Dizzy society matron Emily Kilbourne has a habit of hiring ex-cons and hobos as servants. Her latest find is a handsome "tramp" who shows up at her doorstep and soon ends up in a ... See full summary »
Norman Z. McLeod
Upon its initial release in 1932, the movie was the subject of a lawsuit issued by Prince Feliks Yusupov, who had actually been involved in the death of the real Grigory Rasputin. Although names in the film were changed (Yusupov's character, as portrayed by John Barrymore, was called Prince Paul Chegodieff), Yusupov also recognized Diana Wynyard's character of Princess Natasha to be that of his wife, Princess Irina. the Yussoupovs sued for libel as a result of a scene which suggested that his wife had been raped by Rasputin. MGM lost the suit, and the scene was cut from later releases. It rendered Wynyard's character somewhat incomprehensible if the viewer of the film is unaware of the cut - in the first half of the film, Princess Natasha is a supporter of Rasputin, and in the second half, she is inexplicably extremely afraid of him. The laserdisc release of this film includes the original theatrical trailer, which contains a portion of this deleted scene. 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 »
The only film with all three Barrymores together and it's a good film, however, the direction is very poorly done, especially the ending scene.
Other than that, Lionel Barrymore portrays an excellent Rasputin and Ethel Barrymore is wonderful as the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. John Barrymore is great as Prince Paul, the assassin of Rasputin (in real life, it was Prince Yussupov who assassinated Rasputin).
This is a good film, but if you want a better interpretation of Rasputin's "reign," rent the 1996 HBO version with Alan Rickman or the 1971 movie, "Nicholas and Alexandra."
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