The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Synopsis: This period drama frames the tumultuous affair between Queen Elizabeth I and the man who would be King of England, Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. Ever the victor on the battlefield, Devereux returns to London after defeating Spanish forces at Cadiz. Middle-aged Elizabeth, so attracted to the younger Devereux but fearful of his influence and popularity, sends him on a new mission: a doomed campaign to Ireland. When he and his troops return in defeat, Devereux demands to share the throne with the heir-less queen, and Elizabeth, at first, intends to marry. Ultimately sensing the marriage would prove disastrous for England, Elizabeth sets in motion a merciless plan to protect her people and preserve her throne.
Director(s): Michael Curtiz
Production: Warner Home Video
Rotten Tomatoes:
106 min

There he is!

How nobly he bears himself.

Oh, it must be wonderful

to be a man and a hero.

- He carries himself like a king.

- His eyes constantly look up...

...searching for the queen.

Isn't he wonderful?

Yes, love too has its victories.

And this, I think, belongs to Her Majesty.

An easy victory if one

is a queen and may command it.

What if Her Majesty

should overhear you?

The day when Essex returns...

...every petticoat is chosen

with an eye to pleasing him.

Come along, my son,

into the presence chamber.

You may do as you please, Father.

I'll have no part.

Don't be a fool, Cecil. Elizabeth

is difficult, even on good days.

Good or bad, we'll see

little of her with Essex home.

Something's got to be done to tarnish

him or he'll share England's throne.

Then where shall we be?

I'll be hanged if I welcome him.

You may be hanged

if you do not, my son.

You know Her Majesty's

infatuation for him.

But, Your Majesty,

I beg you to reconsider.

Essex is a proud man.

You must not do this thing to him.

Bacon, this will not be easy for me.

Whatever he has done, he is the man

of all men closest to my heart.

Whatever he suffers,

I suffer a thousand times more intently.

- Then why, Your Majesty, why?

- Because the necessities of a queen...

...must transcend those of a woman.

His ambition has jeopardized

the prosperity of the English people.

It may endanger the very peace

and stability of England.

Your Majesty, forgive this frankness,

but your love jeopardizes the situation.

A situation fraught with gravest

consequence for my subjects, Bacon.

My personal feelings

must not enter into this.

God help me.

Go now. Let me alone.

Your Majesty.

My fan. Hurry.

- Present arms!

- Up!

Robert Devereux... grace of Her Majesty...

...Earl of Essex, general of the horse

and knight of the Garter.

Charles, Baron Howard of Effingham,

Lord High Admiral of England.

Walter Raleigh, knight, vice admiral of

the fleets, and warden of the stannary.

Do you kneel in homage,

my Lord Essex...

...or in shame?

Shame, Your Majesty?

Have you lost your hearing

as well as your military skill?

Stand up.

I believe my military skill was well

demonstrated at Cdiz, madam.

Has our commissioner

not brought you news of my victory?

Your victory!

For three years, the rains of England

have rotted our harvest to the ground.

Three years of famine

and a depleted treasury.

But my Lord of Essex

had the cure for that.

Yes, indeed.

"Raise me but 50,000, madam,"

says he...

..." and I'll sail for Cdiz and fetch you

such a Spanish treasure fleet... will make England rich again."

So I did.

I taxed my already

overburdened people.

Got him his 50,000.

Now, where is

my Spanish treasure fleet?


He can't answer.

He daren't answer.

- Lf Your Majesty will let me tell you.

- Go on, then.

Unfortunately, it was you

who called the fleet back...

...before my plans

had been carried out.

Unfortunately, the Spanish

treasure fleet, with 12 million ducats...

...lies beneath the waters of Cdiz Harbor,

sunk by the Spaniards themselves.

While Essex, against the advice

of Howard and Raleigh...

...gathered fame for himself

by storming the town.

There was naught else to be done.

- It was for the glory of England.

- For the glory of Essex!

Will that put food into the mouths

of my starving people?

Can they subsist upon laurel wreaths

from your heroic brow?

You think they're displeased with

what I did at Cdiz, madam? Listen.

The English people are more

readily pleased than their queen.

They cry your name, but what will

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Norman Reilly Raine

Norman Reilly Raine (23 June 1894 – 19 July 1971) was an American screenwriter, creator of "Tugboat Annie" and winner of an Oscar for the screenplay of The Life of Emile Zola (1937). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Oct. 2019. <>.

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