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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
Russian National Anthem
Played during the opening credits and at the end See more »
Rasputin and the Empress (1932)
*** (out of 4)
Lionel, John and Ethel Barrymore star in this film, which was the only one that all three legends appeared in together. After her son is near death, Czarina Alexandria (Ethel) lets the monk Rasputin (Lionel) pray with her son who eventually heals and the monk gives credit to God. Saving her son, the monk soon finds himself gaining power inside the government but this doesn't sit well with Prince Chegodieff (John) who will stop at nothing to prove the monk is mad. Apparently MGM was sued due to how inaccurate the story is here so if you want a history lesson you should go read a book but if you want to see all three Barrymore's together then this is the only film out there that will suit you. The film should have been a lot better than it is but the thing drags at several points and I'm sure fifteen or so minutes could have been trimmed from the 123-minute running time, although apparently the film ran longer when originally released. The performances aren't what you'd expect but it's certainly fun seeing the three Barrymore's working together. Lionel actually goes way over the top, which is something you'd expect from John but he actually manages to be quite calm and cool throughout the film. John certainly gives the best performance but it's Lionel who steals the film with his fake beard and over the top antics. Ethel is good in her role as is the supporting work from Ralph Morgan. The costumes and set design are wonderful and I really enjoyed the made up ending, which contains some pretty strong violence.
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