Associate Professor of History James Goodale and Professor of Art History Christiane Andersson presented the Hollywood portrayals of Queen Elizabeth I in Tudor England on Nov. 13 at the Campus Theatre. Goodale discussed the beginning of Elizabeth’s life in “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “Elizabeth” (1998), while Andersson presented the later half of Elizabeth’s life in the mini-series version of “Elizabeth” (2005).
Throughout the event, they showed clips from the period films and analyzed their historical veracity. They also analyzed the accuracy of the plot itself and the ways in which Hollywood used lighting and music to often make the films more dramatic than Elizabeth’s life may have actually been. Goodale pointed out that the lighting used in “Elizabeth” (1998) is especially dark in the beginning of her life to contrast the brightness and purity of when she officially became “The Virgin Queen.”
Both professors helped audience members gain a more holistic and accurate view of Queen Elizabeth’s life story than the movies and series provided by themselves. They particularly noted her use of humor to get her way with Parliament when it continuously urged her to get married. As the head of her country, Elizabeth’s duties led her to be a “rational, coldblooded and deliberate woman and Protestant,” Goodale said. Queen Elizabeth I felt she wouldn’t be able to lead England as well if she were married, and cut her hair like a man to deliberately strip herself of her femininity.
The professors felt the films were fairly accurate. In the mini-series, “Elizabeth” (2005), Andersson pointed out that the producers even reconstructed White Hall from the original blueprint for the film.
They also stressed how, in Tudor England, love was a political entity rather than a romantic one. It seems that gender was also more of a “performative act,” Goodale said. Both Elizabeth and one of her suitors Henry III of France were both known to possess and project qualities of both genders for a number of motives.
The event was part of the Film/Media Series and was open to the community. There is an event every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Theatre.