Vanessa Redgrave is nigh plain-looking in Charles Jarrott‘s Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), as she is not in Blow-Up, but she is a superb Mary Stuart. Though not without some historical inaccuracies, the film chronicles Mary’s adult life, especially in Scotland, and is too episodic, too crammed with striking incidents. It is riveting, even so, particularly when the commanding Glenda Jackson (Elizabeth I) is on screen and the duel between the two queens proceeds apace.

Timothy Dalton (Mary’s heinous husband, Lord Darnley) and especially Ian Holm are impressive as arrant losers. The film’s costumes and sets contribute much. Is Mary about anything in particular? Well, it’s about ambition in a domain of death. And it’s about fine acting.