15/05/2017
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Mary Queen of Scots movie - the life of Mary Queen of Scots on film

609801b8-38ef-4c2c-9110-97ba8fc25adc

With reports of a new Mary Queen of Scots movie due to be filmed later in 2017, we take a look at how the Stewart queen has been portrayed on film over the years. Explore Mary's life in the History Scotland Stewart monach digital special.

Following the news that a Mary Queen of Scots movie will be shot in Edinburgh, starring Saoirse Ronan in the lead role, with Beau Willimon as writer, we decided to look back at three different films starring the Stewart queen, which between them span almost a century.

Mary's tragic story, with the death of her father King James V just days after her birth, followed by her childhood in France, return to Scotland and eventual execution in England, on the orders of her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, has provided film-makers with plenty of inspiration.

The execution of Mary Queen of Scots (1895)

This Victorian film starring a Mrs Robert L Thomas as Mary, used some of the first known film special effects, where the execution scene was edited to replace Mary with a mannequin before the executioner's axe fell. Although the film lasts for just eighteen seconds, its has deservedly taken a place in film history.

Mary of Scotland (1936)

This 1936 Mary Queen of Scots movie featured Katharine Hepburn in the role of the Stuart queen. The movie was adapted from a 1933 play by Maxwell Anderson. In this clip, Mary passionately talks about the effects of her imprisonment.

Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)

Vanessa Redgrave played the tragic Stewart queen, opposite Glenda Jackson as Queen Elizabeth I of England in this 1971 movie from British Universal Pictures. Despite the fact (or perhaps because of the fact) that the film departed from actual events in order to increase the drama - for example the two queens are twice shown in a face-to-face meeting, when in fact they never met - the film received several Golden Globe nominations, including best motion picture and best motion picture actress (Redgrave and Jackson).

Back to "Features" Category

15/05/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

King James IV declared war on England - On this day in history

King James IV of Scotland declared war on England on 26 July 1513. ...


Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh died - On this day in history

Charles Macintosh, the inventor of the Mackintosh raincoat, died on 25 July 1843. ...


The Battle of Harlaw was fought - On this day in Scottish history

The Battle of Harlaw was fought on 24 July 1411. ...


New curator appointed at Blairs Museum

Dr Alison Burke has been appointed as the new curator of the Scottish Catholic Heritage Collection at Blairs ...


Other Articles

The archaeological story of the Isle of May - new exhibition at Isle of May Lighthouse

A new exhibition at Isle of May lighthouse features items from the May Island monastery, shown for the very ...


Maritime archaeology project to survey shipwrecks of the German High Seas Fleet gets underway in Orkney

A collaborative maritime archaeology project to survey World War I shipwrecks is underway in Orkney, using ...


Bonnie Prince Charlie began the Jacobite Rising - On this day in Scottish history

Charles Edward Stuart landed at Eriskay on 23 July 1745, beginning the Jacobite Rising. ...


Joan of England was born - On this day in Scottish history

Joan of England, the wife of King Alexander II of Scotland, was born on 22 July 1210. ...