Irving Thalberg fired writer Mercedes de Acosta when she refused to write a scene involving a fictitious meeting between Grigory Rasputin and Princess Irene Romanov Yusupov, which she knew did not occur. Prince Feliks Yusupov, one of Rasputin's assassins, was a friend of de Acosta. After her firing, the scene was added. After the film's release, both Prince Yusupov and his wife sued Thalberg and MGM, as de Acosta warned he would, and won a large settlement. See more »
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 »
A true example of the assembly line style film-making of the old studios, where one doubts if the screenwriter ever visit the set, or did the director ever sit at an editing bench. Lionel Barrymore, however is a treat as the grimy, kooky Rasputin. He doesn't go for one-note scary. He's seen as a fun party animal, a believable healer, and the world's worst dinner guest. Other than that, John is wasted as the hero, as is their sister Ethel.
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