When David's father dies, his mother remarries. His new stepfather Murdstone has a mean and cruel view on how to raise a child. When David's mother dies from grief, Murdstone sends David to... See full summary »
Edna May Oliver
Lionel, John and Ethel Barrymore star in this film, which was the only one that all three legends appeared in together. After her son is near death, Czarina Alexandria (Ethel) lets the monk Rasputin (Lionel) pray with her son who eventually heals and the monk gives credit to God. Saving her son, the monk soon finds himself gaining power inside the government but this doesn't sit well with Prince Chegodieff (John) who will stop at nothing to prove the monk is mad. Apparently MGM was sued due to how inaccurate the story is here so if you want a history lesson you should go read a book but if you want to see all three Barrymore's together then this is the only film out there that will suit you. The film should have been a lot better than it is but the thing drags at several points and I'm sure fifteen or so minutes could have been trimmed from the 123-minute running time, although apparently the film ran longer when originally released. The performances aren't what you'd expect but it's certainly fun seeing the three Barrymore's working together. Lionel actually goes way over the top, which is something you'd expect from John but he actually manages to be quite calm and cool throughout the film. John certainly gives the best performance but it's Lionel who steals the film with his fake beard and over the top antics. Ethel is good in her role as is the supporting work from Ralph Morgan. The costumes and set design are wonderful and I really enjoyed the made up ending, which contains some pretty strong violence.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?