Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't... See full summary »
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Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't like her husband, but she likes Russia, and is very fond of Russian soldiers. She dutifully produces a son -- of questionable fatherhood, but no one seems to mind that. After the old empress dies, Sophia engineers a coup d'etat with the aid of the military, does away with Peter, and becomes Catherine the Great. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
After Catherine stamps with her foot on the gold locket containing the portrait of Count Alexei, smashing it, she then flings it out of the window. The camera follows it as it falls slowly, glistening in the moonlight, through the branches of the tree outside her window, but it is completely undamaged. See more »
85/100. A rather unusual film, director Josef von Sternberg's stylish and offbeat direction certainly makes this an interesting movie. What a production, the art direction is amazing, as are the costumes. You can see von Sternberg's eye for the visual throughout the film, particularly in the dramatic cinematography and use of shadows and light. The cast is great. Marlene Deitrich is hauntingly beautiful, Louise Dresser is impressive as Empress Petrovna and Sam Jaffe does well as the half-wit, Grand Duke Peter. The score is powerful, and also occasionally intrusive. Although released in 1934, it has silent film elements in it, perhaps von Sternberg was not quite comfortable with talking pictures. Overall, it's quite a remarkable film.
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