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Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The (Warner 1939, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn)



Michael Curtiz directs an all-star cast in a lavish historical epic that featured as many fireworks on the set between Davis and Flynn as appeared on-screen. Bette Davis makes an imperious Elizabeth who is both drawn to and suspicious of the dashing Essex (Errol Flynn), who returns in triumph from Spain.

Although in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex Errol Flynn plays Essex to Bette Davis’s Queen Elizabeth, in reality Davis was not captivated with Flynn. She campaigned to have Laurence Olivier replace him.

Academy Award Nominations: 5.

production details
USA | Warner Bros. | 106 minutes | 1939

Director: Michael Curtiz
Producer: Robert Lord
Original Story: Maxwell Anderson
Directors of Photography: W. Howard Greene, Sol Polito
Editing: Owen Marks
Music:Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Script: Aeneas MacKenzie, Norman Reilly Raine
Production Design: Anton Grot

Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth
Doris Lloyd as Handmaiden
John Sutton as Capt. Armand of the Queen’s Guard
Henry Daniell as Sir Robert Cecil
Donald Crisp as Francis Bacon
Robert Warwick as Lord Mountjoy
I. Stanford Jolley as Spectator Outside Whitehall Palace
Vincent Price as Sir Walter Raleigh
Leo G. Carroll as Sir Edward Coke
Alan Hale as The Prince of Tyrone
Errol Flynn as The Earl of Essex
Olivia de Havilland as Lady Penelope Gray
Henry Stephenson as Lord Burghley
James Stephenson as Sir Thomas Egerton
Nanette Fabray as Mistress Margaret Radcliffe
Ralph Forbes as Lord Knollys
Guy Bellis as Lord Charles Howard
Forrester Harvey as Bit Part
Holmes Herbert as Majordomo
Rosella Towne as Lady of the Court
Maris Wrixon as Lady of the Court