Young Bess (1953)

Young Bess (1953), directed by George Sidney.

A much fictionalized account of Queen Elizabeth I from her birth to accession to the throne at age 25, being the last surviving child of Henry VIII.

It's mostly a costume and romance piece, a "talking" rather than a "moving" picture. No action or swashbuckling.

The only reason to see it would be if you are a fan of the cast. We have two lovely and talented women: Jean Simmons and Deborah Kerr, plus Charles Laughton doing Henry VIII for the second time. Stewart Granger provides somewhat younger manliness -- and a love interest for both women -- but without swordplay there isn't much need for him.

I like the young Edward VI who became king at age 9, complaining about his guardians: "They won't give me enough pocket money to bribe my own servants!"

It's pointless to complain too much about bad history in this sort of picture, but I wish they wouldn't pretend that King Henry executed each of his six wives. Memorize this:


divorced, beheaded, died

divorced, beheaded, survived

...and you will know more history than many screenwriters. Also:

Kerr was originally going to play Bess several years earlier. Simmons and Granger were married at this time.

Miklós Rózsa score, more mainstream sounding than much of his film music.

Available on Warner Archive DVD. Technicolor, but it needs restoration.