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Rasputin and the Empress (1932)

Passed  -  Drama | History  -  24 March 1933 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 456 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 11 critic

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(as Richard Boleslavsky) , (uncredited)

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

Rasputin and the Empress (1932) on IMDb 6.6/10

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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:

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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM purchased stock footage of the Romanov family and Russian military parades from J. Stuart Blackton, who had this footage as part of a vast stock footage library. 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

Version of Rasputin (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz of the Flowers
(1892) (uncredited)
from the "Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a"
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played at Paul's party and danced by a ballet group
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.


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