MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (1972). Director: Charles Jarrott.
Handsomely produced version of the story of the 16th century rivalry between Queen Elizabeth of England (Glenda Jackson) and Mary Queen of Scots (Vanessa Redgrave). John Hale's screenplay employs some dramatic license in the two scenes when the two women, who actually never met, confront each other, as well as in the relationship between Mary's friend, Italian musician David Rizzio (Ian Holm) and her husband Lord Darnley (Timothy Dalton), who are both made bisexual. [Trying to be "modern," this aspect actually has a dated quality to it.] Christopher Challis' photography is excellent, and there are many fine performances. Timothy Dalton practically steals the picture with his alternately ferocious and mewling portrait of Darnley. Nigel Davenport and Patrick MaGoohan are also solid as, respectively, the Earl of Bothwell and Mary's brother James. As good as Redgrave and Jackson are as the Queens, they don't quite work up the dramatic fireworks that certain actresses of the golden age (say Davis and Hopkins) would have.
Verdict: Flawed but fascinating. ***.