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Twilight of the Romanov
21 February 2010
So count Igor Hourloff killed Raspoutin;that's what we are told in
Lherbier's movie but all that concerns the assassin is false .Maybe the
script writers were afraid the true killer might sue them -he had done
it before ,reportedly,in Hollywood-.
Prince Felix Iusupov was part of the imperial family but was much
smarter than Igor in the movie;never he showed contempt or hatred :he
made friends with the monk,won his trust.The scene of the murder is
depicted like in the other versions ;we even see the murders throw the
body in the frozen river -it was reportedly said that Rasputin did not
die from his wounds but got drowned -.Pierre Richard Wilm overacts and
gives an unconvincing performance as "Igor";Harry Baur is ideally cast
as Rasputin but he would be upstaged by Pierre Brasseur in Georges
Combret's "Rasputin" (in a version inferior to Lherbier's though).
We are spared Rasputin's orgies-replaced by the monk's sermons in which
he urges the crowds to take advantage of life ,"Carpe Diem" so to
speak- but the scenes with the hemophiliac tsarevich are
excellent:using bedtime stories why not?The Russian people 's hatred
for the empress ("the alien") is not passed over in silence and can be
compared to that of Marie-Antoinette in France .
Except from the part of the assassin,this is one of Lherbier's best
talkies in an era "Russian" stories abounded in France .Very well
directed (the last scenes look like a thriller),it stands the test of
time quite well....
Like this ? try these.....
"J'ai Tué Raspoutine" (Robert Hossein,1967):the more historically
accurate version since based on the assassin's recollections;the movie
begins with an interview with Iusupov and his wife) "Raspoutine"
(George Combret)Pierre Brasseur's portrayal of Rasputin is worth the
price of admission,even if the movie is rather undistinguished .
"Rasputin the mad monk " (Don Sharp,1965,after he made "the face of
Fu-Manchu"!!): unreliable,but entertaining.
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