7.6/10
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51 user 49 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.

Writer:

Manuel Komroff (story- based on the diary of Catherine the Great)
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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 ... Count Lestoq (as Phillip Sleeman)
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:

Dietrich More Breath Taking Esquite than ever in the Royal Finery of Catherine the Greatest Lover History ever call a Queen! (original print ad- Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Lubbock, Texas - Sept.7, 1934) See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marlene Dietrich's and Josef von Sternberg's professional relationship briefly soured during the making of this film. Production delays and von Sternberg's controlling directorial style wore on Dietrich, who had worked almost exclusively with the director since her film debut. The film's poor box office showing exacerbated the discord between the two. When production wrapped, both believed this would be their last project together. However, von Sternberg convinced Dietrich to take the lead in The Devil Is a Woman (1935) the following year. Dietrich would go on to say that was her favorite of all of her films and her admiration for von Sternberg returned. They remained lifelong friends. See more »

Goofs

Peter's Holstein guard is falsely referred to as Hessian. This may have been deliberate to make use of the bad reputation of Hessian mercenaries in the American Revolutionary War. See more »

Quotes

Sophia's Aunt: Grand duchess of Russia. Not bad for this family.
Princess Sophia Frederica: I wonder what he looks like.
Princess Johanna Elizabeth: That unimportant detail can be settled when the Russian ambassador gets here.
See more »


Soundtracks

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61
(1843)
Written by Felix Mendelssohn
Excerpts incorporated into the score often
See more »

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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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)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,299
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
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