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27 April 2016

Elizabeth The Golden Age (2007)

The British-French-German-American coproduction Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007) is the sequel to Elizabeth (Shekhar Kapur, 1998), both produced by Universal Pictures and Working Title Films. Australian actress Cate Blanchett stars as Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth The Golden Age (2007)
Cate Blanchett. German postcard by Universal Pictures.de for the DVD release. Photo: Universal. Publicity still for Elizabeth: the Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007).

Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth The Golden Age (2007)
Cate Blanchett. German postcard by Universal Pictures.de for the DVD release. Photo: Universal. Publicity still for Elizabeth: the Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007).

The Trap for Elisabeth


Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a fairly fictionalised portrayal of events during the latter part of her reign. It's 1595 and Spain is the most powerful empire in the world.

King Philip II of Spain (Jordi Mollà), a devout Catholic, wants to bring down the protestant Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett). He is building an armada but needs a rationale to attack.

With covert intrigue, Spain sets a trap for the Queen and her principal secretary, Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush), using as a pawn Elizabeth's cousin Mary Stuart (Samantha Morton), who's under house arrest in the North.

The trap springs, and the armada sets sail, to rendezvous with French ground forces and to attack. During these months, the Virgin Queen falls in love with Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), keeping him close to court and away from the sea and America. Is treachery or heroism at his heart?

Elizabeth: The Golden Age premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007. The film won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and Blanchett received a nomination for Best Actress, becoming the first female actor to receive another Academy Award nomination for the reprisal of the same role.

Geoffrey Rush in Elizabeth The Golden Age (2007)
Geoffrey Rush. German postcard by Universal Pictures.de for the DVD release. Photo: Universal. Publicity still for Elizabeth: the Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007).

Clive Owen in Elizabeth The Golden Age (2007)
Clive Owen. German postcard by Universal Pictures.de for the DVD release. Photo: Universal. Publicity still for Elizabeth: the Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007).

Los Angeles' newest cause célèbre


In 1998, Elizabeth (Shekhar Kapur, 1998) had drawn swift and unequivocal praise, and Blanchett's portrayal of the queen had turned her into Los Angeles' newest cause célèbre.

A plethora of awards greeted Kapur's feature and Blanchett's performance, including a Best Actress Academy Award nomination and eight additional Oscar nods. The actress won a Golden Globe and British Academy Award, in addition to a host of critics' circle awards.

However, critics did not like the sequel. Cammila Collar at AllMovie: "As it stands on its own, Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a delightfully bombastic period melodrama, full of sex and war and beautiful dresses. Unfortunately, as a sequel to 1998's Elizabeth (which dealt with earlier events in the 16th century monarch's reign) it's a pale imitator to the throne.

The original Elizabeth grandly showcased the epic nature of a historical turning point, while simultaneously succeeding as both a political thriller and a passionately doomed romance. Add to that themes about God, power, and the manifestations of masculinity and femininity, and you had something so incredible that simply calling it a 'period film' would be like calling The Godfather just another gangster movie. This gave The Golden Age a lot to live up to as a sequel, and unfortunately, it would appear that director Shekhar Kapur just didn't attempt to do so on all fronts."

At IMDb, D. Bruce Brown writes: "It is dazzling and Blanchett can't be denied, but Elizabeth: The Golden Age is like a chick-flick with explosions plus costumes, super hair, and loud, intrusive music. The result is faux epic."

Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: the Golden Age (2007)
Cate Blanchett. German postcard by Universal Pictures.de for the DVD release. Photo: Universal. Publicity still for Elizabeth: the Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007).

Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen in Elizabeth The Golden Age (2007)
Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen. German postcard by Universal Pictures.de for the DVD release. Photo: Universal. Publicity still for Elizabeth: the Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007).


Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). Official Trailer #1. Source: Movieclips (YouTube).

Sources: Cammila Collar (AllMovie), D. Bruce Brown (IMDb), AllMovie, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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