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William A. Wellman
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
At the beginning of the movie it is told that Sergei Alexandrovich, Grand Duke of Russia, is killed. However this happened in 1905, 8 years before the scene's setting. See more »
You don't like him because he's so outspoken. You don't like his manners. Isn't that it?
No, that's not it. It, its his, smile. It's like a man-eating shark with a bible under his fin.
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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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