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Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Horror | 6 April 1966 (USA)
Thrown out of his monestary for licentious and drunken behaviour, Rasputin travels to St Petersburg to try his luck. Through a daliance with one of the czarina's ladies in waiting he soon ... See full summary »

Director:

Don Sharp

Writer:

Anthony Hinds (screenplay) (as John Elder)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Christopher Lee ... Grigori Rasputin
Barbara Shelley ... Sonia
Richard Pasco ... Dr. Boris Zargo
Francis Matthews ... Ivan Kesnikoff
Suzan Farmer ... Vanessa
Dinsdale Landen ... Peter
Renée Asherson ... Alexandra, Tsarina (as Renee Asherson)
Derek Francis ... Innkeeper
Joss Ackland ... The Bishop
Robert Duncan Robert Duncan ... Tsarevitch Alexei
Alan Tilvern ... Patron
John Welsh ... The Abbot
John Bailey ... Dr. Zieglov, The Physician
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Storyline

Thrown out of his monestary for licentious and drunken behaviour, Rasputin travels to St Petersburg to try his luck. Through a daliance with one of the czarina's ladies in waiting he soon gains influence at court with his powers of healing and of hypnotism. But he also makes enemies who wish to see him dead. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ladies' Man - And Lady Killer! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rasputin has a confrontation with irate villagers in a small hut. This is the same hut Charles and Diana Kent took refuge in "Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)." See more »

Goofs

The landlord in the start of the film did not cross himself properly,( head right left chest) he does it in the Catholic manner. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Doctor: No point in me staying here any longer. Keep her warm. If she recovers consciousness, give her a little brandy.
Innkeeper: And if she doesn't, doctor?
Doctor: Send for the priest.
Innkeeper: Oh God.
Doctor: Nothing more I can do.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to remove shots of a man's acid-scarred face and to shorten the love scene between Rasputin and Sonia, and VHS releases featured the same cut print. The cuts were restored in the 2003 Warner DVD and all subsequent releases. See more »

User Reviews

 
Not particularly brilliant, but quite good fun if taken for what it is
15 June 2015 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Rasputin: The Mad Monk is not one of those films where you should expect a history lesson, about two things are true but apart from that the film does play fast and loose with Rasputin and his life, which will leave historians in despair. As a film on its own terms(which I've always found a much fairer way to judge), while not great and while nowhere near Hammer's best(somewhere in the middle for me), Rasputin: The Mad Monk is fun.

It has two main flaws. One is that Rasputin: The Mad Monk has some very confined sets- in number and sometimes visually- that look like they were left over from previous Hammer films(quite a departure from Hammer's usual production values standard), when the film could have shown the beautiful Russian landscapes which would have given more of a sense of place. The wealthy also at times could have been more extravagant, the costumes are very attractive don't get me wrong but the low budget stops it from being more than that. The other flaw with Rasputin: The Mad Monk is the rather shoddy script, that contains flat dialogue, one-dimensional character writing(and this is including Rasputin, one of the 20th century's most colourful and interesting historical figures) while ignoring the political state of Russia at the time which would have brought some tension, and a few decent ideas that were sadly vaguely explored.

Francis Matthews is also rather stiff and dull, very like how he was in Dracula: Prince of Darkness, and while she does a decent job still Suzan Farmer has very little to do other than look as fetching as possible. As exciting, hugely entertaining and as tense as the climax was, it also was a touch anti-climatic and Rasputin's death was handled too quickly and too easily(from personal view).

However, the lighting is both colourful and eerie, and Rasputin: The Mad Monk is filmed beautifully and stylishly. So the film didn't look completely cheap, despite the obviousness of the low-budget. The music score is thunderously grandiose in the most thrilling of ways, giving off genuine chills and excitement. Sharp's direction is efficient enough, managing to mostly keep the story interesting and maintaining the appropriate mood. The story is mostly fun, and includes some horror elements that are handled with tension and creepy atmosphere without being gratuitous as well as some mystery elements that bring glimpses of suspense.

The best thing about Rasputin: The Mad Monk is the cast. Barbara Shelley(better utilised than she was in Dracula: Prince of Darkness) is luminous but also brings vulnerability and vast dramatic intensity, and Richard Pasco is effectively twitchy. Christopher Lee walks away with the film though to the extent that he literally IS the film, with his larger than life presence, wild appearance, chilling penetrating stare and deep and very distinctive voice it's a towering performance in every sense of the word, and it's so much fun to watch him.

On the whole, Rasputin: The Mad Monk is not a great film as such and people should look to the 1996 film starring Alan Rickman for a more accurate account of the man and his life, but it does provide some good entertainment when not taken seriously and viewed as it's meant to be and is worth catching for Lee alone. 6/10 Bethany Cox


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 April 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rasputin: The Mad Monk See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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