The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

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Davis as Elizabeth I

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex is a 1939 historical movie. It is about the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. The movie stars Bette Davis and Errol Flynn. The movie was directed by Michael Curtiz. It was based on the Maxwell Anderson play, Elizabeth the Queen.

The play had been a Broadway success with Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt in the lead roles. The supporting cast in the movie included Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp, Henry Daniell, Henry Stephenson, and Vincent Price. The score was composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. He later used a theme from the movie in his Symphony in F sharp major.

The Technicolor cinematography was by Sol Polito. The elaborate costumes were designed by Orry-Kelly. The movie was a Warner Brothers production. The movie was a hit. It received five Academy Award nominations including Best Color Cinematography. Bette Davis was expected to receive a nomination. She was nominated instead for Dark Victory.