Saturday, January 21, 2012

Elizabeth (Film 1998)


Elizabeth is a 1998 biographical film written by Michael Hirst, directed by Shekhar Kapur, and starring Cate Blanchett, loosely based on the early years of Elizabeth's reign. In 2007, Blanchett reprised the role in the sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, covering the later part of her reign.


The film sees a young Elizabeth elevated to the throne on the death of her half-sister Mary I, who had imprisoned her. Her reign over the divided and bankrupt realm is perceived as weak and under threat of invasion by Early Modern France or Habsburg Spain. For the future stability and security of the crown she is urged by advisor William Cecil (Attenborough) to marry, and has suitors in the Catholic Philip II of Spain and the French Henri, Duc d'Anjou. She instead embarks on an affair with the wholly unsuitable Robert Dudley (Fiennes).

Elizabeth must counter threats from within such as the powerful 4th Duke of Norfolk (Eccleston), and from the armies of Mary of Guise (Ardant) garrisoned in Scotland. She also faces plots from Rome directed by Pope Pius V (Gielgud). Assisted by her 'spymaster' Francis Walsingham (Rush), she puts down the threats both internal and external, ruthlessly executing the plotters. Elizabeth eventually ends her affair and resolves to marry nobody except England. The film ends with Elizabeth assuming the persona of 'The Virgin Queen', initiating England's Golden Age.

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