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Rasputin and the Empress (1932)

Passed  -  Drama | History  -  24 March 1933 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 442 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 10 critic

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Directors:

(as Richard Boleslavsky) , (uncredited)

Writer:

(screen play)
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Title: Rasputin and the Empress (1932)

Rasputin and the Empress (1932) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Tad Alexander ...
The Czarevitch
...
Prince Chegodieff
Diana Wynyard ...
Natasha
C. Henry Gordon ...
Grand Duke Igor
...
Doctor Remezov
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Clarence Wilson ...
(scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 March 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rasputin and the Empress  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Brabin was originally assigned to direct. After several run-ins with Ethel Barrymore, who condescendingly referred to him as Mr. Theda Bara, he was taken off the project. Brabin was married to the silent screen legend Theda Bara. Richard Boleslawski was brought in to direct and given sole directorial credit, although several of Brabin's completed scenes remain in the finished film. See more »

Goofs

Although considered to be a mystic, Rasputin was neither a monk and nor was he unmarried. He had left behind a wife and several children in his native village on the outskirts of Russia. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Russian National Anthem
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Played during the opening credits and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great as dramatic history but as for Russian history...
7 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

...forget about it. This film is completely inaccurate in its portrayal of actual events in Russian history. As for the nature and character of the historical figures involved, the three Barrymores give good renditions. There is Ethel Barrymore looking every inch the empress and giving a convincing portrayal of a woman concerned for the welfare of her very ill son - and I would expect that. What I didn't expect is how weird it would be to watch a film in which John Barrymore is the shining hero and Lionel Barrymore is a truly diabolical villain, and each are spectacularly convincing in their portrayals. Lionel is really the center of attention here as he plays the evil Rasputin whose ability to sidestep assassination attempts is legendary, and here a few logical explanations are given to some of his alleged abilities. However, none can explain what happened at the end of his life - how he was poisoned, bludgeoned, shot, and finally thrown into an icy river and still managed to cling to life for awhile.

Although Tsar Nicholas is accurately portrayed as a rather weak willed man and the Romanov marriage is also accurately portrayed as one of the few royal arranged marriages that also turned out to be a love match, there is a mischaracterization of the Tsar as being progressive and wanting a Duma only to have Rasputin defeat that plan. In fact, Nicholas was autocratic in his outlook and distrusted any attempt to give the people more say in their government. This sets up one of the great ironic struggles in the film - that of aristocrat Prince Paul Chegodieff (John Barrymore) wanting more for the peasants in the way of both bread and democracy, and that of peasant mystic Rasputin (Lionel Barrymore) saying that it was God's will that the peasants were poor and powerless. Paul wants to save Russia, Rasputin wants to rule it.

Another piece of fiction shown in the movie for dramatic measure are the public proclamations about the illness of Tsaravich Alexai, the heir to the Russian throne. In fact one of the things that turned the Russian people against the royal family - besides the fact that they were starving during WWI - was that the people assumed that Rasputin's hold over the empress was because they were lovers. The Romanovs did not want it to be known that the only son in the family and heir to the throne had a serious disease - in this case hemophilia - that kept him in very delicate health and would likely lead to a greatly shortened lifespan. They felt it would leave them vulnerable to the overthrowing of their rule. Ironically hiding the truth and leaving Rasputin's relationship to the empress unexplained also led to exactly that.

Watch this one for the high production values and compelling performances by the members of Hollywood's royal family during its golden age, but as for a Russian history lesson, look elsewhere.


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