In this romanticized biography, a small German principality's inexperienced princess, Catherine, becomes the bride of czarevitch Peter, the mad and abusive nephew and heir of the Russian czarina Elizabeth. From Elizabeth she learns the cynical ropes of wielding absolute imperial power at any cost, including sacrificing her lover, young guards officer Saltykov, who must give her an heir that Peter can't and is then sent abroad. After Elizabeth's death, she quickly moves to seize power with military and court support. She then works to enlarge and modernize the empire, again putting statesmanship ahead of her lover, a military genius who defeats the Ottomans and governs the conquered territories for her. Written by
When Catherine borrows the wooden cross from Potemkin, it is hanging from a simple string. But when she gives it back, it has been strung with matching wooden beads. There is no explanation if this is a different prop or if Catherine added the beads herself. See more »
The 21st of August 1745... my wedding day. I was fifteen. The Grand Duke Peter was two years older, and we were both pawns in a political game.
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Although fairly interesting to watch, Katharina is very historically inaccurate and biased, which is partly due to the horrible miscasting. Just to name a few: 1. Catherine Zeta-Jones as Empress Catherine II: a actress who is young, beautiful, dark in complexion and extremely attractive is certainly a poor choice to play a pale, plain middle-aged nimphomaniac. No one would ever address the real Catherine II as "you pretty thing", as Pugachev did in the film! 2. Jeanne Moreau as Empress Elizabeth: a 70-year old playing a 40-year old (I think this is self-explanatory) 3. Omar Sharif as Count Razumovsky: a 65-year old with a typically mediterranean appearance as a 45-year-old Ukrainian... 4. Rhys-Meyers as Pugachev... Don't know where to start... Apart from the fact that the actor is once again much older that his character, Rhys-Meyers is a BAD choice to play a violent, charismatic, almost demonic, and at the same time very folkish, Emelian Pugachev. Rhys-Meyers just doesn't look like an escaped convict-mass-murdered-highway robber-impostor or any of what real-life Pugachev was. Apart from that, a particularly striking misportrayal is the execution of Pugachev. The filmmakers have it take place in the summer in front of a crowd of about 5, while in reality it took place in the middle of winter on the Red Square in Moscow in front of a crowd of perhaps a 100,000, and was an extremely dramatic event, one the biggest public spectacles in Russia's history. So much for the fillmakers... Also, the story of Catherine's marriage to Peter III is portarayed in a highly prejudiced manner, drawing an all-too-clear line between the supposedly "good guys" (namely Catherine, Orlov, and the bunch) an the "horrible monster" Peter III. The story was not nearly so black-and-white in reality. Apart from that, the film makes fairly decent viewing. Balancing the two, I give it a 6/10
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