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Mary of Scotland 1936


Mary of Scotland (1936) starring Katherine Hepburn, Fredric March, John Carradine

Synopsis of Mary of Scotland

A historical movie, dealing with the life of Mary of Scotland, with some typical Hollywood liberties with historical fact, but with excellent performances all around.

Review of Mary of Scotland

I’m not a big fan of Hollywood’s historical movies.  They tend to take large liberties with historical fact to tell their stories. Some will accuse Mary of Scotland of this as well. But the essential facts are there, as well as wonderful to performances all around.  Especially by:

  • Katherine Hepburn (Stage Door)as the titular  Mary of Scotland
  • Fredric March (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) as the man who truly loves her
  • John Carradine (The Howling) as her only friend
  • Florence Eldridge as the false friend Queen Elizabeth.

It’s not a happy movie by any stretch, but it’s a wonderful movie with riveting performances by everyone, and highly recommended.

Editorial review of Mary of Scotland courtesy of Amazon.com

Katharine Hepburn stars as the titular Scottish regent whose return to her native land from France in the company of secretary David Rizzio (John Carradine) alarms Queen Elizabeth I (Florence Eldridge), the latter keenly aware of her cousin’s ambitions for the British throne. Yet Mary must first deal with the Scottish nobility, led by her half-brother, the Earl of Moray (Ian Keith), who challenges her Catholic faith and unmarried status. The Protestant Earl of Bothwell (Fredric March), smitten with Mary, helps her win over the nobility and assume the throne of Scotland.

Despite her love for Bothwell, she refuses to marry him, instead wedding the fickle Lord Darnley (Douglas Walton) since he is the heir to Elizabeth’s throne. The Virgin Queen retaliates by plotting with Moray to end Mary’s reign. Despite Katharine Hepburn’s preference for George Cukor, producer Pandro Berman chose Ford to direct this adaptation of Maxwell Anderson’s apocryphal blank-verse drama. Hepburn responds with a galvanic performance, and Ford’s influence, most noticeable in the imaginatively photographed interiors, lends dramatic resonance to MARY OF SCOTLAND’s enjoyable blend of myth, history, and inspired pageantry.

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