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Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) Poster

Trivia

Laurence Olivier first suggested Tom Baker to be cast as Rasputin. Olivier was the director of the National Theatre in England and Baker was a member of the company.
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There are many historical inaccuracies in this film, but neither the filmmakers nor Robert K. Massie, upon whose book this title is based, can be held responsible for the inaccuracies in regard to characters and events. When Robert K. Massie initially researched materials for his book, the Soviet government was still in power in Russia, and would only authorize viewing of those "facts" that had been assumed by people and "approved" by the ruling government to be examined by researchers of the Romanov family. It was not until the Soviet government fell in 1991, that documents that had been secretly put away, and which were hidden from the public could be fully examined and researched.
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Yul Brynner actively sought the role of Rasputin.
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The film could not be shown on television in the UK for many years, because of a copyright problem.
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Peter O'Toole was asked to play Rasputin, but turned it down.
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For many years, it was believed that Prime Minister David Lloyd George's wartime coalition government would not allow the Romanovs to come to the UK after the first revolution in 1917. However, many years later it was confirmed that it was King George V who was against the idea, due to the possibility of unrest similar to the previous year's Easter Rising in Ireland. The King forced the government to withdraw its offer of asylum to the Romanovs, in an apparent abuse of his position as a constitutional monarch.
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This was Janet Suzman's first film.
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Arthur Zimmermann (Curd Jürgens), the German Foreign Secretary, was instrumental in trying to arm rebellions in Ireland and India during World War I, as well as offering a military alliance with Mexico, which caused the United States to enter the conflict.
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Rex Harrison turned down the role of Count Witte, saying, "Tell him (Sam Spiegel) I do not play bit parts."
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Grace Kelly was offered the role of Alexandra, but turned it down.
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The United States was only able to enter World War I after Nicholas had abdicated, as this meant that the Allies were now all democracies fighting against the absolutist regimes of the Central Powers.
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Since Nicholas had already abdicated, it is debatable whether he had the legal right to abdicate on behalf of his son.
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Roderic Noble was chosen due to his resemblance to Aleksey Nikolaeyvitch Romanov.
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Yurovsky (Alan Webb), the old man in charge of the house, to which the Romanov family is taken, in the final part of the film, in real-life, was only forty-years-old at the time.
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Audrey Hepburn was considered to play Alexandra.
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Sir Ian Holm, Michael Redgrave, Jack Hawkins, and Sir Laurence Olivier appeared in Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), a World War I film, in which Czar Nicholas II was portrayed by Paul Daneman.
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Marlon Brando was considered for the role of Rasputin.
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The execution scene proved to be emotionally taxing for the four young actresses playing the Grand Duchesses (Ania Marson, Lynne Frederick, Candace Glendenning, Fiona Fullerton). The director noticed that the girls had gotten so "caught up in the story" and had drawn such a close bond with the each other, that they had felt like they where all a real family. During the actual filming of the execution scene, some of the girls broke down into tears and got hysterical on the set. In between takes they where taken backstage and given cups of tea in order to calm down before they returned to finish filming the dramatic and violent sequence.
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Press reports at time of pre-production said that Rex Harrison and Vanessa Redgrave were to appear as the leads. However, a recent biography of Producer Sam Spiegel stated that paperwork (in an Israeli museum) belonging to Spiegel shows that he never offered them the leads.
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This was John Shrapnel's first film.
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The film takes place from August 12, 1904 to July 17, 1918.
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Despite the massive box-office success and critical acclaim that Sam Spiegel had brought Columbia Pictures with On the Waterfront (1954), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962), the studio was unwilling to give Spiegel the budget he needed, due to a string of recent box-office failures, including The Chase (1966) and The Night of the Generals (1967).
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Nicohlas suffered a coronary occlusion on 11 March 1917, four days before his abdication.
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It has been speculated that if Russia had focused on defeating Austro-Hungary in World War I the revolution could have been avoided. The Russians were forced to end a successful offensive against the Austrians in Galicia in order to attack German-held Silesia in September 1914.
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All the executioners of the Romanovs were Jewish, as Leon Trotsky did not trust ethnic Russians to keep the family imprisoned.
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A rare leading role for Michael Jayston in a theatrical film. Coincidentally, Alexander Knox, who appears in this film, also had a rare leading role in another Oscar-nominated historical biopic, Wilson (1944).
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Lindsay Anderson was asked to direct.
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This was Brian Cox's first film.
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Director Franklin J. Schaffner and Sir Laurence Olivier (Count Witte) died only nine days apart: on July 2, 1989 and July 11, 1989 respectively.
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George Stevens, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Anthony Harvey, and Charles Jarrott were all approached about directing, before Franklin J. Schaffner was finally signed.
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John Wood (Colonel Kobylinsky) played Ptoyr Stolypin in Rasputin (1996), which depicted many of the same events.
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Julie Christie turned down the role of Alexandra.
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James Goldman also wrote the miniseries Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986).
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Liv Ullman screentested with Michael Jayston for the role of Alexandra.
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The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Sir Laurence Olivier; and three Oscar nominees: Janet Suzman, Sir Ian Holm, and Michael Redgrave.
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The two leads (Jayston, Suzman) and Timothy West, all appear in both the first and final scenes of the movie.
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Jack Hawkins' character speaks the first line, and it's dubbed by an uncredited actor.
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Vanessa Redgrave was considered for the role of Tsarina Alexandra.
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Richard Burton was offered the role of Tsar Nicholas, but he declined due to personal problems, with which he was dealing at the time.
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The cast includes three actors who played James Bond villains: Steven Berkoff, Julian Glover, and Curd Jürgens. They all played villains when Sir Roger Moore was Bond.
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Janet Suzman's aunt Helen Suzman, a South African activist, had famously befriended Nelson Mandela. Ironically, Mandela was born just the day after the Romanovs were executed in 1918.
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The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to not be nominated for Best Director.
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The only film that year nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and not in any Best Motion Picture category at the Golden Globes.
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Though Michael Jayston strongly resembles Tsar Nicholas in appearance. Jayston's fast-spoken, clipped voice is much different. Nicholas actually had a slow-spoken, gravelly voice tone (course with a heavy Russian accent when he spoke in English), as recordings of his voice still exist.
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Although the film received critical acclaim for its production value, strong cast performances, and garnered six Academy Award nominations, it was a financial flop upon release.
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Janet Suzman's Best Actress Oscar nominated performance was the only one in the category in a Best Picture nominee that year.
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Features Janet Suzman's only Oscar nominated performance.
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