Taking a Shot: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Michael Curtiz, 1939)

The loudest thing this shot is saying to you is LOOK AT ERROL FLYNN’S LEGS. You ought to listen.


It also tells you, perhaps, that this is a rare film in which the male lead is more objectified than the female lead, and they have a passionate romance nonetheless. It clearly indicates that the woman is the one in a position of authority. You can probably guess that the age and power differences between them will be contentious matters in their relationship – as will the fact that these differences even exist.

It is for those reasons that I can say with all seriousness that if you’re not looking at Errol Flynn’s legs, you’re watching the movie wrong.


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