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         Mary Queen Of Scots-1971,
     Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson, Patrick McGoohan, Timothy Dalton, Nigel Davenport, Trevor Howard, directed by Charles Jarrott.
     Wow, what a cast! They are all at the height of their careers and this troupe gives among their best performances ever for this wonderful film. Bittersweet and beautiful, this film portrays the life of Mary Queen of Scots from her arrival in Scotland until her death. The film does take the liberty of fabricating not one, but two fanciful meetings between historyís two most famous Queens of England and Scotland. The scenes fit beautifully into the film and plot so the viewer can forgive the creative license taken by the filmmakers.

     There are two canine actors with Mary in this film, both puppies. First, a small white and black pup that may be a Collie, and then a brindle Cairn pup of about 8 to 12 weeks of age. Both are featured in the scenes of Maryís imprisonment and neither is credited in the film.

     This film deserved all of its many awards. The costuming is not only beautifully crafted from materials that appear to be of the era, but it is all worn naturally. It looks as if the characters are comfortable living in the clothes. The castles where the film was shot on location are breathtaking and the acting is so superb that you cannot turn away from the film for even a minute. The film focuses mainly on the love affair between Mary and Lord Bothwell. Be forewarned, although the facts, in general, are correct, in this film they are sometimes heavily gilded with fanciful dramatizations.

      A notable exception to the reality of history is that Maryís execution is portrayed as if it was a dignified and quiet event. The director took care to include the Catholic martyrís red dress and the wig she wore to the block. In truth, Maryís execution was anything but dignified or quiet.

     Her wig was a surprise to the royal courts of the time. Mary had been imprisoned for twenty years from her twenties to her forties. She made a point of appearing for the public the way she was remembered at the time of her imprisonment with youthful auburn hair. When her severed head was lifted up to the crowd, it dramatically parted from the wig and fell, exposing her aged gray hair.
     That was a shock to all present. It was already a dreadful and dramatic mess of an execution with her little dog barking and running about in the blood by her body. Her ladies had to capture the unhappy creature so the eventís formalities could be concluded. Luckily for modern viewers, the horrible, prolonged execution is not shown in the film with any historical detail.

    The music in this film is beautiful, sadly sweet, and charming. The sets and costumes are breathtaking and the acting superb. This is one of the best Elizabethan era historical romantic dramas on film.

     This film won five Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. This film contains scenes with violence and disturbing imagery. VHS, DVD, available on Netflix.