Author Topic: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of Scot  (Read 27923 times)

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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #45 on: January 25, 2005, 11:17:58 AM »
The entertainment business is just that- an industry. Theyare not in it for our personal edification. If a film- or play were to be  historically accurate it would of neccesity be very long, dry and boring. The players would not be nearly as interesting if they depicted the real personalities. Let's face it, all these people we are interested in led rather ordinary lives, it was the circumstances that made them interesting. And the egos of all those involved would not be satisfied- actors, designers, producers, et al. No one would pay to see it. That would defeat the whole intent of producing the thing.
Without dramatic license, there is no product.
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Offline Janet_W.

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #46 on: January 25, 2005, 12:14:28 PM »
I, too, prefer historical accuracy. However, the story of Mary Stuart has long been influenced by romantic mythology. Therefore, as long as the screenwriter did not alter the basic factual outline of his subject's life and the outcome of her long political quest, I did not--and do not--see a problem with a "secret meeting" between Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor in that particular film. The romantic tone of Mary Queen of Scots is well-established within the first few scenes; just by virtue of being in a theater we know we are watching an interpretation of Mary's actual life, which was for the most part dreary and very sad.

Mary and Elizabeth have been portrayed on stage and screen by many distinguished actresses, and many highly competent dramatists have written stage plays and screenplays based on their lives.  Drama is just that: A heightened portrayal of reality. While I believe that dramatists should not take gross liberties with historical events and the persons who participated in and/or shaped these historical events, I realize there is also a need to shape a story into an experience that will work within a dramatic framework.  

The difference, I think, can be shown in comparing Rasputin and the Empress to Nicholas and Alexandra. Allowing for the considerable gap in time and therefore technical quality, I continue to maintain that the latter is far superior to the former because it makes a sincere attempt to be accurate to the spirit and tone of the basic story. On the other hand, Rasputin and the Empress has a slapdash look to it. The script is generally ludicrous and the characterizations generally out of sync with what we have read in many, many memoirs. Nicholas and Alexandra--for whatever its faults--is based on a well-researched biography, and it is obvious that a conscious and conscientious effort has been made to adhere to that primary source.

While Mary, Queen of Scots is far from my favorite fiilm re: royals and, yes, features that highly questionable meeting between the royal cousins, I would recommend it--with a few cautionary comments! ;) --to anyone interested in the story of Mary Stuart.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #47 on: January 25, 2005, 01:37:49 PM »
As usual I'm in total agreement with Janet on this one. Although I like a bit of "over the top," if the artist is sublime - who wants to give up Laurence Olivier's Richard III? He's deliberately hamming through that entire role.

But I guess I don't understand why everyone dislikes Starkey and Schama so much.

Quote

I haven't seen that but I can well imagine.  Simon Schama and David Starkey have very differing approaches to the presentation of history.  The latter presents it like some bitter old dowager relating the latest society gossip; the former like some antiquated University tutor who once was trendy about twenty years ago.....If I am not mistaken Simon Schama's 'The History of Britain' scarcely covered the reign of Elizabeth I, for some unknown reason......


Starkey and Schama are doing TV documentaries for the money. There's no money in being a college professor (take it from me!). So why watch these TV documentaries in the first place, when they're clearly designed as introductory courses for people who prefer the History Lite version? I have got a lot of enjoyment out of Starkey and Schama's books. They can do a million bad documentaries, as far as I'm concerned, as long as they keep churning out books like Citizens and Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne. In particular, Schama, whatever you say, proved with his first few books that he is a genius. "Trendy 20 years ago"... reminder: trends don't last, but certain public intellectuals do! So he's not a TV personality. So who cares?!?  
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Offline Silja

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2005, 03:13:14 PM »
Films are about giving a certain view of events and characters. Directors, like playwrights, have their personal interest in certain historical characters and events, and they should have a right to convey this interest in the dramatic way they choose. I also prefer historical accuracy but ultimately a film is a work of art and it should be discussed according to whether it achieves what it sets out to achieve and whether the "message" is of any relevance to the viewer.

Schiller's play Maria Stuart, for instance, is highly inaccurate historically, and personally, I don't like his interpretation very much. But it is nevertheless a fabulous play. I like it as a play about two female rulers, not as a play about Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart. One interest of the play might be to show the ultimate isolation of the powerful.

Or Shekhar Kapur (?)'s Elizabeth. I didn't like it precisely for the lack of accuracy, but the director had said himself that historical accuracy hadn't at all been his aim. As a portrayal of the atmosphere  of a certain age it is quite brilliant.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Silja »

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2005, 03:19:29 PM »
 I wish I could be more tolerant of historical inaccuracies in movies and plays and just enjoy them, but for some weird reason I can't be! I get so pissed off at them!  ;D.  For this reason, I really hated 'Elizabeth" with Cate Blanchett, even though the general "look" of the film was fabulous.

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #50 on: January 26, 2005, 03:24:14 PM »
Helen, when you have the chance, what was it that specifically bothered you about the Cate Blanchett film of Elizabeth? I agree that the look and design of the film was marvelous--and I also admired the performances--but since I've been more focused on Romanovs than Tudors for some time, I didn't have as many objections to the script as I might have, say, ten years ago.

Offline Silja

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #51 on: January 26, 2005, 03:36:23 PM »
Quote
I wish I could be more tolerant of historical inaccuracies in movies and plays and just enjoy them, but for some weird reason I can't be! I get so pissed off at them!  ;D.  For this reason, I really hated 'Elizabeth" with Cate Blanchett, even though the general "look" of the film was fabulous.


So did I, but I know that my judgement of the film is biased  simply because of my somewhat being obsessed with historical facts  ;D  8)

Offline Silja

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2005, 03:48:38 PM »
I'm not Helen, but the inaccuracy that especially bothered ME was the one about Leicester's betrayal of the queen. He was never involved in a political plot against her and did not commit treason.
But there were so many, many other  inaccuracies in it  . . .
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Silja »

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #53 on: January 26, 2005, 04:25:48 PM »
Quote
 Helen, when you have the chance, what was it that specifically bothered you about the Cate Blanchett film of Elizabeth? I agree that the look and design of the film was marvelous--and I also admired the performances--but since I've been more focused on Romanovs than Tudors for some time, I didn't have as many objections to the script as I might have, say, ten years ago.


Yes, there were many issues, but an obvious one that comes to my mind was the way they portrayed the relationship between Elizabeth and Leicester - as being hot and heavy and definitely sexual. For one thing, we don't know if the relationship ever became sexual in a literal sense, I tend to think that it didn't, although they were probably in love with each other. A very important aspect about Elizabeth's personality was that she felt that marriage (or sexual consummation for that matter) would take away her superior position (psychologically speaking) and put it in the hands of the man. So she would allow things to go just so far, lots of flirtation, lots of implication, but no farther (remember her mother, Anne Boleyn? She was very skilled at this exact thing, so why not her daughter too!).

Of course we don't know for sure what happened between Robert Dudley and Elizabeth, but to me it seems that they never consumated their relationship because Elizabeth would not allow it. She always seemed terrified of the whole thing, not the physical aspect per say, but because of the psychological ones. This is also why she refused to marry, although she toyed with the idea a little. As far as Dudley (Leicester), Elizabeth always used to say that he and she were never completely alone, always one of her women was present. Whether this is true or not, we don't know. But to assume that this relationship was sexual would be denying some very important aspects of E's personality and psyche. Historians disagree among themselves about this, but I think most lean towards the idea that this relationship never became sexual in a literal sense. Hence, the film should have been more vague about this part, at the very least, instead they just went full force in their blatant potrayal of it as if they were 100% sure about that, that this was a fact instead of a theory (I suspect in order to appeal to a wider audience). That really bothered me because it felt almost like exploitation  of history.  I think that "Elizabeth R" did a MUCH better job with this, and everything else for that matter.

In general, I found this movie kind of confusing. Even though I knew the story well, I found myself more than once thinking, who is this person supposed to be? Or I often wasn't sure what was supposed to be going on. I think in the case of this film, having a lot of knowledge about the subject went against you, since they really changed the story a lot!

Offline Silja

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #54 on: January 26, 2005, 04:43:52 PM »
Quote

Yes, there were many issues, but an obvious one that comes to my mind was the way they portrayed the relationship between Elizabeth and Leicester - as being hot and heavy and definitely sexual. For one thing, we don't know if the relationship ever became sexual in a literal sense, I tend to think that it didn't, although they were probably in love with each other.


Of course we don't know for sure what happened between Robert Dudley and Elizabeth, but to me it seems that they never consumated their relationship because Elizabeth would not allow it. She always seemed terrified of the whole thing, not the physical aspect per say, but because of the psychological ones.

to assume that this relationship was sexual would be denying some very important aspects of E's personality and psyche.

, the film should have been more vague about this part, at the very least,

 


I very much agree!

I think they made the relationship "hot and heavy and definitely sexual" to underline the blow of the subsequent betrayal. I think one of the main aims of the film is to show that in that particular "society" you couldn't trust anybody completely, not even your lover, that you were always in danger, that you were permanently surrounded by conspiracy.

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #55 on: January 26, 2005, 04:52:05 PM »
I watched it via DVD, and after seeing it through "straight" watched it with the director's commentary. He admitted to having some viewpoints which might conflict with previously held concepts, as well as to some tweaking of history.  :(

I found the scene in which Elizabeth and Dudley consummate their relationship, with a number of her ladies looking on through transparent draperies, historically startling to say the least!  :o  The whole film had a different look and tone than more traditionally approached Tudor/Stuart films such as A Man for All Seasons and Anne of the Thousand Days.  I thought it did breathe some rigorous new life into the genre, though, and I certainly found Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Elizabeth worthy to stand alongside the likes of Bette Davis, Glenda Jackson and Judi Dench. The scene in which she dismisses the French suitor amused me a great deal; I'm sure the actual Elizabeth frequently thought, to quote a later line from Shakespeare, "What fools these mortals be"!

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #56 on: January 26, 2005, 05:04:49 PM »
Quote
  I certainly found Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Elizabeth worthy to stand alongside the likes of Bette Davis, Glenda Jackson and Judi Dench.
I thought she was good too, it was the script I had a problem with, not the acting!  ;)

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #57 on: January 27, 2005, 01:02:30 AM »
I definitely liked Elizabeth, BUT, was terribly disappointed with the liberties taken with the film.
I know Mary Of Guise was a minor character in the film,
but to have her sexually cavorting with the Duc de Anjou, was totally out of place.  Along with the fact that
the Guise's and the family of Catherine de Medici were
enemies, if I remember my history, didn't they kill a couple of Mary of Guise's brothers.  Also she died of dropsy not poisoning by Walsingham.

Also the liberties taken with historical events, and the way the had Mary Tudor portrayed, was a bit over the top.  Not the religious fanaticism, but  the actress, Mary wasn't  that repulsive, from the portraits I have seen.

Cate Blanchett's performance was outstanding & it was worthy of an Oscar.  Like Glenda Jackson she became  Elizabeth, but the scriptwriters, producers & directors should have been executed for what they did....

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #58 on: January 27, 2005, 09:08:44 AM »
Quote
I know Mary Of Guise was a minor character in the film,
but to have her sexually cavorting with the Duc de Anjou, was totally out of place.  Along with the fact that
the Guise's and the family of Catherine de Medici were
enemies, if I remember my history, didn't they kill a couple of Mary of Guise's brothers.  Also she died of dropsy not poisoning by Walsingham.
Also the liberties taken with historical events, and the way the had Mary Tudor portrayed, was a bit over the top.  Not the religious fanaticism, but  the actress, Mary wasn't  that repulsive, from the portraits I have seen.
 


I think this is why I spent much of the time while watching this movie trying to figure out what was going on, I never heard about some of things they had in the film and it was very confusing!

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Re: How accurate is the movie "Mary Queen of
« Reply #59 on: January 27, 2005, 10:00:57 AM »
I know it seems that they take liberties or license with history and portray it falsely to millions who watch the movies.  

Although I was mesmerized by Cate's performance, it was more than worthy, the film was lessened in my opinion by it' historical inaccuracies.  

There is another thing that bothers me, they went to the effort of getting Elizabeth's wardrobe accurate, such as her coronation gown, pattern, material, etc.  Why go to such painstaking detail & then flout historical fact, I
just don't understand it.

I think Margaret of Scotland, Mary's grandmother would make a much more interesting story.  A Tudor princess sent to Scotland, a life of turmoil.  If Hollywood could do it right.   Even the biographical pictures of the 1950's they couldn't even do the wardrobes correctly, so I guess what could be said if you want accuracy you have to sacrifice fact or vice versa.