7.7/10
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46 user 43 critic

The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Passed | | Drama, History, Romance | 7 September 1934 (USA)
A German noblewoman enters into a loveless marriage with the dim-witted, unstable heir to the Russian throne, then plots to oust him from power.

Writers:

Catherine II (based on the diary of), Manuel Komroff (diary arranged by)
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlene Dietrich ... Princess Sophia Frederica / Catherine II
John Lodge ... Count Alexei
Sam Jaffe ... Grand Duke Peter
Louise Dresser ... Empress Elizabeth Petrovna
C. Aubrey Smith ... Prince August
Gavin Gordon ... Capt. Gregori Orloff
Olive Tell ... Princess Johanna Elizabeth
Ruthelma Stevens ... Countess Elizabeth 'Lizzie'
Davison Clark Davison Clark ... Archimandrite Simeon Todorsky / Arch-Episcope
Erville Alderson ... Chancelor Alexei Bestuchef
Philip Sleeman Philip Sleeman ... Count Lestoq (as Phillip Sleeman)
Marie Wells Marie Wells ... Marie Tshoglokof
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ... Ivan Shuvolov (as Hans von Twardowski)
Gerald Fielding Gerald Fielding ... Lt. Dmitri
Maria Riva ... Sophia as a Child (as Maria)
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Storyline

Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't like her husband, but she likes Russia, and is very fond of Russian soldiers. She dutifully produces a son -- of questionable fatherhood, but no one seems to mind that. After the old empress dies, Sophia engineers a coup d'etat with the aid of the military, does away with Peter, and becomes Catherine the Great. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Reigning Beauty of the Screen!

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 September 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Catherine the Great See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Sixth, out of seven, feature-film collaborations between Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich. See more »

Goofs

When the flag is being lowered for the dead empress, we see the flag flapping in the wind but the fake backdrop is flapping also. See more »

Quotes

Empress Elizabeth Petrovna: What's this, Alexei? Sending notes to the grand duchess? Do you want me to send you into exile? Or shall I tell the grand duchess that you're a notorious heartbreaker, and have broken every woman's heart in this court, including mine?
Count Alexei: You're very flattering tonight, Your Imperial Majesty, but the note contains nothing of importance.
Empress Elizabeth Petrovna: Then suppose you read it.
Count Alexei: We are all very much disturbed by your conduct and wish you would change your behavior so that Her Gracious Majesty might forgive you.
Empress Elizabeth Petrovna: Who...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bomb Girls: How You Trust (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Kamennoi-Ostrow, No. 17
(uncredited)
By Anton Rubinstein
[Adapted by von Sternberg for wedding sequence]
See more »

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User Reviews

One more reason the Golden Age of Hollywood was golden...
18 March 2002 | by R BeckerSee all my reviews

Truly one of the greatest films ever made (see the International Film Critics' Top 100 Films list as well). Dietrich was never more luminous, nor cinematography more gorgeous, than in THE SCARLET EMPRESS. It's in black and white, but you'll feel like it's in full and glorious color. History it's not, but who cares? This is the way things should have been.


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