Louis Mercanton, Henri Desfontaines

T. ing.: Queen Elizabeth; Sog.: dall’omonimo dramma di Émile Moreau; Scen.: Émile Moreau; Int.: Sarah Bernhardt (regina Elisabetta), Lou Tellegen (Robert Devereaux, duca di Essex), Mlle. Roman (contessa di Nottingham), M. Decoeur (Sir Francis Drake), M. Maxudian (duca di Nottingham), M. Chameroy (Lord Bacon), Marie-Louise Dorval; Prod.: Le Film d’Art, Histrionic Film 35mm. L.: 1006 m. D.: 55’ a 16 f/s. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The most well-known and certainly the most cited of Bernhardt’s films, this is usually brought forward to illustrate both the advent of the feature-length film in America and the stylistic anachronism of the French Film d’Art. Imported into the United States by Adolph Zukor and serving as the impetus for his and Daniel Frohman’s “Famous Players in Famous Plays” series, it earned Zukor the money which would eventually see the foundation of Paramount Studios. Based on a stage play by Émile Moreau which ran for only 12 performances, usually described as the biggest flop of Bernhardt’s career, the film itself was a remarkable success, and demonstrable proof that film presented Bernhardt to audiences in a new and engaging way. Watch the details in the final scene, where Bernhardt is costumed and presented in the same mise-en-scène depicted by Paul Delaroche in his spectacular 1828 painting Death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603. Accelerating the action (her dying Tudor Queen does not writhe on the cushions as in Delaroche’s painting), Bernhardt also focuses her interpretation of the Queen on her private and emotional life. A fabulously protocamp moment in the early feature film, Bernhardt’s death “flop” also underscores the dual sense in which we must speak of the “moving” pictures.

Victoria Duckett


Copy From

Print made in 1992 from a 1916 nitrate dupe negative and from an acetate dupe negative