THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX (1939) C 107m dir: Michael Curtiz
w/ Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp, Vincent Price, Donald Crisp, Alan Hale
From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex is a lavishly produced historical drama, the first picture to be released using the new fast Technicolor negative, and improved processing methods.
"Bette Davis dominates the production at every turn as Elizabeth, virgin queen of England. Her delineation would indicate that Davis did much personal research.
"Picture is a film version of Maxwell Anderson's [stage play] Elizabeth the Queen. Story details the intimate May-and-December love affair of youthful Lord Essex (Errol Flynn) and matronly Queen Elizabeth. Both are headstrong and stubborn; each is ambitious to rule England.
"Picture has its slow spots, particularly the excursion of Essex to Ireland to subdue Tyrone (Alan Hale). At times the dialog becomes brittle, and direction grooves into stagey passages that could have been lightened. Minor shortcomings, however, in the general excellence of the production."
THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX was nominated for five Oscars: Best Color Cinematography (Sol Polito), Color Art Direction (Anton Grot), Score (Erich Wolfgang Korngold), Sound Recording (Warner Bros. Studio Sound Department), and Special Effects (Byron Haskin, Nathan Levinson).