The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex is a 1939 American historical romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, and Olivia de Havilland. Based on the play Elizabeth the Queen by Maxwell Anderson—which had a successful run on Broadway with Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt in the lead roles—the film fictionalizes the historical relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. The screenplay was written by Norman Reilly Raine and Aeneas MacKenzie. It was the fifth of nine films that Flynn and de Havilland starred in, while it was the second of his three with Davis. The supporting cast included Donald Crisp, Henry Daniell, Henry Stephenson, and Vincent Price. The score was composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who later used a theme from the film in his Symphony in F sharp major. The Technicolor cinematography was by Sol Polito, and the elaborate costumes were designed by Orry-Kelly. The film was a Warner Bros. Pictures production, and became the hit the studio had anticipated and returned a handsome profit. Among the film's five Academy Award nominations was a nomination for Best Color Cinematography. Bette Davis was tapped to receive an Academy Award nomination for her role; however, she was nominated for Dark Victory (also from Warner) instead.

Production: Warner Home Video
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