During the sixteenth century, the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots engages in over two decades of religious and political conflict with her cousin, the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England, amidst political intrigue in her native land.
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>
"By courtesy of the National Theatre of G.B." is written underneath Tom Baker and Laurence Olivier's names in the end credits. "By courtesy of the Royal Shakespeare Company" is written underneath Janet Suzman's name. See more »
"Nicholas and Alexandra" is one of the last of the grand, sweeping
epics that dominated the box office in the 50's and 60's. With the new
wave of young, reckless directors who took to the scene in the 70's
this kind of filmmaking seemed strangely dated. Ironically enough it
kind of mimics the fate of the Romanov family, holding on to ideals
that can no longer protect them. The genre, which had started with
aplomb with movies like "Gone With The Wind" didn't draw the numbers it
used to, and after seeing this movie I can't help but think of what a
shame that is.
The movie is off to a slow start, and doesn't really grab the viewer
until after the introduction of Rasputin. From there on in it's pure
cinematic joy to witness the fate of the Tzar and his family unravel.
The actors do a tremendous job. It's obvious that the producers wanted
their actors to look as much like their characters as possible, and
while this doesn't necessarily strengthen the movie by itself it
clearly gives it a stronger feel of authenticity. Furthermore they
perfectly embody their flawed characters. The czar, beautifully played
by Michael Jayston is a warm, caring man who unfortunately is totally
unfit to be a czar. He is out of touch with his people, and feebly
clings to his autocratic power. Jayston manages to portray an almost
absurd certainty in his divine right, and ability to rule while at the
same time exposing his uncertainty and fright. Janet Suzman is equally
impressive as the loving, but domineering Alexandra.
The look and feel of the movie is also fantastic. The jaw-dropping
visuals of Russia perfectly accommodates the story, and the music is
wonderful all the way through. The pace is slow, and it's easy to see
why critics who had just witnessed the exhilarating pace of movies like
"A Clockwork Orange" or "The French Connection". But this was how these
kinds of movies were made, and "Nicholas and Alexandra" does not shame
the genre. It's actually a beautiful end to a spectacular genre which
is well worth a look for anyone with a soft spot for David Lean-like
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