Elizabeth (1998)

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Cate Blanchett as: Queen Elizabeth I
Directed by: Shekhar Kapur
Selected Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes, Richard Attenborough, Vincent Cassel, Kelly Macdonald & Emily Mortimer
Written by: Michael Hirst
Release Year: 1998
Genre: Biography / Drama / History / Romance
MPAA Rating: R

This film details the ascension to the throne and the early reign of Queen Elizabeth the First, as played by Cate Blanchett. The main focus is the endless attempts by her council to marry her off, the Catholic hatred of her and her romance with Lord Robert Dudley.

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Quotes from Cate Blanchett

• “When we were in England last week, people were making parallels between Elizabeth’s situation with Elizabethan paparazzi, I guess, and Diana… And now we’re in the States, where people are talking about Clinton, how his personal life is up for grabs rather then his political platforms, which is kind of I guess a similar situation that Elizabeth found herself in.”

Quotes from Others

Kelly MacDonald
“I love Cate. I’m in awe of Cate. At the time, me and Emily Mortimer were pathetic little wannabes of Cate. We heard that she would go out jogging in the morning, so me and Emily, who were both smoking 40 a day, went too. We’d make it to the second lamppost along from the hotel, wheezing.”

Quotes from her Character

• Arundel: “Madam, you are cold.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “I do not need your pity.”
Arundel: “Accept it, then, for my sake.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “Thank you. I shall not forget this kindness.”

• Queen Mary: “Why will you not confess your crimes against me?”
Queen Elizabeth I: “Because, Your Majesty, I have committed none.”
Queen Mary: “You speak with such sincerity. I see you are still a consummate actress. My husband is gone. They have poisoned my child. They say it is a tumor.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “Madam, you are not well.”
Queen Mary: “They say this cancer will make you queen, but they are wrong. Look there, that is your death warrant. All I need do is sign it.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “Mary, if you sign that paper you will be murdering your own sister.”

• Queen Mary: “When I look at you I see nothing of the king, only that whore, your mother. My father never did anything so well as to cut off her head.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “Your Majesty forgets he was also my father.”

• Sir Francis Walsingham: “All Norfolk need do is sign this paper and treason will have been committed.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “Then let him sign it, and let it all come down.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “I have rid England of her enemies. What do I do now? Am I to be made of stone? Must I be touched by nothing?”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “Aye, but marry who, Your Grace? Would you give me some suggestion? For some say France and others Spain, and some cannot abide foreigners at all. So I am not sure how best to please you unless I married one of each.”
Noble: “Now Your Majesty does make fun of the sanctity of marriage.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “I do not think you should lecture me on that, my lord, since you yourself have been twice divorced… and are now upon your third wife!

• Queen Elizabeth I: “This is the Lord’s doing. And it is marvelous in our eyes.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “When I am queen, I promise… to act as my conscience dictates.”
Queen Mary: “Well do not think to be queen at all!”

• Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley: “Forgive me, Madam, but you are only a woman…”
Queen Elizabeth I: “I may be a woman, Sir William, but if I choose I have the heart of a man! I am my father’s daughter, and I am not afraid of anything.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “Kat… I have become a virgin.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “Tonight I think I die.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “Observe, Lord Burghley, I am married… to England.”

• Lord Robert: “Marry me.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “On a night such as this, could any woman say no?”
Lord Robert: On a night such as this, could a queen say no?”
Queen Elizabeth I: “Does not a queen sit under the same stars as any other woman?”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “He shall be kept alive to always remind me of how close I came to danger.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “There will be no more talk of marriage.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “Just tell me why.”
Lord Robert: “Why? Madam, is it not plain enough to you? It is no easy thing to be loved by the queen. It would corrupt the soul of any man.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “She has such power over men’s hearts. They died for her.”
Sir Francis Walsingham: “They have found nothing to replace her.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “I do not like wars. They have uncertain outcomes.”

• Queen Elizabeth I: “Invite the Duke of Anjou. We shall see him in flesh.”
Monsieur de Foix: “The Duke will not take kindly to a rival for his suit.”
Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley: “He is a traitor and his father before him. Lord Robert’s head will end up on a spike, not on the pillow of a Queen.”

• Lord Robert: “When you are Queen…”
Queen Elizabeth I: “I am not… I am not Queen yet!”
Lord Robert: “You will be. Elizabeth, Queen of England. A court to worship you, a country to obey you, poems written celebrating your beauty, music composed in your honor, and they will mean nothing to you. I will mean nothing to you.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “How could you ever be nothing to me? Robert, you know you are everything to me.”

• Duc d’Anjou: “What? Huh? What? Wha-do, what? You stare, Madame. What is it, do you see… something… strange perhaps? Heh-heh… Hmm?”
Queen Elizabeth I: “You are wearing a dress, Your Grace.”
Duc d’Anjou: “Oh, yes, I am wearing a dress! Yes, yes, I’m wearing a dress! Wha- I wear a dress like this, my mother, and you… Hm-hm. But I only dress like this-a, when I’m alone, in private, with my friends… Hmm?”
Queen Elizabeth I: “Your Grace. Although my affection for you is undiminished, I have, after an agonizing struggle, determined to sacrifice my own happiness for the welfare of my people.”
Duc d’Anjou: “Oh! My God, ha-ha…”

• Lord Robert: “Monsignor Alvaro! Monsignor Alvaro! Tell me. As well as ambassador, are you not also a bishop?”
De la Quadra: “I am.”
Lord Robert: “Then you can marry us!”
De la Quadra: “Marry you?”
Queen Elizabeth I: “Perhaps he does not know enough English to perform the ceremony!”

• Bishop #1: “Madam, by this act… by this act, you force us to relinquish our allegiance to the Holy Father.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “How can I force you, Your Grace? I am a woman. I have no desire to make windows into men’s souls. I simply ask, can any man, in truth, serve two masters, and be faithful to both?”
Bishop #2: “Madam, this-this is heresy!”
Queen Elizabeth I: “No, Your Grace, this is… common sense. Which is a most English virtue.”

• Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley: “Now, I really must…”
Queen Elizabeth I: “The word “must” is not used to princes!”

• Lord Robert: For God’s sake, you are still my Elizabeth.”
Queen Elizabeth I: “I am not your Elizabeth. I am no man’s Elizabeth. And if you think to rule, you are mistaken. I will have one mistress here… and no master.”

Trivia & Facts

• Filmed in England, UK, New Zealand and Australia (view all.)

• Won Oscar. Another 29 wins & 32 nominations (view all.)

• Also known as ‘Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen’.

• Cate starred in the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) with Geoffrey Rush as well.

• Cate has also starred in several plays with Geoffrey Rush.

• Geoffrey Rush also narrated the film Oscar and Lucinda (1997).

• Cate was chosen as Elizabeth after she was seen in a play in Sydney.

• Only one of three roles that actress Meryl Streep was turned down for.

• Nicole Kidman was originally considered for the lead.

• In the film, and as emphasized in its promotion, Elizabeth has bright blue eyes (Cate’s natural eye colour); however, Elizabeth is well known for having the deep amber brown eyes of her mother, Anne Boleyn, and the bright red hair of her father, Henry VIII. Cate has sensitive eyes, so she was unable to wear coloured contacts for her role.

• The costuming and shot composition of the coronation scene is based on Elizabeth’s coronation portrait. For example, Elizabeth is shown wearing her hair long. This is historically accurate, as the real Elizabeth was giving the public a sign of her virginity.

• 1998 was the only year that two performers were nominated for Academy Awards for playing the same character in two different films in the same year. Judi Dench was nominated (and won) for Best Supporting Actress for playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Cate was nominated for Best Actress for portraying Elizabeth I in this film.

• Details of some historical characters and events have been changed to fit the dramatic narrative.

• While it’s true that Henri, Duke of Anjou (later King Henri III) was generally obsessed with clothing and did on occasion dress as a woman, he never actually traveled to England to court the Queen. That honour fell instead to his younger brother François, who became Duke of Anjou in 1576, and was the only one of Elizabeth’s many suitors to court her in person.

• In the scene in which Elizabeth, dressed in red, is galloping to find Sir Robert, who is afield hunting, one long shot taken straight on clearly shows the face of the stunt double.

• Elizabeth is shown washing her face with water. In 16th-century England, water was considered dangerously unhealthy and almost never used for washing the body. Elizabeth would have “bathed” by rubbing her face with a dry cloth.

• Pope Julius II is featured in a scene in this movie, even though he had already died by the time Elizabeth was a little girl.

• The movie shows Kat Ashley as being about the same age as Elizabeth when in actuality she was much older than Elizabeth was.