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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex(1939)

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The working titles of this picture were Elizabeth the Queen, The Knight and the Lady, and Elizabeth and Essex. It was also released as Elizabeth the Queen. Modern sources state that Errol Flynn insisted that the original title, Elizabeth the Queen, be changed to acknowledge his presence in the film. When The Knight and the Lady was chosen, Bette Davis threatened to walk out of the picture. Although the title Elizabeth and Essex met with everyone's approval, writer Lytton Strachey had already copyrighted a book with that title. Hence, the title The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex was selected. According to a pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter, William Keighley was originally slated to direct this film, but was replaced by Michael Curtiz when Keighley went on vacation. Other news items in Hollywood Reporter note that production on the film was postponed after Errol Flynn was involved in a car accident which resulted in facial abrasions and stitches. Shooting had to be rearranged so that Flynn could recover. Another news item in Hollywood Reporter adds that the film was to have had its premiere in London, but the advent of the war forced Warner Bros. to move the premiere to Beverly Hills. This was Bette Davis's first Technicolor film. The film received the following Academy Awards: Best Art Direction (Anton Grot); Best Cinematography (Sol Polito and Howard Green); Best Original Score (Wolfgang Korngold); Best Recording (Nathan Levinson, the Recording Director at Warner Brothers); and Best Special Effects (Byron Haskin and H. E. Koenekamp). This picture also marked the adult film debut of Nanette Fabares, who subsequently changed her name to Nanette Fabray.