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Mary of Scotland Details


Maxwell Anderson's blank-verse play Mary of Scotland was adapted for the screen by Dudley Nichols and directed with a surprising paucity of verve by John Ford. Katharine Hepburn, in one of the "icy" roles that would later earn her the onus of "box office poison", stars as Mary Stuart, who serves as the Queen of Scotland until she is jealously put out of the way by her British cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (Florence Eldredge). Sold out by the Scots nobles, Mary is sentenced to the chopping block for treason. Elizabeth is willing to pardon Mary if only the latter will renounce all claims to the British throne, but Mary refuses, marching to her death with head held high (the Mary/Elizabeth confrontation scene was purely the product of Maxwell Anderson's imagination; in real life, the two women never met). RKO contractee Ginger Rogers dearly coveted the role of Queen Elizabeth, but the studio refused to allow her to play so secondary a role. To prove to the RKO executives that she would be ideal for the part, Ginger secretly arranged for a screen test, in which she was convincingly made up as Elizabeth (even to the point of cutting her hair into a high-foreheaded widow's peak). Contemporary reports indicate that Ginger's audition was brilliant; still, RKO would not consider casting her in the part, so the role of Elizabeth went to Florence Eldridge, the wife of Fredric March, who was cast in Mary of Scotland as Mary's fearless protector the Earl of Bothwell. On the whole, Mary of Scotland is a snoozefest, save for the scenes featuring Douglas Walton as Mary's cowardly husband Darnley. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Katharine Hepburn
as Mary Stuart
Fredric March
as Earl of Bothwell
Florence Eldridge
as Elizabeth Tudor
Douglas Walton
as Darnley
John Carradine
as David Rizzio
Gavin Muir
as Leicester
Ian Keith
as James Stuart Moray
Moroni Olsen
as John Knox
William Stack
as Ruthven
Ralph Forbes
as Randolph
Alan Mowbray
as Trockmorton
Frieda Inescort
as Mary Beaton
Donald Crisp
as Huntley
David Torrence
as Lindsay
Molly Lamont
as Mary Livingston
Jean Fenwick
as Mary Seton
Lionel Pape
as Burghley
Alec Craig
as Donal
Mary Gordon
as Nurse
Monte Blue
as Messenger
Leonard Mudie
as Maitland
Brandon Hurst
as Arian
Wilfred Lucas
as Lexington
D'Arcy Corrigan
as Kirkcaldy
Frank Baker
as Douglas
Cyril McLaglen
as Faudoncide
Doris Lloyd
as Fisherman's wife
Robert Warwick
as Sir Francis Knollys
Murray Kinnell
as Judge
Lawrence Grant
as Judge
Ivan Simpson
as Judge
Nigel de Brulier
as Judge
Barlowe Borland
as Judge
Walter Byron
as Sir Francis Walsingham
Wyndham Standing
as Sergeant-at-Arms
Earl Foxe
as Earl of Kent
Paul McAllister
as Du Croche
Lionel Belmore
as English Fisherman
Robert E. Homans
as Jailer
Neil Fitzgerald
as Nobleman
Bobby Watson
as Fisherman's son
Neil Fitzgerald
as Nobleman
Robert E. Homans
as Jailer


John Ford
Pandro S. Berman
Dudley Nichols
Maxwell Anderson
Play Author
Joseph H. August
Max Steiner
Composer (Music Score)
Nathaniel Shilkret
Musical Direction/Supervision
Nathaniel Shilkret
Composer (Music Score)
Jane Loring
Van Nest Polglase
Art Director
Carroll Clark
Art Director
Darrell Silvera
Set Designer
Walter Plunkett
Costume Designer
Vernon Walker
Special Effects
Mel Burns