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Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
In 18th century Russia,a naive and idealistic lieutenant,Alexei Chernoff, deserts his unit and rushes to the Imperial Palace to warn Empress Catherine the Great of great dangers.Lieutenant Chernoff's fiancée,Countess Anna,is one of the ladies-in-waiting of the Empress.Upon forcing his way into the palace, lieutenant Chernoff meets Chancellor Nicolai Iiyitch who promises to convey Chernoff's warning to the Empress but Chernoff wants to meet the Empress in person.His fiancée is also surprised to see Chernoff inside the palace.When Chernoff finally meets the Empress,he's mesmerized by her personality and swears to give his life to protect her.Catherine is impressed by his sense of sacrifice,innocence,sincerity,loyalty and also by his good looks.Infatuated with him,she makes him her boy-toy,to Anna's dismay.Overnight,Chernoff is appointed Chief of the Imperial Guard and his rank is raised to captain,to major,to colonel,according to Empress Catherine's romantic mood. Written by
This picture is about Catherine of Russia. Her people called her the "Mother of all all the Russias". Her biographers called her "the Great". Our story takes place at the time of her life when she was not so much of a mother but when she was especially great. See more »
A delicious treat with Bankhead and Eythe providing lots of chuckles...
It took A ROYAL SCANDAL for me to realize that Tallulah Bankhead must have been wonderful on Broadway in THE LITTLE FOXES. Here, under Otto Preminger's direction, she gives a wonderfully restrained (for her) performance as Russia's Catherine the Great, shamelessly flaunting her loneliness in front of a man betrothed to another (ANNE BAXTER) but deciding that he looks fabulous in a white uniform (WILLIAM EYTHE).
Bankhead and Eythe are reason enough to watch this one. For once, he had a role that showed he had talent that should have been nurtured into full fledged stardom, but never was. He bears a strong resemblance to Tyrone Power and handles his role with authority and ease.
Bankhead seems on the verge of doing her Diva act at any given moment, but restricts herself to a few "Shut up!" remarks or slyly commenting on the fact that she'd like to do a lot for the peasants. She never misses an opportunity to give any slightly risqué line a clearer meaning, just from the way she glances or moves. It's a wonderfully entertaining performance.
CHARLES COBURN, ANNE BAXTER, SIG RUMAN and others do their parts in fine form, but VINCENT PRICE is wasted in the role of the French ambassador who ends up becoming the new apple of Bankhead's eye. Baxter is particularly good at demonstrating that she could show flashes of temperament beneath the sweetness and charm.
Best of all, the dialog is full of innocently delivered one-liners that make it one of the most enjoyable farces I've seen in years. And WILLIAM EYTHE shows that he had a talent for farce that should have landed him more such roles.
Well worth watching for the performances alone.
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