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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Virgin Queen (1955)

Determined to obtain the three ships he needs in order to sail to the New World, Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd) inveigles himself into the court and confidence of Elizabeth I (Bette Davis). But what he doesn't count on is her romantic infatuation with him. Though titled THE VIRGIN QUEEN, the film is really about Sir Walter Raleigh with Elizabeth a supporting character. This is the second time Davis takes on the role of Elizabeth (the first was in 1939's PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX) and by this time, she had grown into the role so she didn't have to overcompensate by trying so hard. Alas, while she had the dashing Errol Flynn in ELIZABETH AND ESSEX, here she has to settle for the charmless Todd. Joan Collins plays Elizabeth's romantic rival and while undeniably lovely, she's no match for Davis in their scenes together. The handsome production design is by Leland Fuller and Lyle Wheeler and the costumes, the handiwork of Mary Wills. Henry Koster's direction is adequate but there's not much he can do with the anemic screenplay. The potent score is by Franz Waxman. With Herbert Marshall, Dan O'Herlihy, Jay Robinson, Robert Douglas and Leslie Parrish. In CinemaScope.

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