The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0946  Monday, 26 April 2004

From:           Richard Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 25 Apr 2004 08:53:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I

There's a new DVD (and video) of a BBC film called Gunpowder, Treason,
and Plot.  It has very high production values and is in two episodes.
Each episode is 2 hours long. The first is about Mary, and is indebted
both to the Hepburn and Redgrave versions.  It ends with Mary's
imprisonment and capture by her brother James.  The second episode
focuses on James VI about ten years before he becomes James I and ends
with the gunpowder plot.  Mary's portrait plays a prominent role. Robert
Carlyle plays James I and is really excellent. Catherine McCormack plays
Elizabeth (we see her only briefly).  Mary and Elizabeth don't meet.

  The film is only loosely based on historical "fact."  In the second
part, it becomes a quiet transparent allegory of 9/11 with James a mad,
power grabbing version of W Bush.  (in James's case, the oedipal
fixation  is on his mommy rather than his daddy).  It's kind of an
interesting antidote and demystifying bookend to the Shekar Kepur
Elizabeth film (which is relentlessly anti-Catholic).   The recent
Spartacus on tv worked similarly (with the villain Crassus quoting
Bush).  The Catholic rebels mostly look very bad, but they are given
some justification (James's broken promise of toleration).

The DVD is region 2, so you need an all region DVD player to play it if
you live outside the UK or Europe.

I bought mine from amazon.co.uk.

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