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Rasputin and the Empress (1932)

Passed | | Drama, History | 24 March 1933 (USA)
A prince plots to kill the mad monk Rasputin for the good of the czar, the czarina and Russia.

Directors:

(as Richard Boleslavsky), (uncredited)

Writer:

(screen play)
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at Amazon

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:
Adrienne Marden ...
(as Mabel Marden)
Clarence Wilson ...
(scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

As Europe looms on the edge of war in 1913, the family and members of the court of the Russian czar Nicholas come under the sway of a mysterious mystic named Rasputin. When Rasputin miraculously appears to cure the czar's son Alyosha of his hemophilia, the monk's reputation is cemented, particularly in the mind of the princess Natasha. Natasha's fiancé (and, later, husband) Prince Paul Chegodieff, however, suspects Rasputin is a charlatan who will cause the downfall of the royal family and perhaps of Russia itself. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beautiful girls who came to pray! Caught in the web of debauched Rasputin, whose crafty mind toppled a throne!

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 March 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Dämon Rußlands - Rasputin  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ethel Barrymore's only starring role in a motion picture with sound except for Kind Lady 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 »

Quotes

The Czarina: Paul!
Prince Chegodieff: Majesty! Your lordship, look at him!
The Czarina: What's the matter with him?
Rasputin: Why, he's frightened, naturally. It's alright my boy, go to your mother. Don't be afraid. He won't hurt me.
Prince Chegodieff: Look at his eyes!
The Czarina: What's the matter with his eyes?
Rasputin: Is it because he wasn't glad to see you? What do you say to your mother, lordship?
The Czarevitch: I love you mamushka.
The Czarina: I love you darling.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) 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

 
A powerful tale of tragedy
10 March 2008 | by (Waukegan, IL.) – See all my reviews

By now, everyone - but everyone - has commented on what bad history this movie is. Fine, I won't argue the point. But, what about it as drama? In my opinion, this is one of the most powerful tales of tragedy of it's time. ( This is particularly noteworthy given MGM's later penchant for frivolousness. ) Part of it has do do with the sincerity and conviction of the story. [ Alhough Charles MacArtur and others are given credit for the screenplay, I believe the original story - I have read a copy of the book - was written by a Russian émigré who fled the revolution. Unfortunately, I am presently unable to locate my copy. ] Nonetheless, this would go a long way towards explaining the movie's passion.

As for the acting; it features an outstanding cast, including the three Barrymores, as well as an assemblage of first rate supporting actors of the time. ( Anyone notice Edwarld Arnold as Dr. Remezov? ) Of course, much of it seems dated by today's standards. ( This was 1932, after all. ) Keep in mind that this is high melodrama. In that context, Lionel Barrymore exudes pure evil as the scheming, mad monk. He also brings out the crudity and vulgarity of the man, which generally jibes with historical accounts. Just try not to dwell on the fake beard.

John is fine and properly earnest as Prince Chegodieff, although his performance does seem a bit old-fashioned next to Lionel's. He really lets it all hang out in the murder scene, however. Ethel seems a trifle stiff, but Ralph Morgan is just right as Nicholas. In fact, sincerity and seriousness of purpose seem to be the hallmarks of the entire ensemble. And through it all, there is this sense of tragic inevitability; of events that, once set in motion, cannot be reversed.

One other thing that warrants a mention is the music. The Russian Orthodox liturgical music used in the celebratory scene near the beginning is moving and powerful. It could well put one in mind of the the wedding scene in Michael Cimino's "The Deer Hunter" ( 1978 ). Later, there is a medley of martial music, accompanied by historical footage, as Russia mobilizes for The Great War. Here we hear "God Save the Tsar", a tune which Mikhail Glinka featured in his opera, "A Life for the Tsar", but which was routinely banned during Soviet performances. All in all, exciting stuff.

This is a movie well worth watching, historical accuracy notwithstanding.


17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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