"If your head had matched your heart, I would be the one awaiting death."Mary, Queen of Scots is a 1971 British biographical film about the strife between the two reigning queens on the British Isles in the late 16th century: Mary, Queen of Scots (Vanessa Redgrave) and Elizabeth, Queen of England (Glenda Jackson). The movie won several awards and Jackson would reprise the role of Elizabeth in Elizabeth R. One of the last films produced by Hollywood veteran Hal Wallis.
— Queen Elizabeth
This film provides examples of:
- Aloof Big Brother: The Earl of Moray, Mary's brother. He ambitions to rule Scotland supplanting his sister and opposes her marriage to Darnley because Darnley is Catholic and the Earl is a Protestant.
- Arranged Marriage: Mary and Francis I. Averted with her two subsequent husbands, since she married these for love.
- Artistic License – History:
- The film presents two meetings between the queens. Mary and Elizabeth never met in real life.
- Mary is depicted as enjoying a late-morning cup of hot chocolate in bed (and even requesting it when she is a prisoner) when this was not a popular drink in the British Isles until well into the 18th century.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Strongly averted. After James is born, the marriage between his parents detoriates even further.
- The Caligula: Subverted. Darnley obtains power because of his marriage to a reigning queen.
- Face Death with Dignity: Mary refuses to beg for mercy to Elizabeth in public.
- Depraved Bisexual: It's explicitely stated that before wooing and marrying Mary, Darnley had Italian courtier David Riccio as a lover, and Darnley is a spoiled asshole.
- Foregone Conclusion: If you know your history, you know it doesn't end well for Mary.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Even though Mary and Elizabeth are cousins.
- Last Chance to Quit: Elizabeth gives Mary one last chance to beg for mercy in public, but Mary refuses.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Being a movie about the reigning monarchs of the British Isles in the late 16th century, the female characters wear very spledid dresses.
- Pretty in Mink: Mink coats are wore by some characters.
- Love Ruins the Realm: Mary's marriage to Bothwell is so unpopular that it hastens her downfall.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In the first secret meeting between the two queens both of them give the other one of these.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something:
- Elizabeth is very hand-on with the affairs of the realm, as befitting of the time.
- Mary does things too, but her actions tend to worsen the situation in Scotland.
- Secret Relationship: Mary and Bothwell's relationship is secret, at first.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Averted in Mary, since she mostly makes decisions based on emotions.
- Xanatos Gambit: Elizabeth sending both Dudley and Darnley to Scotland. Either choice Mary chooses as a husband will help Elizabeth in the long term. "Win or lose the wager, I cannot lose the game."
- Yaoi Guys: Darnley and Riccio are stated in passing but explicitly as having been lovers.