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Young Catherine (1991)

TV Movie  -   -  Biography | Drama | History  -  17 February 1991 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 625 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

A German princess is chosen to marry the heir to the Russian Throne, but faces plots and intrigues against her.

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Title: Young Catherine (TV Movie 1991)

Young Catherine (TV Movie 1991) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Empress Elizabeth
...
Sir Charles
...
...
Johanna
...
...
Mark Frankel ...
Reece Dinsdale ...
Anna Kanakis ...
Countess Vorontsova
...
...
Catherine's Father
Alexander Kerst ...
Prussian Ambassador
...
Katharine Schlesinger ...
Elizabeth Vorontsova
Katya Galitzine ...
Maria Choglokov
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Storyline

A German princess is chosen to marry the heir to the Russian Throne, but faces plots and intrigues against her.

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Release Date:

17 February 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Young Catherine  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[describing a diorama he made as a gift for his fiancee]
Grand Duke Peter: This man is a deserter, and this man is a general. He's going to order this sergeant to give the man 100 lashes! I expect he'll die!
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Connections

Version of The Scarlet Empress (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

Well done, and almost accurate.
21 January 2001 | by (San Mateo, CA) – See all my reviews

This film is rare in that it tries, and almost succeeds, in giving an accurate impression of Russian history. There are only three points on which it flounders, and unfortunately, the second one of them, at the end of the film, is quite unforgivable. The acting is excellent. Christopher Plummer is a true delight as a sardonic and kindly old diplomat, while Vannesa Redgrave is truly stunning as the mercurial and autocratic Empress Elizabeth. Julia Ormond is good, skillful and inspired in playing an intelligent young woman, who possesses a grand will and a superb mind which will not allow her to stay in the background. It is easy to see that the roles were studied well, and that the memoirs of Catherine the Great played a large part in the planning of the film. The shooting of the film was done, thankfully, on location, for a large part in the Catherine Palace at Pushkin (formerly Tsarskoe Selo). The costumes (with the exception of the black fox winter coats), were well studied and planned. All in all, this film is done well, intelligently, and it almost manages to avoid the fatal flaw of romantic hollywoodism. Almost, but not quite. Here we come to the flaws of the film. The first historical error is, I admit, a very small one. The winter coats worn in the film are made of black fox. Unfortunately, this animal was bred for the fur only in the nineteenth century, long after Catherine's death. Had bearskin coats been used, or sable, or ordinary red fox, the general effect would have been a bit smoother. The second flaw is the condensation of the film into a reasonable time period. True, I realize that this was unavoidable. But the fact remain, Catherine was married to Peter III for no less than seventeen years, and was a mature woman in her thirties when she planned her palace coup against her (very well played here) incompetent and sickening husband. Truth to tell, though, after reading her memoirs one begins to wonder why she did not poison him after the first six months. Heaven knows, any normal woman would have. And finally, the third and worst flaw of the film. Unfortunately, here, the romantic notions of the movie industry took over from historical accuracy and common sense. The scene of Peter III's death at the hands of his guards and Alexej Orlov (not Grigorij), was well described in the documents of Catherine's time. Allowing, in the script, for the "romantic" scene in which Grigorij Orlov strangles Peter, and then tells Catherine of it in bed is the largest mistake of the film. It neglects historical fact on a fairly major point in favor of cheap theatrical effect. To sum up: this is a beautifully and accurately filmed movie, with excellent acting, an intelligent (and almost accurate!) plot, and a good sense of history (something you will not see in the 1930's film). It is worth watching, but if you are a historian, or even a person interested in Russian history, try not to take it too personally.


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