Zany subversion of the 1001 Nights myth that skips all of the stories and simply focuses on the lovely Scheherazade's escape from the lustful king with the help of a magic lamp and a time traveling astrologist.
Reddleman Diggory Venn drives slowly across the heath, carrying a hidden passenger in the back of his van. When darkness falls, the country folk light bonfires on the hills, emphasizing the pagan spirit of the heath and its denizens.
Despite trying to keep his swashbuckling to a minimum, a threat to California's pending statehood causes the adventure-loving Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) -- and his wife, Elena (Zeta-Jones) -- to take action.
In this romanticized biography, a small German principality's inexperienced princess, Catherine, becomes the bride of czarevitch Peter, the mad and abusive nephew and heir of the Russian czarina Elizabeth. From Elizabeth she learns the cynical ropes of wielding absolute imperial power at any cost, including sacrificing her lover, young guards officer Saltykov, who must give her an heir that Peter can't and is then sent abroad. After Elizabeth's death, she quickly moves to seize power with military and court support. She then works to enlarge and modernize the empire, again putting statesmanship ahead of her lover, a military genius who defeats the Ottomans and governs the conquered territories for her.Written by
Jeanne Moreau (Elizabeth) played Catherine in Great Catherine (1969). See more »
When Catherine trades in her virginity to get pregnant, the skin of her mate's back and legs is tanned, while his buttocks are perfectly white. There were neither sunbathing nor a pair of trunks in 18th century. See more »
The 21st of August 1745... my wedding day. I was fifteen. The Grand Duke Peter was two years older, and we were both pawns in a political game.
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Approx. 80 minutes were deleted from the US version by A&E compared to the original German version which was shown in 2 parts a 90 minutes. See more »
Catherine Zeta-Jones does an outstanding job in this movie about Catherine the Great of Russia (Zeta-Jones earns the title for herself.) The political intrigue of the 18th century Imperial Russian court comes alive as Catherine - to ensure her own survival - seizes the throne from her husband, the dim-witted and obnoxious Czar Peter, and establishes herself as Empress of Russia. Demonstrating her own political skills, she becomes absolute ruler.
There are some very good battle scenes and few weaknesses in this movie. The plight of the Russian serfs might have been made a little more clear. Their revolt against Catherine's authority dominates the latter part of the movie, but somehow we never really get any strong sense of what they were up against. I also would have been quite willing to watch this movie for another hour or so to have been able to follow Catherine's later career. As it stands, the ending left me a bit empty. All in all, though, this movie well deserves a rating of 8 out of 10.
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