The theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, who penned Shakespeare's plays. Set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex rebellion against her.
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Was Shakespeare a Fraud?
Rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content
Dolby Digital, SDDS, DTS
Country Of Origin
French, Italian, Greek, Ancient (to 1453)
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Anonymous is a 2011 political thriller and pseudo-historical drama film. Directed by Roland Emmerich and written by John Orloff, the movie is a fictionalized version of the life of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, an Elizabethan courtier, playwright, poet and patron of the arts. Starring Rhys Ifans (de Vere) and Vanessa Redgrave (Queen Elizabeth I), Anonymous utilizes emerging VFX CG technology to recreate exterior period backgrounds in and around old London, circa 1550–1604.
After a delivered by Derek Jacobi, the film opens with Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, ordering a desperate search for a trove of manuscripts. Ben Jonson, who has the manuscripts, hides them in the Rose theatre, but it is burned down while being searched. Successive flashbacks cast us back five and then forty years, as the film evokes the reputed life of Edward de Vere from childhood through to his entanglement in an insurrection, and later on to his death.
The main action takes place towards the end of the Elizabethan era as political intrigue flourishes between the Tudors and the Cecils (father William and son Robert), over the succession to Queen Elizabeth I. In flashbacks, de Vere is portrayed as a prodigious genius, writing at eight or nine years of age (1558/1559) A Midsummer Night's Dream, de Vere acting the role of Puck before the young queen Elizabeth. He is then forced to live in the repressive, puritanical house of William Cecil where, years later, he kills a spying servant lurking behind an arras, much like the death of Polonius in Hamlet. William Cecil uses this murder to blackmail de Vere into a loveless marriage with his daughter, Anne Cecil, compelling him also to renounce literature. De Vere later becomes the Queen's lover, and sires – unknown to him – an illegitimate son; the son is adopted, becoming Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, but his true parentage is hidden from all but the Cecils.
De Vere must struggle against a taboo that would forbid him to write; against his wife's impatience with his literary work as a dishonour to her family; and against the Queen's counsellors. Foremost among these is his father-in-law William Cecil, who is convinced that theatres are sinful. Cecil's plan to have James, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots crowned king is also threatened by the presence of de Vere's and the Queen's child, who would be an alternative contender for the throne, and also of pure Tudor lineage.
Almost four decades after his private première, de Vere visits a public theatre and is deeply impressed by the way spectators can be swayed. The play, written by Ben Jonson, is halted mid-perfomance by the royal militia because of its allegedly seditious content. Jonson is arrested and imprisoned. Much taken by the propagandistic power of art, considering that "all art is political ... otherwise it is just decoration," de Vere decides to employ his secretly written plays for the promotion of the Earl of Essex's cause (Essex being another of the Queen's illegitimate sons) over the candidate preferred by the Cecils, writing Henry V and, later, Richard III as propaganda designed to foment revolution. He