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Bio-picsA Life in Pictures$
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Ellen Cheshire

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172059

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172059.001.0001

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A Royal Affair

A Royal Affair

The Majesty of Royal Representations

(p.109) 8 A Royal Affair

Ellen Cheshire

Columbia University Press

Royal bio-pics have been a mainstay of commercial cinema since its inception. Historians fear them as, ultimately, they are seen as a commercial and entertainment venture first and historical document second. Inevitably filmmakers will have to condense, elide, edit, and re-organize a life in order to make a satisfactory and coherent narrative. This chapter examines four films that explore the lives of queens. These include Asian director Shekhar Kapur's take on English history with his pair of films on Elizabeth I, Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007); American director Sofia Coppola's version of French history in Marie Antoinette; and the British director Stephen Frears'examination of a short period in the life of Elizabeth II in The Queen.

Keywords:   royal bio-pics, films, royalty, English history, Elizabeth I, Elizabeth II, Sofia Coppola, Marie Antoinette, Stephen Frears, The Queen

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