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The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama | 9 February 1934 (USA)
Straightforward biography of the Russian empress, up to her assumption of the throne.

Directors:

Paul Czinner, Alexander Korda (uncredited)

Writers:

Lajos Biró (story) (as Lajos Biro), Arthur Wimperis (story) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Grand Duke Peter (as Douglas Fairbanks Jnr.)
Elisabeth Bergner ... Catherine
Flora Robson ... Empress Elisabeth
Gerald du Maurier ... Lecocq
Irene Vanbrugh ... Princess Anhalt-Zerbst
Joan Gardner ... Katushienka
Dorothy Hale Dorothy Hale ... Countess Olga
Diana Napier ... Countess Vorontzova
Griffith Jones ... Grigory Orlov
Gibb McLaughlin ... Bestujhev (as Gibb Maclaughlin)
Clifford Heatherley Clifford Heatherley ... Ogarev
Lawrence Hanray Lawrence Hanray ... Goudovitch
Allan Jeayes Allan Jeayes ... Colonel Karnilov
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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)

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

9 February 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Katharina die Große See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In 1937, this film was shown on a double bill with Wives Never Know (1936) in one location in Canada. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Crazy Credits

Openng credits prologue: RUSSIA 1745

THE HUNTING LODGE OF GRAND DUKE PETER, HEIR TO THE THRONE. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Suicide of Dorothy Hale See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sumptuous Korda production
14 August 2009 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

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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