IMDb > The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934)

The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
9 February 1934 (USA) See more »
Straightforward biography of the Russian empress, up to her assumption of the throne. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Good Drama & Atmosphere See more (12 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Grand Duke Peter (as Douglas Fairbanks Jnr.)

Elisabeth Bergner ... Catherine

Flora Robson ... Empress Elisabeth
Gerald du Maurier ... Lecocq
Irene Vanbrugh ... Princess Anhalt-Zerbst
Joan Gardner ... Katushienka
Dorothy Hale ... Countess Olga
Diana Napier ... Countess Vorontzova
Griffith Jones ... Grigory Orlov
Gibb McLaughlin ... Bestujhev (as Gibb MacLaughlin)
Clifford Heatherley ... Ogarev
Laurence Hanray ... Goudovitch
Allan Jeayes ... Col. Karnilov
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Heron Carvic ... Minor role (uncredited)
William Heughan ... Minor role (uncredited)
Arnold Lucy ... Minor role (uncredited)

Directed by
Paul Czinner 
Alexander Korda (uncredited)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Lajos Biró  play "The Czarina"
Marjorie Deans 
Melchior Lengyel  play "The Czarina"
Arthur Wimperis 

Produced by
Alexander Korda .... producer
Ludovico Toeplitz .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Ernst Toch (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Georges Périnal 
Film Editing by
Stephen Harrison 
Harold Young 
Art Direction by
A. Hallam 
Vincent Korda 
Costume Design by
John Armstrong 
Production Management
David B. Cunynghame .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Geoffrey Boothby .... assistant director
Sound Department
A.W. Watkins .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert Krasker .... camera operator
Robert LaPresle .... camera operator
Costume and Wardrobe Department
B.J. Simmons .... costumier: King Street Covent Garden
Editorial Department
Stephen Bearman .... colorist
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... musical director
Other crew
Lajos Biró .... continuity
Melchior Lengyel .... continuity
Arthur Wimperis .... continuity
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
95 min | Germany:100 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Australia:M | Australia:G (TV rating) | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Germany:(Banned) (after premiere) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

At the time of its USA re-release in 1947, this film was most frequently paired in second position on a double bill topped by the re-release of _The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933)_.See more »
Factual errors: When Peter marries Catherine in a Russian Orthodox service, they respond to the the lines "Do you take this man/woman to be your lawful wedded husband/wife... until death do you part?" These lines are not part of a traditional Orthodox service. The bride and groom usually do not say anything during the service.See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of Catherine the Great (1996) (TV)See more »


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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Good Drama & Atmosphere, 8 July 2005
Author: Snow Leopard from Ohio

The drama and characters in this movie about "Catherine the Great" are generally pretty good, although often non-historical, and the atmosphere is often quite good. The settings and many of the details were crafted with care, and apparently with ample resources available.

Elisabeth Bergner often gives distinctive, sometimes unusual portrayals of her characters, and this is no exception. Yet Catherine was such a complex figure that it's almost a moot point as to how accurate Bergner's portrayal may be, especially since the story here is mostly concerned about her younger days, before she became Empress. Bergner definitely makes Catherine interesting and worth caring about.

The story itself is interesting, and though it should not be viewed as accurate history, as a movie it works well enough, and sometimes it works quite well. As Peter, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. gives his character a nature that is probably quite different from the historical Peter, but in itself it is a believable and effective portrayal.

The story of the ongoing intrigues involving Peter, Catherine, Elizabeth (a well-cast Flora Robson), and others, has some good moments. The historical situation was complicated, and it lends itself easily to a movie adaptation. The settings work well in conveying both the historical period and also the atmosphere of plots and counter-plots. The movie as a whole was overshadowed, even in its own time, by other features on the same subject, but it is still a good effort that is worth watching.

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