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Franklin J. Schaffner
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 <email@example.com>
As Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich discusses the family party to celebrate the birth of the Tsarevich Alexis, the tsar looks out a window at a scene of his daughters playing in the snow with Monsieur Gilliard, their French tutor. Alexis was born in August, so there would not have been snow, even in northern Russia. See more »
Nicholas was King George V's cousin and Alexandra was Queen Victoria's granddaughter, so the casting of British actors Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman was a stroke of genius (and they are hardly "unknown" actors, at least in Britain). You actually believe they ARE the couple. Michael Jayston is truly remarkable as Nicholas and even resembles him. The rest of the cast is superb, especially Tom Baker's portrayal as Rasputin . . . marvelous!
The movie sticks pretty much to the facts. Keep in mind, Nicholas was not a bad man, but he didn't want to be Czar. He would have preferred to be a potato farmer. You feel the fear growing as Nicholas and his family slowly withdraw into their own world because of Alexis' Hemophilia. Nichola's stand that "God meant for me to rule" causes him to rarely listen to the good advice of the people around him and not heed the warning that he not go to the front to "take charge." Add to this the rumor of Alexandra being a German spy, Rasputin's death by Prince Yusupov and Grand Duke Dimitry, the loss of thousands of soldiers, the starving Russian people . . . and Nicholas leaves the door wide open for Lenin and his eventual return to power. After he abdicates, he and his family are shuttled around until they end up in Ekaterinburg and "The House of Special Purpose."
This is a great movie. See it if you have a long afternoon with nothing to do, you won't regret it.
BTW, the DVD version adds deleted scenes that sew up some loose ends.
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