Showing posts with label Timothy Dalton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Timothy Dalton. Show all posts

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mary, Queen of Scots revisited

Over the long weekend, I got to indulge my weakness for period films and I watched again for the first time Mary, Queen of Scots, one of my all-time favorites and one of the first period dramas that I saw as a kid. It has been over thirty years since I first saw this movie, but it still holds up beautifully for me.

Despite Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren, Glenda Jackson will always be Elizabeth I for me, which is interesting because despite the title of the movie, I came away from watching this as a pre-teen with an Elizabeth-over-Mary bias that still holds true to this day. Like Elizabeth, I can't help despising Mary for her weak head and wayward heart. Vanessa Redgrave plays up this side of Mary beautifully, and I couldn't help but remember the beautiful Natasha Richardson as I watched her mother as a young woman.

It was also a surprise for me to see Timothy Dalton as Henry Lord Darnley. When I saw this movie eons ago, I remember that Darnley made my skin crawl, as he is suppposed to, but I don't know that it ever entered my consciousness in the intervening years that Dalton played this role and did it so well.

Having visiting Holyroodhouse and Edinburgh Castle less than a month ago, I was particularly aware of how well they reproduced the scenes that took place in these locations.

Rizzio's murder burned in my brain when I witnessed it when I first watched the movie, and I was surprised to find that this time around Rizzio himself was a far more likeable character than I remembered. I had always categorized him as a Rasputin type, but that's not how he was portrayed in this movie.

Another scene that I remember vividly from my youth was the scene at the beginning when Mary and Francis II of France are boating and he is struck by a seizure. That terrified me then, and it still does.

Back to portrayals of Elizabeth and Mary, I credit my early viewing of this movie as placing me firmly in the Elizabeth camp, and much as I love Austen, I never could wrap my head around her allegiance to Mary. Maybe she really is more of a Romantic than I have given her credit for.

Maybe I'll get A Man for All Seasons (Special Edition)
next. I remember seeing that movie shortly after Mary, Queen of Scots as a kid, and it also made a deep impression.