Walk: Hood on a glorious, nippy, sunny day at last! inclucing Mostly British Festival (Elizabeth) Distance: 4 miles
Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur's 1992 movie
And: The late and missed Roger Ebert's review:
Shekhar Kapur, who directed "The Bandit Queen" (1995) about a fierce modern Indian Robin Hood, here clothes Elizabeth, her court and her architecture in the colors and texture of medieval India. The film is largely set in vast, echoing halls, their pillars reaching up into the shadows. He is attentive to the rustle of dresses and the clank of armor, gives us a barge on the Thames like a houseboat on a lake in Kashmir. Action is glimpsed through iron filigree screens, dresses are rich with embroidery, hairstyles are ornately elaborated, and yet there is the feeling that just out of sight of these riches are the rats in the kitchen and the slop-pots in the halls. This is not the Ye Olde approach, but a society still inventing gentility; sex is so linked with politics that old Sir William demands to inspect Elizabeth's sheets every morning, to keep tabs on possibly alarming developments in her private life.
At the end of the film, Elizabeth announces, "I have become a virgin." And so she remained, ruling over and in some sense creating the England that gave us Shakespeare. Think what a play he might have written about her, if commoners had been allowed to create characters out of reigning monarchs. No doubt he retired in sheer frustration.