6.6/10
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29 user 14 critic

Rasputin and the Empress (1932)

A prince plots to kill the mad monk Rasputin for the good of the czar, the czarina and Russia.

Directors:

Richard Boleslawski (as Richard Boleslavsky), Charles Brabin (uncredited)

Writer:

Charles MacArthur (screen play)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ethel Barrymore ... The Czarina - Alexandra Feodorovna
Lionel Barrymore ... Grigori Yefimovitch Rasputin
Ralph Morgan ... The Czar - Nicholai Alexander
Tad Alexander ... The Czarevitch -Alexis Nikolaiovitch
John Barrymore ... Prince Paul Chegodieff
Diana Wynyard ... Princess Natasha
C. Henry Gordon ... Grand Duke Igor
Edward Arnold ... Doctor Remezov
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Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beautiful girls who came to pray! Caught in the web of debauched Rasputin, whose crafty mind toppled a throne! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 March 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rasputin and the Empress See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon its initial release in 1932, the movie was the subject of a lawsuit issued by Prince Feliks Yusupov, who had actually been involved in the death of the real Grigory Rasputin. Although names in the film were changed (Yusupov's character, as portrayed by John Barrymore, was called Prince Paul Chegodieff), Yusupov also recognized Diana Wynyard's character of Princess Natasha to be that of his wife, Princess Irina. the Yussoupovs sued for libel as a result of a scene which suggested that his wife had been raped by Rasputin. MGM lost the suit, and the scene was cut from later releases. It rendered Wynyard's character somewhat incomprehensible if the viewer of the film is unaware of the cut - in the first half of the film, Princess Natasha is a supporter of Rasputin, and in the second half, she is inexplicably extremely afraid of him. The laserdisc release of this film includes the original theatrical trailer, which contains a portion of this deleted scene. See more »

Goofs

In the movie Rasputin is showed how he was giving the Tsar advices to go to WW1. However in real life he wasn't giving these advices during World War 1. See more »

Quotes

The Czarina: I need you.
Prince Chegodieff: Yes, your Majesty.
The Czarina: I've injured you. But, I've injured Russia more.
Prince Chegodieff: Your Majesty, I know how much you love Russia. Everything in your heart, everything that you've done, you thought was for Russia's good.
The Czarina: My heart is broken. What are we to do?
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Version of Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Russian National Anthem
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Played during the opening credits and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Don't Watch This for Historical Accuracy
18 February 2008 | by jtyrolerSee all my reviews

Rasputin and the Empress shouldn't be used as a lesson of pre-Soviet Russia. Names have been changed (and that didn't prevent MGM from law suits) and a lot of the information we now know about this period of Russian history - was not known in 1932.

As other people have commented about this being the only film that Ethel, John, and Lionel Barrymore appeared together, this movie doesn't show why the Barrymores have the reputation that they have. John Barrymore's career started going downhill after the introduction of sound. Lionel Barrymore, wearing one of the phoniest fake beards, tries to capture the charisma and sense of control that Rasputin had over Czarina Alexandra and the Czarevitch. Ethel Barrymore gives an understated performance - too understated at times. When her only son seems to be close to possible death, she doesn't seem all that bothered.

C. Henry Gordon is a great Grand Duke Igor, Ralph Morgan is a convincing Czar Nicholas II, but they don't appear that frequently. Don't expect anyone to speak with a Russian accent or even attempting and accent.

Rasputin is one of the most interesting people in the world during the early 20th Century. He was also one of the most enigmatic and contradictory. A holy man who was accused of raping a nun, excessive drinking, and being power hungry. Barrymore's portrayal of Rasputin plays this up, plus making claims that he will be Russia. He seems almost like Charles Manson at times in the way he can make someone, especially the Czarevitch, behave like they are totally different people compared to the way they acted before meeting Rasputin.

It is best to watch this movie as just that - a fictional representation of various accounts of what happened in the royal court of Russia in its final days. The writers included Charles MacArthur, Ben Hecht, Robert Sherwood, Mercedes de Acosta, and Lenore Coffee - some of the best writers of the period.

It's worth a view - don't expect historical accuracy, but it is an interesting film that tries to show a much different world than what Americans would have known.


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