As Europe looms on the edge of war in 1913, the family and members of the court of the Russian czar Nicholas come under the sway of a mysterious mystic named Rasputin. When Rasputin miraculously appears to cure the czar's son Alyosha of his hemophilia, the monk's reputation is cemented, particularly in the mind of the princess Natasha. Natasha's fiancé (and, later, husband) Prince Paul Chegodieff, however, suspects Rasputin is a charlatan who will cause the downfall of the royal family and perhaps of Russia itself.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Charles Brabin was originally assigned to direct. After several run-ins with Ethel Barrymore, who condescendingly referred to him as Mr. Theda Bara, he was taken off the project. Brabin was married to the silent screen legend Theda Bara. Richard Boleslawski was brought in to direct and given sole directorial credit, although several of Brabin's completed scenes remain in the finished film. See more »
The fact that the Tsarevich was sick was not announced publicly as portrayed in the movie. It was kept a secret. See more »
This is our destiny, my dear.
I know. What have we done to these people of yours, Nicky, that they'd hate us so,
Nothing, Alex. Everybody loves you, you know that.
No. But, you love me, Nicky. That's enough for any Empress.
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Upon its premiere "Rasputin and the Empress" ran approximately 132 minutes. Due to the famous lawsuits against it, a number of scenes had to be cut for legal reasons. One critical scene that was deleted was one which implied that Rasputin had raped Diana Wynyard's character of "Princess Natascha". The removal of this scene tended to make the character of Princess Natascha somewhat incomprehensible - initially she is a supporter of Rasputin; in the latter part of the film she is very afraid of him. Unless the viewer is aware of the cuts made in the film, there does not appear to be any explanation for the change in Princess Natascha toward Rasputin. See more »
While this film may be of interest to film purists because of the three Barrymores together for the only time, the movie is lousy history. The acting is more than a bit overdone, a carryover perhaps from the silent days when double takes and facial quirks had to tell the story. Rasputin's death is inaccurate. He was probably not poisoned at all (as an ascetic, he did not eat sweets, poisoned or otherwise), and he was shot several times, not hit over the head with a poker. And the deaths of the Romanovs was not outside in a courtyard but in a closed, dingy cellar. Their doctor died with them--he didn't escape to London. However, in defense of the screenwriter, many of the details of the Rasputin/Romanov disaster were unknown until after the fall of the Soviet Union. Several books published since, including photographs of Rasputin's dead body, for example, do much to fill out the real story.
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