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The tragic story of Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia, set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. It is an inside look into the private lives of Nicholas and his wife Alexandra, their daughters, their only son and the painful secret about their son and heir apparent which bound the Imperial Couple to the mystical Rasputin, and the eventual execution of the entire family. Written by
Gailene Va. Holley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Press reports at time of pre-production said that Rex Harrison and Vanessa Redgrave were to appear as the leads. However, a recent biography of producer Sam Spiegel stated that paperwork (in an Israeli museum) belonging to Spiegel shows that he never offered them the leads. See more »
Glinka's opera "Russlan and Ludmila" is played at the Kiev Opera House, where Stolypin is assassinated. But historically correct program is Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Tale of Tsar Saltan." See more »
[convincing him to become commander in chief of the armies]
Oh Nicky. This is the beginning of the glory of your reign. Our friend told me so. It will be the greatest page in Russian history, the story of these weeks and days. And while your gone, don't worry over what you've left behind. I'm here. Lean on me; use me. I'm not wise or strong, but God will show me what to do.
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Fascinating look at Czarist Russia during the Revolution...
This lavish version of NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA will especially appeal to anyone who is fascinated by their legendary story and the bitter fate which awaited the family of Nicholas Romanov. One of his daughters was Anastasia. Her story, too, has been told in films and books.
JANET SUZMAN is excellent as the woman who turns for comfort and hope to a madman, Rasputin, while her ineffective husband is unable to convince her that he is a charlatan. MICHAEL JAYSTON is effective as Nicholas, inhabiting the role so completely that you feel he is the man himself. TOM BAKER, who bears a striking resemblance to the real Rasputin, is also up to the demands of his role.
There's a vast canvas of historical background filmed in splendid Technicolor with obviously no expense spared in all the costuming and production design details. The only real drawback is a lack of pacing in several key dramatic scenes, especially toward the end when the family's execution turns into an endless wait for the assassins to enter the room. Many scenes could have been more tightly edited to reduce the running time of over three hours.
The supporting cast includes famous names like LAURENCE OLIVIER and MICHAEL REDGRAVE in what amount to bit roles. The daughters have little to do but the hemophiliac son, Alexis, is played with great sensitivity by RODERIC NOBLE.
The realization that she is responsible for carrying the genes that gave her son his condition, is what torments Alexandra and leads to her unwise decision to take counsel from Rasputin.
Dramatically, the film suffers from the slow pacing--but the story itself is so compelling that it makes up for this deficiency by providing scenes of epic grandeur and stunning cinematography.
It fully deserved its Oscars for Best Art Direction and Costume Design. It was nominated for several other Oscars but Janet Suzman lost to Jane Fonda of KLUTE and the Best Picture award went to THE FRENCH CONNECTION.
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