Monitor Picks

As Cate Blanchett returns to screens in the role of Queen Elizabeth I, we salute five other great movie monarchs.

Queen Christina (1933)

The pacing is slow and the history suspect. But Greta Garbo's censor-taunting turn as an unconventional queen of Sweden is a treat, thanks to her fun-loving, gender-bending performance and some of the best outfits this side of the 17th century.

Mary of Scotland (1936)

Her character lost her head, and Katharine Hepburn nearly lost her career after becoming "box-office poison" when moviegoers rejected this film. The film's slow and corny in spots, but the star is radiant as a strong-willed Mary, Queen of Scots.

The Private lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

Before topping her career as Margo Channing in "All About Eve," Bette Davis surprised Hollywood by letting herself be aged 30 years to play Elizabeth I, another woman obsessed by the passage of time. Check out her slap of costar Errol Flynn; he bitterly complained that she packed quite a punch.

Mrs. Brown (1997)

We think of Queen Victoria as the ultimate sourpuss, but Judi Dench's delicate performance shows us the heart beating inside this powerful lady as she finds love and security in an unlikely place.

The Queen (2006)

As played by Helen Mirren, Elizabeth II is stiffly regal and deeply isolated, but hardly a woman of stone.

Also notable: Hepburn and Dench won Oscars for playing Eleanor of Aquitaine and Elizabeth I, respectively, in 1968's "The Lion In Winter" and 1998's "Shakespeare in Love."

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