With close reference to the extract from Elizabeth,

With close mention to the infusion fromElizabeth, discourse how thematically the historical movie is designed to notice more on the period in which it was made than the period which it represents

“Between 1960 and the twelvemonth 2000 the British ceased to be one of the most inhibited, polite, orderly, tender?minded, priggish and hypocritical states in the universe and became one time once more one of the most aggressive, barbarous, raucous, vocal, barbarous and bloodthirsty.” [ 1 ]

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As the above citation from Richards explains, the temper of the UK movie industry changed markedly during the 2nd half of the 20th century. The grounds for this have every bit much to make with external socio?political factors as with internal originative splits within the film devising fraternity. It has been acknowledged that the terminal of the Second World War in 1945, followed by the subsequent displacement into the societal, political and cultural liberalism that characterised the 1960’s, everlastingly altered the institutional landscape of the humanistic disciplines in Britain as the former power held by anachronic category systems such as the nobility was replaced by a more representative cultural elite who had small involvement in perpetuating the pre?war socio?political position quo. Therefore, the societal establishments that used to act upon movie devising in the so?called flower of British films were overhauled by a new strain of histrion, manager and manufacturer. This is an of import introductory point to do with respects to the movie,Elizabeth, which rather merely would ne’er hold been produced in any other clip period.

Shekhar Kapur’s 1998 movie,Elizabethis a peculiarly interesting instance survey refering the production of historical movies as the topic is a individual who has – for the most portion – been overlooked in mainstream film. In malice of the unprecedented length of service and political success of the reign of Elizabeth I, really few movies have been made about her life and her bequest. Movie shapers have tended to prefer to concentrate on historical characters such as Henry V, who was used as a symbol of national pride by Lawrence Olivier during the battle against Hitler and his ground forcess. Generically, hence, British history has traditionally been viewed from a singularly male position. The grounds for this Tell a narrative about the function of adult females in British society in the yesteryear when even the most epic Acts of the Apostless that took topographic point within Elizabeth I’s reign ( such as the licking of the Spanish Armada ) were non deemed as worthy of cinematic propaganda. Womans were merely of all time portrayed as aesthetically beautiful existences while the function of national Jesus has historically been reserved entirely for the work forces.

“Historically, there have ever been certain overlappings of the cinematic image and the representation of the adult female. The woman’s relation to the camera is rather different from that of the male.” [ 2 ]

Elizabethis hence a movie that says every bit much about the clip period during which it was made ( the 1990’s ) than the clip frame during which the sovereign herself lived and reigned as the Queen is at last brought into line with the remainder of the history movie genre by holding a biographic film made about her life. This is a discernibly modern film. The most starkly apparent testimony to this is the portion ascribed to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester ( played by Joseph Feines ) and his overtly coquettish relationship with the Queen ( played by Cate Blanchett ) . Although history corroborates the theory that he was an of import portion of the Queen’s interior circle, there is perfectly no grounds to propose a sexual relationship of all time took topographic point between Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester. Indeed, the modern-day rubric of ‘the virgin Queen’ would look to propose that, as Elizabeth herself repeated on many occasions, she was betrothed to her people ; non to a adult male. However during the late 1990’s – amid the detonation of ‘girl power’ in the UK – to do a movie about a austere, continent female caput of province would hold been culturally unpopular every bit good as offering small insight into a clip frame that has already been good documented in books and first manus histories from the 16th century.

Aside from the obvious issue of gender that resides at the bosom of the film, there are besides certain other marks of the clip frame in which the film was made, which are accentuated in this biopic of a character that lived over four hundred old ages ago. For illustration, the graphic portraiture of a baleful imperial tribunal that borders on a close constabulary province speaks volumes about the dominant cultural and political temper of the clip that was progressively concerned with the corruptness of politicians. In the United States, Bill Clinton was undergoing a drawn-out procedure of impeachment while in the United Kingdom consecutive Tory and New Labour authoritiess were labelled with charges of ‘sleaze’ . This is instantly apparent in the word picture of the tribunal, peculiarly the portraiture of Sir Francis Walsingham ( played by Geoffrey Rush ) who stalks the film in a discernibly late 20th century manner as the embodiment of political corruptness and province sponsored immorality.


“Cinema as a photographic medium immediately poses its images and sounds as recorded phenomena, whose building occurred in another clip and topographic point. Yet though the figures, objects and topographic points represented are absent from the infinite in which the screening takes topographic point, they are besides ( and astoundingly ) present.” [ 3 ]

As Ellis concludes, film has a alone and polar portion to play in conveying history and past events to life. Fictional characters that were antecedently confined to 2nd manus literature and rumor are now seeable in existent clip, transported through history to the present epoch without losing their set historical context. Yet the thought that historical events can be portrayed precisely as they appeared is wholly false as this fails to take into history the witting and subconscious influences of the clip in which the movie were made. When one thinks, for case, of the differing function ascribed to Native Indians in US film, the point is more easy understood.Elizabethis, in the concluding analysis, merely such a historical movie that seeks to do modern a mediaeval character for the intent of enhanced audience engagement.


Ellis, J. ( 1982 )Visible Fictions: Film: Television: VideoLondon, Routledge

Hollows, J. , Hutchings, P. and Jancovich, M. ( Eds. ) ( 2000 )The Film Studies ReaderLondon: Arnold

Lay, S. ( 2002 )British Social Realism: from Documentary to Brit GritNew York: Wallflower

Murphy, R. ( Ed. ) ( 2001 )The British Cinema Book: Second EditionLondon: British Film Institute

Richards, J. ( 1997 )Movies and British National Identity: from Dickens to Dad’s ArmyManchester: Manchester University Press

Street, S. ( 1997 )British National CinemaLondon: Routledge

Selected Articles

Doanne, M. ( 2000 )Film and the Masquerade: Speculating the Female Spectator, quoted in, Hollows, J. , Hutchings, P. and Jancovich, M. ( Eds. )The Film Studies ReaderLondon: Arnold


Elizabeth( Shekhar Kapur, 1998 )

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