IMDb > The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934)

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


Overview

User Rating:
6.4/10   321 votes »
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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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View company contact information for The Rise of Catherine the Great on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 February 1934 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Straightforward biography of the Russian empress, up to her assumption of the throne. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
CATHERINE THE GREAT (Paul Czinner, 1934) *** See more (12 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Grand Duke Peter

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 
B.J. Simmons 
 
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
 
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 CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

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

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In 1937, this film was re-released on a double bill with Wives Never Know (1936) in Canada.See more »
Goofs:
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 The Scarlet Empress (1934)See more »

FAQ

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
CATHERINE THE GREAT (Paul Czinner, 1934) ***, 2 June 2011
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta

This is the first of 6 films I intend to watch about the famous Russian sovereign (albeit of German origins) as part of the Josef von Sternberg retrospective, whose masterpiece THE SCARLET EMPRESS – from the same year – also deals with her. It was obviously intended as the British response (through renowned producer Alexander Korda) of the afore-mentioned Paramount release; ironically, the latter had been made – as a vehicle for Marlene Dietrich – in the wake of the classic Greta Garbo title QUEEN Christina (1933)!

Even so, the result here is quite a good film taken on its own merits – though lacking the ornate visual sense and other idiosyncrasies that Sternberg deployed in his version (and which made it so fascinating to watch in the first place). In any case, this has all the virtues and faults of a typical Korda effort: low-key approach undermined by stiff production and buoyed by reliable casting. The latter sees Elizabeth Bergner – the director is her husband – in the title role (though she does well by the character on a human plane, there is little to suggest her 'great' qualities as monarch!), top-billed Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (an ambivalent characterization as he goes all-too-swiftly from being submissive to his Empress aunt through a pre-arranged marriage to tyranny: his is a valiant try, but the star's dashing looks makes this incongruity that more conspicuous!) and Flora Robson (as the ailing Empress who conspires with Catherine to depose her own unstable nephew: the distinguished actress would virtually make a career out of playing monarchs!).

Plot-wise, court intrigue (easily the more interesting aspect to the narrative) is too often swamped by romantic complications and that worst trapping of costumers i.e. archaic dancing…but, having grown up watching the Korda films on Italian TV (even if not among its very best examples, this one is solid enough), I kind of have a soft spot for them and, in fact, over the years I managed to collect virtually all of the more notable titles in that popular cycle (including the same year's THE PRIVATE LIFE OF DON JUAN which, coincidentally, starred Fairbanks pere!). By the way, while this one was originally released in the U.S. as THE RISE OF CATHERINE THE GREAT, it was recently issued on R1 DVD through Criterion's sister label Eclipse as part of a Korda Box Set (along with DON JUAN itself and two superb Charles Laughton vehicles – namely the Oscar-winning THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII {1933} and, arguably his masterpiece, REMBRANDT {1936}).

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