This is a fascinating book. I don't have to tell you the subject matter of it, obviously, but the authors compare the actual known history of each queen and then compare it to how various film versions of that queen's life went. They note which movies focus more on the men in the queen's life (they consider any movie where the movie doesn't start until the queen meets a man a no-no), and where other biases come into filming. Romantic interests are clearly thrown in where they didn't exist so much fairly often, such as with Queen Christina who was probably a lesbian, or claiming that Catherine the Great and Peter were more romantic than they ever were.
Some movies try to strengthen their queen, others deliberately weaken her, particularly Cleopatra. Speaking of crazy biases, I was particularly horrified to find out about the existence of George Bernard Shaw's "Caesar and Cleopatra," which he apparently wanted to do as another version of Pygmalion and seemed to insist that Caesar and Cleopatra weren't sexual. Um, what?! I was also surprised to learn that Sofia Coppola's very stylized, using modern music/shoes "Marie Antoinette", was actually very accurate when it came to period dialogue. Go figure.
It's interesting to compare the older movies featuring famous movie queens of the day, compared to later movies. As the book puts it:
Clearly the authors are huge fans of Elizabeth I (the Mary chapter seems to focus on her as little as they can get away with so they can talk about Elizabeth some more!), and then they really get into her in the later chapter. Of course, there's plenty of movies made about her for comparison, but they seem to really love the "Elizabeth R" miniseries because it's very comprehensive. I was also intrigued to find out about "Young Bess," a movie that features a less-emphasized period of history in Elizabeth I's life, where she was involved in an awkward love triangle between her last stepmother and the guy she married after Henry's death.
I was also pleased to see that they do mention "The Queen" (on Elizabeth II) at the end, even if there isn't another movie of its ilk to compare to another one.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it's very well done and intriguing to read. Five stars.