I hated the 1998 movie Elizabeth, and I don't expect to think much of the sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age. So I'm pleased to report that Turner Classic Movies will be airing an antidote tonight: John Ford's Mary of Scotland, based on Maxwell Anderson's play of the same name. I'm not ordinarily a fan of Ford's Old World pictures, and I can't say this one is a particularly good film in itself. Nor is it very accurate as history. But it's the one Hollywood movie I'm aware of that presents Elizabeth I as a villain, an approach so rare that I'll recommend it on those grounds alone.
I figure that as an Irishman, Ford hated the English. Either that, or he decided deriding a beloved English heroine might make up for all the roles he would give to Victor McLaglen, the Steppin Fetchit of Irish America.
Mary of Scotland airs at 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time, when it kicks off 24 hours of historical biopics. But if you're a hard-core Elizabeth-hater, you should turn off TCM when the movie is done and rent the second season of Blackadder, with Miranda Richardson playing the queen as a ditsy twit.