famous laying of Sir Walter's cloak in a puddle to allow the queen to step on it, is brought wonderfully to life.
Joan Collins adds a lot of colour as the royal lady-in-waiting who incurs the queen's wrath by marrying Sir Walter.
A classic period drama with scrumptuous costumes and an all-star cast.
If you liked the 1939 classic The Private Lives of Elizabeth And Essex, you will deffinately love The Virgin Queen. Once again Bette Davis portrays Queen Elizabeth The I magnificently."
Bette Davis Repeats Her Role As Elizabeth 1 In Lavish Costum
Simon Davis | 10/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's a rare occasion indeed when an actress has the opportunity to revisit a part she had played 15 years earlier and create another interpretation of the same character. Bette Davis, the legendary Queen of Warner Bros Studios had already placed her unique stamp on the larger than life character of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England in a lavish 1939 technicolour production titled "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" which co starred Errol Flynn as the wickedly charming Earl of Essex. Fast forward 15 years with Bette now out of her contract with Warners and moving from film to film on a freelance basis. This time the studio was 20th Century Fox who were mounting another lavish version of a portion of the life of Good Queen Bess titled appropriately enough "The Virgin Queen". Fox hired Bette during a real slump in her career to recreate her role as the majestic Queen this time with the focus being on her "love affair' (highly fictionalised) with Sir Walter Raleigh which actually took place during an earlier time period than that which served as a basis for the earlier 1939 film. While "The Virgin Queen" certainly didn't restore Bette's sagging career to its former glory, (she would have to wait until the 1962 smash "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?" for that to happen) it is a more than respectable effort and one of her better films of this period.
As with most historical dramas the historical facts of this late Tudor period are played around with in the screenplay for "The Virgin Queen", however that doesn't distract from its real entertainment value. The story takes place in the 1580's as Raleigh returns from campaigning in Ireland to a great welcome and through the sponsorship of the Queen Elizabeth's favourite the Earl of Liecester (Herbert Marshall) Raleigh begins a flirtation with the fiesty Queen in an attempt to get her to provide him with ships for an exploration voyage to the New World. After being Knighted by Elizabeth Raleigh also romances and eventually secretly marries Beth Throckmorton (Joan Collins) a very attractive waiting lady to the Queen. The stormy relationship between Raleigh and the Queen comes to a head when she learns of his marriage which then sees both him and Beth imprisoned before Elizabeth finally breaks down and releases her difficult favourite allowing him to fulfill his all consuming dream of an exploration to the New World. Bette Davis of course towers over the story in her second turn as Queen Elizabeth but she has some fine players to compete with here. While Herbert Marshall is his usual stiff self as Leicester, Richard Todd as Sir Walter Raleigh, while perhaps lacking the gallant charm of Errol Flynn from Bette's first outing playing Queen Elizabeth, does very well as the dare devil adventurer who both loves and clashes with his sovereign. Joan Collins yet again proves herself a good actress too as the rival to Queen Elizabeth in their mutual love of Raleigh. Joan wrote about her experience working on "The Virgin Queen" in her highly entertaining autobiography "Past Imperfect" and she recalled how nervous she was working with the formidable Davis and also wrote about the incredible attention to detail that was put into the film's costumes by the Fox wardrobe department to make then totally accurate down to the last detail. Despite her reported on set nerves Joan has great chemistry with Bette Davis in this film and the story really comes alive in the confrontation scenes between the two women.
20th Century Fox's "Cinema Classics Collection" has seen a number of Bette Davis films given first class presentations onto DVD and along with well known, often released classics like "All About Eve" there have been some new seldom seen films of Bette's like "Phone Call From A Stranger", and "The Virgin Queen" which have been given a most welcome first release onto DVD. They all will be much treasured parts of any film buff's Bette Davis Collection. "The Virgin Queen" has been given a beautiful restoration for this DVD and of course being a costume picture lends itself so well to the brilliant Fox colour that has never looked so vivid as in this obviously cleaned up new print. The "Cinema Classics" release also contains trailers, a good "making of Documentary" titled "Virgin Territory: The Making of the Virgin Queen", photo galleries and a restoration comparison. This kind of film however cries out for a good audio commentary which it sadly lacks. Of the surviving cast members Joan Collins is still active and it is a great pity she wasn't brought in to give a commentary on the film which considering her earlier comments about it in her autobiography would have been of great interest. While "The Virgin Queen" is always regarded as a lesser Bette Davis effort it still has great merits and my recent viewing of it highlighted much that was first rate in all departments of its production. Bette was born to play England's great Queen and despite the distortion of historical facts and personalities in parts of the screenplay she doesn't disappoint in her second turn at playing Elizabeth. I highly recommend Fox's "The Virgin Queen" for all lovers of period films from Hollywood's Golden Age."
Entertaining historical film
Joan Crawford | Lansing, MI USA | 01/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Historically, I don't know how accurate The Virgin Queen is, but it certainly seems so. Bette Davis was a great Elizabeth. In Bette's talented hands, Elizabeth comes alive as a strong, very wise queen, who was however vulnerable and prone to fits of rage and jealousy. Perhaps the jealousy caused her to do careless things, such as send Sir Walter Raleigh to the tower for execution when she learned of his illegal marriage to one of her ladies in waiting (an excellent Joan Collins in an early performance), but she was always fair and compassionate in the end.
The story concerns an Irish man, Walter Raleigh, who becomes a good friend of the queen and is eventually Knighted. He longs to sail for the new word and bring back valuable riches. It takes Raleigh a long time to convince Elizabeth, but eventually she gives him one ship. However, a problem is presented when Raleigh falls in love with Beth (Joan Collins), because the queen has grown rather fond of him and forbids the marriage. Raleigh marries Beth, and they plan to sail together, but when the news reaches the queen she sends him to the tower of London. Not only does the act of jealousy hurt Raleigh, but also Beth and her unborn child. Elizabeth comes to realize this and, in an act of great compassion and fairness, she releases Raleigh and his bride to sail for the new world together. In a tender moment, she remembers herself once being a child who was brought to cry because of the executioner's blade.
The Virgin Queen is not only notable for its lavish Cinemascope production, which proved "Bette's black years" (the 1950s) weren't really so black, but also for its fine performances and script. Queen Elizabeth emerges as a truly great lady, with a human need for love and a very forgiving heart. If the queen was as admirable as the character presented here, one truly understands the meaning of "long live the queen."