Tuesday, June 7, 2011


By D.E.Levine

Since Shakespeare's work first appeared people have been trying to prove or disprove whether William Shakespeare actually wrote the plays,poems and sonnets.

Anonymous puts for the idea the Edware de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the actual author.

The idea is that disgrace to the royal line would happen if de Vere (Rhys Ifans) put his own name on the work. To avoid this he makes a deal with Ben Johnson (Sebastian Armesto), an established but struggling playwright. However, as things turn out, Will Shakespeare winds up getting an Ed accepting the credit and de Vere allows himself to be blackmailed into continuing the arrangement.

Queen Elizabeth I (Joely Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave as the younger and older versions) gets involved because she loves plays and admires Shakespeare's. She also has a rather flamboyant sex life and has, throughout her life, relationships with various men who impregnate her. According to the film, the virgin queen had several illegitimate children, including one with de Vere. But according to the film, she also had a relationship with de Vere's biological father that resulted in Edward de Vere being born (which would make Elizabeth his mother as well as his lover).

Roland Emmerich directs this film which has more twists, turns and scheming than a modern thriller. The Queen's Puritan adviser William Cecil (David Twelis), who is also de Vere's foster father and father-in-law, plans a takeover with his hunchback son Robert (Robert Hogg). They are brilliantly perverse, devious and wicked.

Emmerich piles conspiracy theory on conspiracy theory, all taken from actual historical theory and speculation.

The theory and film are interesting, with beautiful costumes, scenery and acting. Whether or not society will accept any of the speculation remains to be seen. After all, Emmerich didn't create these theories. He's just reporting what existed and exists, in an interesting fashion.