Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Reel People: Clive Owens is Sir Walter Raleigh

The film is The Golden Age were Clive Owens will star along-side Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I.

Sir Walter Raleigh is more famous for his association with Queen Elizabeth I, then she is for her association with him. Walter Raleigh was much younger than Elizabeth born in 1552, just six years before Elizabeth I would take the throne. He was born of a wealthy protestant family, which initially was unfortunate in some regards as Mary I was queen of England in his earliest days and trying to re-establish Catholicism as the church of England in his earliest childhood. Some attribute such events as creating a disdain for Catholics by Raleigh. He Attended Oxford for some time, and eventually joined with the Huguenots in the French Wars of Religion, and then returned to London to study law, although whether he actually attended school or studied law is up for historical debate. In the late 1570s/early 1580s Raleigh was very involved with fighting and suppressing Irish rebellions, and for a good time set up residence in Ireland.

To Americans Raleigh is most important for establishing the first colonies in the new world as he attempted twice to set up Virginia colony (named after the virgin queen herself) in Roanoke Island in 1584 and again in 1587. Raleigh paved the way for American colonization, although his initial attempts were relatively unsuccessful.

Elizabeth I first came in contact with Raleigh in the early 1580s as a result of his success in squelching the Irish rebellions, he was knighted, and later became captain of the Queen's guard. In 1591 Raleigh secretly married one of Elizabeth I's ladies-in-waiting, Elizabeth Throckmorton ("Bess"). When the Queen eventually learned of this unauthorized marriage Raleigh, and Raleigh was imprisoned and his wife dismissed from court. Raleigh was later released and was able to establish a respectable life with his wife, and in the community where he lived. He also went in search of El Dorado, a golden city along the Caroni River in the Orinoco River Basin (now, Venezuela).

In 1603, when Queen Elizabeth I died, Raleigh was imprisoned by the new king, James VI of Scotland. He was sentenced to death and spent 16 years in the tower of London where Raleigh wrote the first volume of "History of the World" about Greece and Rome. Raleigh was released from prison for a second journey in search of El Dorado. El Dorado was not discovered, and on the journey the crew led an unauthorized attack of the Spanish. The Spanish demanded that Raleigh's death sentence be reinstated. James VI followed the request of the Spanish, and Raleigh was beheaded in 1618.

In the Golden Age directed by Shekhar Kapur, will focus on the relationship between Raleigh (Owens) and the Queen (Blanchett). The role of Bess will be played by rising-star Abbie Cornish.

This biographical film could certainly earn Academy nominated actor Owens some critical awards attention this year for his portrayal of this Real (Reel) Person.

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AK said...

I'm so proud of you and each of your mini-bios about these people. I love to watch movies about real historical figures, so you are giving me several to look forward to. By the way - I have not stopped my Pulitzer reading. I finally caught up on my postings except I just finished a book that I need to write about. I'm up to 1920 now!

Kimberly Ann said...

I feel like I am getting a wonderful Cliff Notes on history reading your posts. Like AK, I am getting very excited for some of these movies I have read about on here.

Brian Erickson said...

Sigh. I want to see The Golden Age soo much.

Anonymous said...

in "reel people" you forgot the great Julianne Moore as Barbara Daly Baekeland in "Savage Grace"... I hope she 'll get nominated for this one as best actress in 2008....

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