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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!


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:

Le moine et l'impératrice 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

In 1989 Sir David Napley published 'Rasputin in Hollywood', which covered in detail the 1934 libel lawsuit by the Youssoupoffs against MGM over the film. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie it is told that Sergei Alexandrovich, Grand Duke of Russia, is killed. However this happened in 1905, 8 years before the scene's setting. See more »

Quotes

The Czarina: Paul!
Prince Chegodieff: Majesty! Your lordship, look at him!
The Czarina: What's the matter with him?
Rasputin: Why, he's frightened, naturally. It's alright my boy, go to your mother. Don't be afraid. He won't hurt me.
Prince Chegodieff: Look at his eyes!
The Czarina: What's the matter with his eyes?
Rasputin: Is it because he wasn't glad to see you? What do you say to your mother, lordship?
The Czarevitch: I love you mamushka.
The Czarina: I love you darling.
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

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz of the Flowers
(1892) (uncredited)
from the "Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a"
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played at Paul's party and danced by a ballet group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Three Bs
9 August 2010 | by marcslopeSee all my reviews

The only film featuring all three Barrymores preserves an acting style that was once considered top-line and now looks rather over-emphatic. Certainly Lionel is the biggest ham, looking like Alec Guinness in "Oliver Twist" and rolling his eyes, laughing maniacally, and all but twirling his cape as the contemptible, going-mad Rasputin. By contrast, Ethel is stately as the Empress Alexandra, but also rather uninteresting, mainly emphasizing womanly dignity and reserve, as she so often did. Often she and Diana Wynyard seem to be in a contest to see who can employ a more highfalutin pronunciation style. So it falls to John to give the best performance: He's comparatively naturalistic and understated, and seems most comfortable in front of a camera. The director, Richard Boleslawski, goes in for needlessly arty compositions and drags out the playing time, and Herbert Stothart, the composer, seems the hardest worker: so much Russian-cliché music, and so loud. Charles MacArthur's screenplay is literate but wordy and inaccurate (and resulted in an expensive lawsuit against MGM). But as a distillation of the Barrymore acting style in miniature, it's a valuable artifact, and pretty entertaining on its own terms.


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