Vanessa Redgrave’s Elizabethan Hat Trick

Posted on October 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I did not like “Anonymous,” the new film speculating that Shakespeare’s plays were written by the Earl of Oxford. (They were not.)  But I did enjoy Vanessa Redgrave’s luminous performance as Queen Elizabeth, with her daughter Joely Richardson playing the queen in her younger days.  It completes Redgrave’s sweep of the era.  In “A Man for All Seasons,” she appears briefly but unforgettably as Queen Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, so mesmerizing it is easy to understand why a king would change the world to marry her. And she also played Elizabeth’s greatest rival in the title role of “Mary Queen of Scots.”

The two queens never met in real life, but if they had, I hope they would have shown the courage and resolve of Redgrave and Glenda Jackson.

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