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The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Approved  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  15 September 1934 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,908 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 31 critic

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 »

Writers:

(diary), (diary arranger), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John Lodge ...
...
...
...
Prince August
Gavin Gordon ...
Olive Tell ...
Princess Johanna Elizabeth
Ruthelma Stevens ...
Countess Elizabeth 'Lizzie'
Davison Clark ...
Erville Alderson ...
Philip Sleeman ...
Count Lestoq (as Phillip Sleeman)
Marie Wells ...
Marie Tshoglokof
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ...
Ivan Shuvolov (as Hans von Twardowski)
Gerald Fielding ...
Lt. Dmitri
Maria Riva ...
Sophia as a Child (as Maria)
Edit

Storyline

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 <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Reigning Beauty of the Screen!

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 September 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Catherine the Great  »

Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Jaffe's film debut. See more »

Goofs

Peter's Holstein guard is falsely referred to as Hessian. This may have been deliberate to make use of the bad reputation of Hessian mercenaries in the US war of independence. See more »

Quotes

Archimandrite Simeon Todorsky: [collecting money for the poor] Your Imperial Majesty, something for the poor?
Grand Duke Peter: [slaps him]
Archimandrite Simeon Todorsky: That was for me. Now what have you got for the poor?
Grand Duke Peter: There are no poor in Russia! Get out!
See more »


Soundtracks

Marche Slave
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Excerpts incorporated into the score often, but predominately when Catherine
is about to capture the throne at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fascinating classic..
16 March 2010 | by (Kingsport, TN) – See all my reviews

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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