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The cinematic afterlife of an early modern political diva
Elisabeth Bronfen and Barbara Straumann

moments, the body of Elizabeth I and the theatricalisation of her power intersect with the body of the modern film star. In order to do so, we focus on four actresses: Flora Robson in Fire Over England (William Howard, 1937) and The Sea Hawk (Michael Curtiz, 1940), Bette Davis in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Michael Curtiz, 1939) and The Virgin Queen (Henry Koster, 1955), Jean Simmons

in The British monarchy on screen
Open Access (free)
Quentin Crisp as Orlando’s Elizabeth I
Glyn Davis

casting of Crisp in Orlando could be read as appropriate. Elizabeth I did not marry or have children, and was known as ‘the Virgin Queen’. Christopher Haigh, in his biography of Elizabeth I, reveals that a Scottish emissary said to the Queen, ‘[Y] our Majesty thinks that if you were married you would be but queen of England, and now you are both king and queen!’ 8 Crisp, despite the erotic exploits

in The British monarchy on screen
Basil Glynn

quasi-religiously adored virgin Queen Bess’. 21 Elizabeth is memorialised on screen as a queen who placed the needs of her nation above her sexual and reproductive desires, sac-rificing ‘the “natural” destiny of a woman, marriage and children, trading personal happiness for public power’. 22 Her self-negation is linked to a glorious reign ‘of imperial and creative supremacy’ 23 in films such as Fire

in The British monarchy on screen
Open Access (free)
Mandy Merck

machinations of little-known parliamentarians. 8 But the family values espoused in the Victorian canon are a world away from the themes explored in films portraying her greatest screen rival, Elizabeth I. Unencumbered by the reserved image of an English gentlewoman, the Virgin Queen enters the cinema as the diva of royal representation – magnificent, passionate, singular. Fittingly, her most notable early film

in The British monarchy on screen
Open Access (free)
Sarah Bernhardt, Queen Elizabeth and the development of motion pictures
Victoria Duckett

. Visually, the mise-en-scène is almost identical to Delaroche. Details are true, too, to recorded history: we know, for instance, that ermine was long an emblem of chastity and thus considered appropriate to the depiction of the Virgin Queen. We know that Elizabeth was painted with an ermine on her arm in 1585 (the ‘Ermine’ portrait, attributed to William Segar). We also know that during her final hours

in The British monarchy on screen
Open Access (free)
Amateur film, civic culture and the rehearsal of monarchy
Karen Lury

declaration, the crowning of the Queen of the South, the singing of the song and various ceremonial parades around the town, as well as a ball. 21 Smith suggests that the centrality of the coronation of a ‘virginqueen in these festivals testifies to the sense of security attained when people ‘reaffirm the rightness of the moral rules by which they live or feel they ought to live’ in a society ‘held together

in The British monarchy on screen