The Virgin Queen (1955 film)

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The Virgin Queen
The Virgin Queen, film poster.jpg
Original poster
Directed byHenry Koster
Produced byCharles Brackett
Written byHarry Brown
Screenplay byMildret Lord
Based onSir Walter Raleigh
StarringBette Davis
Richard Todd
Joan Collins
Music byFranz Waxman
CinematographyCharles G. Clarke
Edited byRobert L. Simpson
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 22,1955 (July 22,1955)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.6 million[1]

The Virgin Queen is a 1955 DeLuxe Color historical drama film directed by Henry Koster and starring Bette Davis, Richard Todd and Joan Collins. Filmed in CinemaScope, it focuses on the relationship between Elizabeth I of England and Sir Walter Raleigh.

The film marks the second time Davis played the English monarch; the first was The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939). It was also the first Hollywood film for Australian actor Rod Taylor.[2]

Charles LeMaire and Mary Wills were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. LeMaire won, but for another film, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955).


In 1581, Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd), recently returned from the fighting in Ireland, pressures unwilling tavern patrons into freeing from the mud the stuck carriage of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (Herbert Marshall). When Leicester asks how he can repay the kindness, Raleigh asks for an introduction to Queen Elizabeth I (Bette Davis), to whom Leicester is a trusted adviser. Leicester grants the request.

Elizabeth takes a great liking to Raleigh and his forthright manner, much to the disgust of her current favorite, Christopher Hatton (Robert Douglas). As the court ventures outside, Raleigh graciously drapes his cloak (an expensive item borrowed from a reluctant tailor) over some mud so that the queen need not soil her shoes. At dinner, Raleigh reveals his dream of sailing to the New World to reap the riches there. Elizabeth decides to make him the captain of her personal guard. He enlists his Irish friend, Lord Derry (Dan O'Herlihy).

Meanwhile, Beth Throckmorton (Joan Collins), one of the queen's ladies in waiting, very forwardly makes Raleigh's acquaintance. Raleigh's relationship with both ladies is stormy. Beth is jealous of his attentions to Elizabeth, while the queen is often irritated by his independence and constant talk of the New World. Hatton does his best to inflame her annoyance, but she is too clever to be taken in.

When Hatton informs Elizabeth that an Irishman is a member of her guard, Raleigh is stripped of his captaincy when he protests that his friend is loyal and refuses to dismiss him. Banished from court, Raleigh takes the opportunity to secretly marry Beth. Soon after, however, he is restored to Elizabeth's favor.

Finally, Elizabeth grants Raleigh not the three ships he desires, but one. He enthusiastically sets about making modifications. In private, however, Elizabeth reveals within Beth's hearing that her intentions do not include his actually leaving England. When so informed, Raleigh makes plans to sail to North America without royal permission.

Hatton tells the queen not only of Raleigh's plot, but also that he is married to Beth. Elizabeth orders the couple's arrest. Raleigh delays those sent to take him into custody so that Derry can try to take Beth into hiding in Ireland, but they are overtaken on the road, and Derry killed. Raleigh and Beth are sentenced to death, but in the end, Elizabeth releases them. They set sail for the New World.


Comic book adaption[edit]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p249
  2. ^ Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, Bear Manor Media, 2010 p 48
  3. ^ "Dell Four Color #644". Grand Comics Database.
  4. ^ Dell Four Color #644 at the Comic Book DB

External links[edit]