TBTo the Screen

"The Virgin Queen" (1955)

The year is 1581. Elizabeth the 1st (Bette Davis) uses her power and influence to captivate Sir Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd). Raleigh is loyal to the Queen but does not see that she wants him to love her. When the Queen finds out that Raleigh marries another, she wants off with his head and of his wife’s.

While the verbose dialogue and commanding performances carry this film, the regal costumes attract the eyes. Raleigh wears a variety of knee high boots including a pair of brown suede. He also wore a beautiful embroidered teal cloak. The scene of Raleigh negotiating to have the cloak is mesmerizing. The Queen’s jewelry was unspeakable, unlike anything anyone will own, naturally.

From the castle to the pubs, the set design was authentic to the medieval era and another key element in making this a strong film.