What do women want? Don Juan is aging. He's arrived secretly in Seville after a 20 year absence. His wife Dolores, whom he hasn't lived with in five years, still loves him. He refuses to ... See full summary »
This character study joins the painter at the height of his fame in 1642, when his adored wife suddenly dies and his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that offends his patrons. By 1656, he ... See full summary »
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In 1745 a German princess, renamed Catherine, arrives to marry Grand Duke Peter of Russia, whom she initially likes. But his suspicious, unstable nature gradually estranges them, and Peter finds solace with pretty courtiers. Catherine invents her own (fictitious) lovers, temporarily improving matters. Alas, accession to the throne brings out the worst in Peter, and loyal Catherine is urged to assume power.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The more he hated her, the more she loved him...this girl of MANY loves who rose to rule a hundred million souls but could not govern her own heart. (Print Ad-New York Sun, ((New York NY)) 12 February 1934)
When Peter marries Catherine in a Russian Orthodox service, they respond to the the lines "Do you take this man/woman to be your lawful wedded husband/wife... until death do you part?" These lines are not part of a traditional Orthodox service. The bride and groom usually do not say anything during the service. See more »
Openng credits prologue: RUSSIA 1745
THE HUNTING LODGE OF GRAND DUKE PETER, HEIR TO THE THRONE. See more »
Alexander Korda produced this lavish film, "The Rise of Catherine the Great," starring Elizabeth Bergner, Flora Robson, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. It's the story, not wholly accurate but still interesting, of, as the title suggests, Catherine the Great's (Bergner)ascension to the throne as it was wrested from her crazy husband Peter (Fairbanks). Though in the film this all seems to happen somewhat quickly, Catherine and Peter were married for 17 years and had children before the Empress Elizabeth dies and Peter becomes tsar.
In the film, Peter cheats on Catherine on their wedding night, and she pretends to take many lovers. This makes him jealous, and the two reconcile. However, after the Empress Elizabeth dies, the decisions that he makes as tsar on behalf of Mother Russia are outrageous, and Catherine is encouraged to go along with a coup.
Wide-eyed, girlish Bergner is Catherine. Bergner was a noted stage actress in Europe who unfortunately never caught on in Hollywood; nevertheless, she worked in Europe until she was 87 years old. Supposedly an incident in her life was the inspiration for "All About Eve." Tiny, she nevertheless had authority as an actress, with line readings that were at times reminiscent of Garbo. She is a good Catherine. The showier roles were those of the Empress Elizabeth and Grand Duke Peter. Flora Robson is a wonderful Empress Elizabeth, and Fairbanks, always an underrated actor, is brilliant as the volatile, mad Duke.
Worth seeing for the performances.
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