Mary of Scotland
Directed by John Ford and Leslie Godwins (uncredited)
Written by Dudley Nichols from the play by Maxwell Anderson
RKO Radio Pictures
For some reason I just couldn’t get into this film despite its fine production values.
Katharine Hepburn plays Mary, heir to the throne of England, who returns to Scotland from France at the beginning of the film. She is immediately confronted by the hostility of the Lairds that have been ruling Scotland in her absence and Presbyterian firebrand John Knox and the emnity of Elizabeth I. Her one champion is Bothwell (Fredric March) and they fall in love. However, she is more or less forced to marry Darnley, who is second in line to the English throne, to solidify her claims. Things do not turn out well for anyone concerned. Well, maybe eventually for baby James.
This was based on a stage play and while the filmmaking is quite cinematic the dialogue remains stagebound and flowery. I thought Hepburn’s performance was uneven. She often overdid it but then would be radiant once more. I thought Florence Eldridge was perfectly awful as Elizabeth. I have to admit that the film is beautiful to look at. John Ford got a “Special Recommendation” for this at the Venice Film Festival.
For TCM clips go here: http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/208648/Mary-of-Scotland-Movie-Clip-Another-Sovereign.html