Alexander Palace Forum

Books and Films about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia => Films and TV shows about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia => Topic started by: RichC on October 18, 2004, 02:10:49 PM

Title: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: RichC on October 18, 2004, 02:10:49 PM
Has anyone ever seen the film Rasputin and the Empress, which starred the Barrymores?  Any good??

It's the film that Yussopov sued and won a lot of money over.  Does anyone know if it's available on DVD?  Amazon has it on VHS but I'm looking for the DVD version.

Many thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Robert_Hall on October 18, 2004, 02:19:10 PM
I have it on tape. I do not know if a dvd exists.
It is fun, for the Barrymores. Not a shred of truth to it and it shows age [movie making style].
Strictly camp, not to ba taken even remotely seriously.
Cheers,
Robert
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: RichC on October 18, 2004, 09:17:29 PM
Thank you, Robert.  I just read on another thread that Ethel Barrymore may have actually met Alexandra and that she was coached for the performance by people who knew the Empress.  So, I'm looking forward to seeing it!
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Greg_King on October 19, 2004, 08:53:26 AM
It does, however, have fairly good sets and costumes, including recreations of the Cathedral of the Assumption, the St. Andrei Hall in the Kremlin Palace, and Nicholas's Study in the Alexander Palace, as well as gowns and jewels specifically copied by the wardrobe department from exisiting models.  Just ignore the fact that the bushy-haired kid playing Alexei has a Brooklyn accent!

Greg King
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: azrael7171918 on October 19, 2004, 11:49:37 AM
 I remember it well and have the vhs.

 MGM or whomever owns the films now (MGM films have been bought out by so many companies it's hard to keep track) is very stingy with dvd's.

I have the souvenir book from the film (from ebay) and there was quite a bit of assistance from Russians in the states (after all it was less than 20 years since the revolution)

Unfortunately the studio didn't think about the prelude and the name changes of characters which would bring the expensive lawsuit.

If you are interested there is a lobby card that shows up on ebay from the final scene  plus the book based on one of the screenplays written by Charles McArthur ( interesting fact he was the husband of Helen Hayes who would portray the Empress Marie in Anastasia)

Azrael
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Annie on October 19, 2004, 02:50:34 PM
I think it was awful. This is the one Felix and Irina Yussoupov sued over and won. (they thought 2 of the characters were based on them) This led to the famous disclaimer seen today 'any resemblance between anyone living or dead is purely coincidental'  Also thanks to that lawsuit, chunks of the movie had to be edited out leaving what we see today as choppy and not making sense in some places.
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on October 19, 2004, 03:20:11 PM
For me, Rasputin and the Empress is a curiosity. In fact, long before Nicholas and Alexandra, I would come across references to Rasputin and the Empress in my mom's film books, re: a local wax museum, etc., and these references--along with a Reader's Digest article, "I Killed Rasputin," condensed from Yussopov's memoirs, ignited my interest while I was still a child.

Finally--about five years ago--I found a copy of Rasputin and the Empress and purchased it. We can excuse the film for being "not very good" by saying that it is simply old, but the fact of the matter is that some very fine films were made at that time and still hold up quite well. After reading more on the subject, however, I found that Rasputin and the Empress found disfavor with honest critics (as opposed to movie studio toadies) from the moment it first came out. The production was beset by all sorts of problems, and generally these problems evolved from one, two, or all three of the Barrymores. That's largely why the script seems so uneven . . .  the writers were having to pander to a trio of sibling egos, and consequently the finished product has a very slap/dash look to it. So, yes, the film is seriously flawed, but still of interest to any Romanovophile, and as Greg mentioned, certain production aspects are top-notch for those times.

However, I remember that some years ago my Russian History prof chuckled about how "Lionel Barrymore really chewed the scenery," and I would have to agree!
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: anna on October 19, 2004, 06:42:30 PM
I would love to lay hands on that film, despite of all critics. I've read the Barrymores were great, but the direction wasn't that good. Because it's an oldy I think it must be difficult to find a copy..and no dvd I think. Anyone suggestions?

Anna
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Greg_King on October 19, 2004, 11:40:28 PM
It should be fairly easy to find if it's still in print.  I remember I bought my VHS copy in 1993 when it first came out and had to pay $90; now you should be able to find it on Amazon or ebay for $10-15.

Greg King
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: azrael7171918 on October 20, 2004, 09:50:44 AM
Greg
   You got taken to the cleaners on the vhs I bought when it first came and I Know it didn't cost me that much. I would have waited till the price went down.

Azrael
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Silja on October 20, 2004, 02:23:05 PM
I also think the film is interesting. The script is so absurd that it's rather funny. But Ethel Barrymore is actually quite good.
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on October 20, 2004, 03:07:25 PM
Videos were initially quite expensive. Then suddenly the price dropped. But to own any movie in those days was a delirious sort of feeling. Before that time, we were dependent on the whims of the television schedulers.  So to pay $90 or more--if you really really wanted that movie--was a priviledge, believe me!
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on October 20, 2004, 03:46:26 PM
Regarding the film and its legal issues, I just found this and thought it might be of interest:

RASPUTIN And The Libel Lawyers
We've all read the familiar credit line "...the characters in this photoplay are fictional and bear no resemblance to real persons living or dead..." Ever wonder where it came from?

In 1932 MGM released RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS, a lavish retelling of the last days of Czarist Russia in the court of Nicholas and Alexandra. The story boasted weighty roles for all three of the Barrymores, MGM's most famous acting family. A character named Prince Chegodieff was created for John, Ethel played Alexandra, and Lionel got the plum role of the power-crazed monk Rasputin. Events and characters were embellished and combined, but by and large the historical content stayed faithful to the facts.

Too faithful. Lying in wait for the release of RASPUTIN was Princess Irina Yousoupoff, the genuine niece of the Czar. Living in exile in Paris, she must have found out about the film's content before its release. When RASPUTIN premiered simultaneously in several European capitols, the Princess had a separate libel lawsuit ready to file in each country where the film played. In her suit she claimed that the film's character Princess Natasha, played by Diana Wynward, was meant to represent her. This Princess Natasha is depicted as sexually compromised by the evil Rasputin, thus smearing the honor of the real Princess Irina, according to the lawsuit. In 1932 the events of the Russian Revolution were only fifteen years old, and sympathy in the West for the large community of exiled White Russians was high.

The Princess won her case in London, where the film had been released as RASPUTIN, THE MAD MONK, to the tune of $125,000, an enormous sum in the depression era. Helping the case become worldwide news was dramatic testimony that included a firsthand account by Irina's husband, Prince Yousoupoff, of the gruesome details of Rasputin's untimely end. This is the famous, and apparently true, tale in which the madman absorbed poison, bullets, and brutal clubbings with little effect. Incidentally, this is also the highlight of the film, and unexpectedly violent for its time.

MGM probably identified with Rasputin's torment; it reportedly later settled for yet higher sums to keep the case out of courts in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Frederick S. Clarke detailed this fascinating bit of film history in the very first issue of his Cinefantastique magazine back in 1970*. He mentions MGM having to apologize to the Princess and amending the film with the 'purely fictional' notice. What he doesn't talk about is the film itself, which I believe was heavily censored by MGM to remove those scenes offensive to the Princess. Prints of RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS shown on Home Video and on Cable TV's Turner Classic Movies have an identical series of frustrating cuts, all around the 'Princess Natasha' character. When Lionel Barrymore's Rasputin begins to consolidate his power in the Czar's court, he uses some pretext to get Natasha to his private apartment, where ... a jarring cut curtails the scene. Soon thereafter, Natasha is seen moping and distressed whenever Rasputin's name is mentioned, and panics at the thought of the monk being left alone with one of the royal children. Natasha's role is crucial in the scene where Alexandra finally sees through Rasputin's deceit; the scene is chopped just as the distraught Princess is finally about to disclose some awful personal secret to the Czarina. It seems clear that in the original cut Princess Natasha was either seduced or raped by the evil monk, with or without the aid of hypnosis, and threatened with humiliation should she speak against him. This was a pre-Hays code production, when such sordid plot complications weren't unusual. If the subplot had been deemed too risque, it would have been jettisoned in the script stage. That's the American way.

RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS ended up being a fiscal headache for MGM. Even with the cuts it manages to tell its story well, and holds its own against 1971's NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA, which covers some of the same events.

----------------------------

Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: anna on October 20, 2004, 04:41:13 PM
Janet, this is interesting, I never knew the exact facts. Isn't it time to release the full uncut version? Or is this by rights impossible, I don't know if the verdict is still legal?

Well it's still available, Amazon.co.uk is selling it for 15.00 GBP if I'm correct that's about $ 28.00 USD. That'll do.

Anna
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on October 20, 2004, 06:05:49 PM
Hi Anna--

These days extra, unused film is preserved and shows up on DVDs. However, in the 1930s outtakes and excess film footage were often trashed. And, given the legal issues re: the scenes which were removed, this footage was probably destroyed. But who knows . . . maybe someday they will show up?

Janet
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Robert_Hall on October 20, 2004, 06:25:22 PM
Also, when MGM was being "dis-mantled" prior to the great auctions of the early '70's,  literally tons of material was destroyed and used as landfill on their backlots.  In the case of those old nitarte films, if the edited clips had even survived, they are most likely now underneath acres of parking lots and  condominiums.
Cheers,
Robert
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Greg_King on October 21, 2004, 12:00:46 AM
Quote
Greg
    You got taken to the cleaners on the vhs I bought when it first came and I Know it didn't cost me that much. I would have waited till the price went down.

Azrael


I actualy paid list for it-at the time it was released that I got it it had not been priced for general sales but for rental markets (it might have been in the late 1980s or early 90s), so I didn't have choice.  And I had to have it as I was then working on my biography of Felix Yusupov, so didn't have a choice!

Greg King
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Annie on October 21, 2004, 07:27:14 PM
Quote
It should be fairly easy to find if it's still in print.  I remember I bought my VHS copy in 1993 when it first came out and had to pay $90; now you should be able to find it on Amazon or ebay for $10-15.

Greg King



I remember in the 'old days' most videotapes, especially hard to find or less popular ones, were very expensive. When video rentals first started in the mid-80's you had to give a blank inprint of your credit card, signed, to join. If lost, a video could easily run close to a hundred bucks. As time went on and popularity skyrocketed, somewhere someone got the brilliant idea that if you sell the video for $14.99 instead of $89.99 you make a LOT more in the long run because the average person in the general public became customers, not just 'rich folk', video stores and libraries. Now even the scarcest videos are only about $30 tops (if you can find them still in print, some things have been discontinued over time)
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: borgia on November 03, 2004, 07:13:37 PM
Rasputin and the Empress was an acting field day for the Barrymore brothers and sister.I think that Ethel Barrymore looks more like the Empress than other ladies who have portrayed her.I remember one scene,where she asks a soldier,to please take and care for the family pet birds. Felix Yusupov   should have only been  half as good looking as John Barrymore ,who portrayed the character based on  him. And I think that John played him  with far more justice and heroics than he deserved .            Lionel Barrymore acts up a storm as Rasputin.But,thats  an acting  part youve got to run away with.I wonder if the royal family,especially King George and Queen Mary,saw the film?What might they have thought?
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: borgia on November 03, 2004, 07:29:25 PM
A friend of mine got into the VCRs,and videos,when they 1st came out, about 25  to 30 years ago.Hes said that it was a very expensive pursuit.  Around 20 years ago, I would rent the big,clunky box of a VCR player , and videos,from a local supermarket.Twas a big production.Talking about when VCRs and videos 1st came out;are we not dating ourselves!?
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: BobAtchison on November 05, 2004, 06:01:21 PM
An older Russian historian friend of mine told me if I wanted to know how Alexandra spoke then watch Ethel Barrymore's performance....  This is what I was told:

Ethel Barrymore patterned her voice and mannerisms on Alexandra herself.  A duchess (Westminster, I think) among other people who knew the Empress, assisted her in creating the character and voice.  I have no idea if this duchess knew Alexandra.  I was also told that Ethel had met Alexandra - I don't know how this could have been possible.  Has anyone else run across anything on this?

Bob
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on November 05, 2004, 06:31:09 PM
I read that too, Bob. It may also be in her autobiography.

In her late teens,twenties and thirties, Ethel Barrymore was seen as a sort of "Young America" type of woman--pretty, talented, fashionable, spirited. (By the time she played Alexandra, of course, she was much older.) Her photos and articles about her were included on a regular basis in all popular ladies' magazines of the time. She also took England and many central European nations by storm. It's very possible that she may have toured St. P; I'd have to do some more research.
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on November 08, 2004, 05:28:06 PM
Re: the matter of whether Ethel Barrymore met the Tsarina, I checked two of my books about the Barrymore family this weekend. One of them mentioned that Ethel Barrymore claimed to have met both the Tsar and Tsarina through her friend, the Duchess of Sutherland. Further checking indicated that if this were true, it would have taken place in the late 1890s or very early 1900s. Ethel was an international society "darling" at that time, so it's possible. I'll continue to be on the lookout for more information.
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: LisaDavidson on November 08, 2004, 10:40:39 PM
One of the reasons Irina Yusoupova prevailed in her suit against MGM was the fact that the Princess Natasha character could only have been her. Tsar Nicholas' siblings who had children only had boys with the exception of her - so there was no possibility "Natasha" could have been anyone else. Also, the film depiction of "Natasha" contained the falsehood that she had beend raped by Rasputin.
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on January 11, 2005, 07:01:10 PM
I've just been getting around to reviewing, once again, my copy of Rasputin and the Empress. (I watched it several years ago when I first purchased it.) And I think the best thing one can say about this film is that you are able to see all three Barrymores!

Otherwise, I find it a travesty.  :o  In fact, checking a previous item which I posted last year, I can't imagine why anyone would find this film comparable in quality to the 1971 film.

The problem isn't due, specifically, to it being an older film; I have found many films from that same year of far better quality. Unfortunately, the production was very bumpy, due to many factors, and the writing is inconsistant, being everything from okay to ludicrous. Anyone of us will see obvious mistakes from the first five minutes on. Rasputin is played outrageously by Lionel, and he must have had a lot of fun scratching, belching, etc., but his Father Gregori is straight out of a melodrama. Moreover, the situations involving Rasputin are innacurate (the film was originally going to be called simply Rasputin) and have him literally hypnotizing Alexei from behind a window, telling both Nicholas and Alexandra he'll be taking over, etc., etc. John Barrymore's theatrics would be better suited to the theater, and Ethel Barrymore gamely tries to maintain a sense of dignity but is also stagey. (Incidentally, Alexandra is written as very sympathetic.) The actor who plays Nicholas, Ralph Morgan, actually isn't half bad, but his reedy voice is in sad contrast to that of the Barrymores.

The plot twists and turns to the point of ridiculousness. (And I think we'll all agree that the actual story is dramatic enough!) Another bizarre aspect: Someone spliced in actual footage of the Tsar's soldiers, which is in faster motion than the 1932 film.

Finally, it's no wonder that Felix and Irina went to court over this movie. If you were alive in the 1930s and had known the Romanovs or were knowledgeable of the Russian Court, seeing this film must have been an apalling experience. And besides the distortions and out-and-out lies, the production (aside from some nicely appointed sets) is like an extremely bad high school production . . . or some sort of comedy spoof.

Concurrently, I am reading Ethel Barrymore's autobiography, which is charming. She does briefly mention the production, saying that it was all very confusing because the script was changed from day to day. She also says nothing about meeting the Tsarina personally--at least, I haven't found any reference as yet--but I am sure she did know people who had known Alexandra.

So, if you want to look at this film, perhaps it would be best to borrow a copy! It is worthwhile, but more as a curiousity than anything else.





Title: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Imperial.Opal on April 06, 2005, 08:30:01 AM
Hi there.I recently saw Rasputin and the Empress on tv the late late movie,starring the 3 Barrymores -Ethel,John and Lionel.It was made 15 years after the revolution and is set between 1913 and 1918.I believe MGM was sued for damages by Princess Irina Yousoupoff for her portrayal in the movie,not a bad movie for its time.- Compared to Nicholas and Alexandra 1971, is it good or bad,comments welcome.Thanks Imperial Opal Australia
Title: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: azrael7171918 on December 10, 2005, 11:04:35 AM
Word is out today on Yahoo news that actress Jean Parker died on November 30th at the age of 90.

For those of you who don't know she portrayed Grand Duchess Marie in Rasputin and the Empress.

She had the largest part of the children except of course for Tad Alexander who portrayed Alexie.
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: ferngully on December 10, 2005, 01:28:19 PM
can you tell me more about the film? i never saw a representation of the romanovs where marie played a big part
selina                       xxxxxxxx
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on December 12, 2005, 01:09:53 PM
I didn't see this thread until today; I apologize for initiating a separate thread under the news section re: Jean Parker's death!

I happen to own a copy of Rasputin and the Empress. It is of interest to both film aficienados and Romanov enthusiasts, not so much due to cinematic excellence or historical accuracy, but because it is the only film to feature all three Barrymore siblings and is also the foundation for a great deal of wrong-thinking re: the Rasputin factor. Many of us, in fact, are aware that this film provoked a legal trial in which Felix and Irina Youssopov pressed charges against Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios regarding portions of the script regarding a princess who, essentially, was Irinia.

Another aspect of the story that could have provoked a legal battle was the portrayal of Rasputin and his involvement with the royal children. The scenes in which he supposedly hypnotizes Alexei are, in fact, comical from today's point-of-view. But another scene does show Rasputin making the moves on Marie. Jean Parker, an exceptionally pretty young actress, is well-cast in the role.  There is no evidence that I'm aware of, however, that Rasputin ever molested or attempted to molest the children.

The film incurred a number of production problems, in part due to the squabbles between the Barrymore siblings, but also due to some of the slap-dash scriptwriting, which shows. All the same, the sets are generally quite well done, and the costuming is also good for it's time. Recently I visited The Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park, California, which closed its doors on October 31. One of the exhibits showed all three Barrymores as portrayed in the film, and the gown worn by Ethel Barrymore as the Empress was particularly dazzling. A plaque indicated that it was an exact replica of the actual dress; whether that is true or not, I do not know, but in comparing photographs of Alexandra in the gown to the Movieland Wax Museum gown, I would say that someone did an excellent job of creating a copy of a copy!
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Imperial.Opal on December 14, 2005, 04:55:35 AM
    Janet- W,
                   Have you read Rasputin in Hollywood, a interesting book about the legal battle between MGM and the Yussapovs over Rasputin and the Empress. Regards. I.OPAL   :) :)  ;)
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on December 14, 2005, 11:39:55 AM
Glad you mentioned it, I. Opal! I've been trying to track down a copy of that book for some time. One of these days I'll find a copy; I'm sure Amazon.com could oblige me, but first I want to clear the holidays!

Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Grishka on December 14, 2005, 03:22:58 PM
I need to see that film!

It's a shame that Rasputin's murderer was successful in sueing MGM. It just doesn't seem fair to me. He not only got away with murder, but he was proud of it.
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Imperial.Opal on December 15, 2005, 05:38:35 AM
  :)   Janet - W
                   Please email me your postal address and I will gladly mail my copy to you, as I live in Sydney, Australia, it may take some time with the Christmas and New Year holidays, have a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful Happy New Year 2006. Regards, Imperial Opal.  :)  :D  ;)

Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: ferngully on December 15, 2005, 09:44:20 AM
interesting sounding film :) lets hope i'll come across it sometime
selina                         xxxxxxxxx
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: Janet_W. on December 15, 2005, 04:06:38 PM
Opal, I will PM you later today or tomorrow with my address, and I thank you for your generosity . . . I have a few duplicates of Romanov-oriented books, so maybe we can arrange a swap!

Many thanks for your thoughtfulness--

Janet
Title: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: koloagirl on May 02, 2007, 04:30:27 PM
 :D

Aloha all!

I just caught on TMC channel - the 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress".  While I have heard about this film for years, I have never had the opportunity to see it -- just curious if anyone else has had the opportunity and what their thoughts were on it.   ???

It is of course notable for being the only film in which John, Lionel and Ethel Barrymore were in together -- also because of the lawsuit Prince Yussupov filed against the studio, now all films must have the disclaimer "no resemblance to any persons living or dead.....".

It was pretty wild I have to say -- the whole putting members of the IF into a trance (Alexei) and having them do Rasputin's bidding -- they did show OTMA also -- but Maria was the only one really to have many lines -- and I was kinda uncomfortable at the scene where Rasputin goes into her bedroom -- uh-oh!  The scene were "Natasha" (really supposed to be Irina) was raped by Rasputin was cut out of the film after the lawsuit, so it gets pretty choppy and you can't quite figure out why all of a sudden she goes from practically worshipping him to being terrified -- unless you know scenes were cut.

The "finale" between the character supposed to be Yussupov and Rasputin was pretty rough!  Lots of Rasputin bashing with a bullet to the shoulder of the Prince also -- all in all it was pretty entertaining and I thought it was actually more respectful of the IF than many more current films have been.  I also thought while I was watching this that it was pretty recent history in 1932! 

Anyone else's thoughts?
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Sarushka on May 02, 2007, 07:47:02 PM
Dang, I wish I hadn't missed that showing -- and me a TCM junkie.  It's not scheduled to be shown in the near future, either. :(


Maybe if a bunch of us vote for it on TCM's website, they'll run it again. Here's the link:
http://www.tcmdb.com/title/title.jsp?stid=388 (http://www.tcmdb.com/title/title.jsp?stid=388)

Click on "suggest this movie" in the right-hand column, just below where it says "playing on TCM."
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Robert_Hall on May 02, 2007, 08:39:57 PM
It is available on vhs. Amazon lists it.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: koloagirl on May 05, 2007, 02:24:31 PM
 :)

I wonder if they will ever release it on DVD -- my VHS just broke and I'm debating over whether to purchase a combo DVD/VHS machine or not.

I just really found the film fascinating -- and apparently many people associated directly with the film were Russian emigrees -- I believe the screen writer knew Prince Yussupov?  Even the costumes weren't too bad -- altho' much more 1930's vintage than the era portrayed.

And as I said before, when this film was made -- the Romanov massacre would have been pretty recent history.  And I'll admit, I'm a sucker for the Barrymore's - overacting or not!
 ::)
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Robert_Hall on May 05, 2007, 02:28:42 PM
I am in the same boat, so to speak. My video play bit the dust as well.  Buy a new one or wait for the dvd?
However, the movie is pretty bad. I liked it because it  is the film the Youssopovs won the lawsuit against MGM.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Silja on May 07, 2007, 02:52:04 PM
:D

and I thought it was actually more respectful of the IF than many more current films have been. 

Hm, it was interesting, but totally inaccurate historically. It for instance presented Alexandra as a champion of democracy. Very original  ;D
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: koloagirl on May 09, 2007, 02:10:46 PM
 ;D

Aloha all!

Oh yes, I loved how they made Nicky and Alix big proponents of the "Duma" -- and that Rasputin was dead set against it because it would lessen his power over the IF!  What a hoot!

As long as you don't take it seriously in any way, it is a fun film to watch!

Malama Pono,
Janet
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: GDLynn on May 14, 2007, 10:20:29 AM
I've got it taped off of the Tv....I like this movie! even if it was choppy...I didn't know Natasha was raped by Rasputin in the movie...wow not good...

Anastasia has one line in the movie(something about her papa's chair) and Maria has a lot (I didn't count)

All in all...it's a good movie....the end sense is great.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Imperial_Grounds on August 03, 2008, 04:54:37 PM
Well, I downloaded it recently, but haven't had the time to watch it properly. But I have to say the scenery, sets and costumes are really good. Also I love Ethel as Alix, her voice suits the role of a caring mother, and her brother as Rasputin creeped me to be honest. Also the filming was good, and put something to the mood of the film. The revolution is really brief, as is the execution but I really got terrified when they were taken away, it's just the sense of the whole scene leading up to the end.

But it annoyed me the sound wasn't going synchronized with the movie, that might be the torrent, it is really annoying to me. It is clear when they speak, and during the execution scene you start to hear the guns when they are already firing...

But in fact I love Classic movies, it depends what kind of film it is, so I should be able to enjoy this one.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Imperial_Grounds on September 28, 2008, 02:05:42 PM
I just watched the whole thing It has great sets and costumes, the Barymore's really did a bit of overacting at some times, but I love Ethel as Alix, her voice has something. The most creepy scenes in here are the ones when Rasputin takes a peek in Maria's room and when Rasputin 'teaches' Alexei how he'll become his instrument(the fly-scene), quite creepy, and the execution at the end is really short but the whole thing leading up to it is so tense and strong, you really sense the danger.

It's not accurate at all, but enjoyable to watch and it clearly is an anti-Soviet movie, portraying Nick and Alix as rulers who wanted to share the power with the people. Charming movie, but inaccurate.

And now a bit on the torrent I posted earlier: Is it me or isn't it synchronized - it seems that they talk a bit too soon,
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Ally Kumari on October 01, 2008, 01:14:49 PM
Just saw this. Not that bad, considering the time of the making.
Not very accurate, but some of the scenes were interesting.

I did like the court dresses at the very beggining and family lunch in the garden.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: RichC on October 01, 2008, 10:42:55 PM

Isn't this a copyrighted film?  If not I guess the file sharing is ok, but I wouldn't do it unless I was sure.  However, there are a few scenes of the film available on YouTube.  Just search Rasputin and the Empress.  I always thought the stuff about her voice was cool and you can hear it in these clips if you don't want to watch the entire movie.

Did anyone ever figure out if Barrymore actually met Empress Alexandra in person?  I actually did buy her memoirs a few years ago and didn't see anything in there about meeting the Empress.  Apparently Churchill proposed marriage to Ethel Barrymore in 1900.

According to the website Corbis, the caption in a photo of Barrymore dressed in costume for Rasputin and the Empress includes a floppy hat which was actually worn by the Empress.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Imperial_Grounds on October 04, 2008, 05:16:41 PM

You're welcome,

It's a good movie, not accurate but it's a good drama. The scenery and costumes are really amazing, as we are used from MGM, and there is one scene that gave me chills. The final scene, not accurate but the emotion of it is really strong, no word is being said, only footsteps heard and all of the sudden guns are fired. Great scene, and of course the one in the garden is also enjoyable and really shows the loving family they were.

The only problem i have with this movie is the audio, in the beginning it is synchronized, but after an hour it starts to change, and you really do notice it at some parts. But it's a good movie, worth to watch and it has certainly it's charm, the scenery and costumes, of course.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on October 04, 2008, 07:14:08 PM
This is one of the pictures i want to see soo badly!! (im a huge fan of John and Lionel Barrymore )

As a sneak peak some stills of the movie




(http://img159.imagevenue.com/loc341/th_64526_143170586_o_122_341lo.jpg) (http://img159.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=64526_143170586_o_122_341lo.jpg)(http://img176.imagevenue.com/loc515/th_64532_C0114a_122_515lo.jpg) (http://img176.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=64532_C0114a_122_515lo.jpg)(http://img213.imagevenue.com/loc436/th_64546_john_and_ethel_122_436lo.jpg) (http://img213.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=64546_john_and_ethel_122_436lo.jpg)(http://img13.imagevenue.com/loc1104/th_64548_john_in_military_costume_122_1104lo.jpg) (http://img13.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=64548_john_in_military_costume_122_1104lo.jpg)
(http://img171.imagevenue.com/loc1138/th_64554_postal_con_uniforme_122_1138lo.jpg) (http://img171.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=64554_postal_con_uniforme_122_1138lo.jpg)
(http://img132.imagevenue.com/loc1087/th_65395_the_barrymores_in_rasputin_122_1087lo.jpg) (http://img132.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=65395_the_barrymores_in_rasputin_122_1087lo.jpg)(http://img146.imagevenue.com/loc738/th_65401_Lionel_as_rasputin_122_738lo.jpg) (http://img146.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=65401_Lionel_as_rasputin_122_738lo.jpg)(http://img244.imagevenue.com/loc194/th_65407_inm_rtasputin_and_the_empress_122_194lo.jpg) (http://img244.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=65407_inm_rtasputin_and_the_empress_122_194lo.jpg)
 
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Robert_Hall on October 04, 2008, 09:17:04 PM
The design of the film is great. And the Barrymores are OTT when acting [well, thier real lives were as well].  The script was just junque though. Which is the reason the Yussoupovs won the lawsuit.
 
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Imperial_Grounds on March 25, 2009, 11:59:15 AM
Intresting news - there was an official DVD, but now there is an official DVD available.

Here is the link:
http://www.wbshop.com/Rasputin-and-the-Empress-+EST-MOD/1000088097,default,pd.html?cgid=ARCHIVE

It is a good movie on its own, and the execution scene, well it is haunting.

Just hope there'll be an international release, but then again "Marie Antoinette" also got a R1-release only.

Anyway, for those intrested....
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 25, 2009, 02:50:18 PM
I have Rasputin  on vhs,  just for  curiosity, as it is a  well made film, but the overacting by the Barrymores and the historical liberties taken a bit too much, even for me.  I will transfer it to dvd when I figure out how the machine works.
 As for MA, which film are you talking about? I have the Coppola version on R2 and the Norma Shearer version as well. As I recall, I bought both from Virgin UK, which sadly, no longer exists.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Imperial_Grounds on March 25, 2009, 02:55:28 PM
To the classic movie on MA, so with Norma Shearer - which is wonderful.

I have a non-official dvd of this, but sadly the audio and image often are not going alike, which annoys me a bit to be honest.
I agree also that it is a good film, but not for a historical drama because of the liberties taken.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: LisaDavidson on March 25, 2009, 03:06:11 PM
Regarding the Barrymores' overacting - it actually took some time for the craft of film acting to develop and it was in its infancy in the early 1930's when this film was made. Many of the actors in early films were stage trained actors and the craft of stage acting does involve such techniques as exaggerated movements and projecting one's voice which is noticeable in early films - such as this one. It took them awhile to realize what worked on the boards does generally not work on film and vice versa.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Alixz on May 15, 2009, 02:09:19 PM
Also - what was needed in silent films was not needed in the "talkies".

Over reacting and broad sweeping movement were needed to convey a lot in the silent films and I don't think that some actors ever learned that is wasn't needed when they transferred to "talkies" or from the stage to the  "talkies" as Lisa said.

This movie is copyrighted and I have removed all links to any kind of download.  In fact one of the "torrents' was removed because of copyright infringement.

And OT but just the same. When I bought my first copy of Nicholas and Alexandra, I paid $75 for it.  It listed for $125, but I had a special new member coupon and other discounts and that brought it down to the $75 I paid.  As Greg King said about Rasputin and the Empress, "I had to have it". 

All VHS were equally expensive when they first came out.  It wasn't until movies makers started adding commercials and trailers for other movies that the cost of producing them went down to where it is today.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Geniebeanie on July 12, 2009, 10:43:52 PM
I have it on VHS and it just became available on DVD.  If you go to Turner classic movies, you can order it.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: RealAnastasia on July 13, 2009, 11:18:41 PM
Yes. Silent films were all what we will call nowadays "overacted". Since they've not words to say, they must said everything with gestures, and they were almost always, very exagerated. That's one of the reasons for most of good actors from silent movies couldn't fit in "talkies". The other reason was that...some of them had really UGLY voices!  ;D

I've seen this film long time ago and I remember that I've liked it...However, there was a fact I never could swallow: what's the matter about a CURLY Alexei? I know he was somewhat curly unti he was a toddler, but after a while, his curls were gone. I know it's a minor detail in a movie. But I like the characters appareance more accurate that it's used to be. In the case of Alexei, they could have used a wig!

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Alixz on July 14, 2009, 08:21:58 AM
I don't think the idea of matching facial features to the real life characters came about until the mid 1960s.

Before that the idea was to cast a "big name star" to get the audience into the theater.  Especially someone like the Barrymores;
 
The first time I recall any actor being cast who looked like the real person was Cliff Robertson when he played JFK in PT109.

Of course Nicholas & Alexandra tried to cast actors who looked like the Romanovs and Lenin, etc.  It was a partial success.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: blessOTMA on August 04, 2010, 09:25:33 PM
This movie will be shown on Tuner Classic Movie channel  ( TMC ) at mid-night , eastern standard time , Aug 5th 2010
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: azrael7171918 on August 05, 2010, 05:37:28 AM
I have it on VHS and it just became available on DVD.  If you go to Turner classic movies, you can order it.

You can go to Warner Archives on the Warner website as well.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: azrael7171918 on August 05, 2010, 05:39:01 AM
I have it on VHS and it just became available on DVD.  If you go to Turner classic movies, you can order it.

You can go to Warner Archives on the Warner website as well.

Sorry didn't know it was already posted
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on August 05, 2010, 08:56:43 PM
My dad recorded it for me. I didn't even know it was coming on!

I watched it up to the part with the fly and the ant. That's when I decided I had enough and turned it off.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Helen_Azar on August 06, 2010, 03:16:36 PM
I saw it recently on DVD, and since I was expecting something really godawful, I didn't think it was that bad... There was some obvious editing going on, where the rape scene was supposed to be (which I think they were sued over?), so I guess they were forced to do that, but on the whole I didn't think it was terrible...
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: CorisCapnSkip on May 17, 2011, 12:14:41 AM
I need to see that film!

It's a shame that Rasputin's murderer was successful in sueing MGM. It just doesn't seem fair to me. He not only got away with murder, but he was proud of it.

And, it seems, made such a reputation with lawsuits that studios came to him!  http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/382552%7C0/Cult-Movie-Picks-May-2011.html/
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: CorisCapnSkip on May 17, 2011, 12:21:20 AM
My dad recorded it for me. I didn't even know it was coming on!

I watched it up to the part with the fly and the ant. That's when I decided I had enough and turned it off.

That's the part where I came in.  I was mistaken about when it was playing on TCM (the times were given in east coast and I'm west coast).  I went to the website and can't tell from this movie's page there if/when it will be played again.  Can anyone have better luck than I?  I did find that some of the deleted material appears in the trailer, which can be viewed on the TCM website.

What I did see was a hoot.  Lionel Barrymore as Rasputin decrying the poor masses sounded just like Mr. Potter trashing the poor of Bedford Falls in It's a Wonderful Life!
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: blessOTMA on May 17, 2011, 12:34:33 AM
They play it about twice a year lately...what I find remarkable are the uniforms...military and nursing...they seem to have been  just be taken out of personal  trunks...it was made not too long after the events...about 15 years.  I think Ethel's  performance well worth watching ...the murder scene is pretty powerful...of course the film's not  actuate etc
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: CorisCapnSkip on May 17, 2011, 08:37:03 PM
Yes, except for the last scene with the glaring error of backless evening dresses at the party, I was pretty impressed with the wardrobe.  It looked so much like the original pictures.

I am also very impressed that Ethel Barrymore met Alexandra and sought the direction of people who knew her in modeling her performance.  It gives this movie a special connection that others don't have.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Olga Bernice on June 05, 2011, 07:42:59 PM
I didn't think the movie was very bad at all. It was one of my introductions to the Romanov family, and I didn't know much about Rasputin, or anybody else for that matter, before I saw the movie.
Some parts weren't quite true, that I'll admit. But you must remember, it was made in 1932. This was before Nicholas and Alexandra, before any of the Romanov books that we now have the luxury of having were ever in print. So the people had to kind of take what they knew and had to make it enough - and they also had to weave a good story out of it.
So thinking of it in those standards, I would say that it wasn't that bad - for the time, in my opinion, it was quite good.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Clemence on June 11, 2011, 07:22:19 AM
in the IMDB the title is ''Rasputin the Mad Monk'' and not ''Rasputin and the Empress''? anyone knows why that is?
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: CorisCapnSkip on June 13, 2011, 04:29:44 AM
in the IMDB the title is ''Rasputin the Mad Monk'' and not ''Rasputin and the Empress''? anyone knows why that is?

There is more than one movie about Rasputin.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Clemence on June 13, 2011, 06:34:51 AM
yes, thank you,  but we are discussing one in particular in this topic, and I cannot find it in the imdb, have you been able to perhaps?
all I can see is that the title has at some point been changed, who knows when and why ...

Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: Laura Mabee on June 13, 2011, 10:27:04 AM
Here you go Clemence:

IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0023374/)
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: CorisCapnSkip on October 26, 2017, 04:36:46 AM
TCM showed both Nicholas and Alexandra and Rasputin and the Empress (1932) Wednesday evening/Thursday morning for the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution so I finally got to see both all through.
Title: Re: Rasputin and the Empress
Post by: CorisCapnSkip on October 26, 2017, 02:22:16 PM
A friend of mine got into the VCRs,and videos,when they 1st came out, about 25  to 30 years ago.Hes said that it was a very expensive pursuit.  Around 20 years ago, I would rent the big,clunky box of a VCR player , and videos,from a local supermarket.Twas a big production.Talking about when VCRs and videos 1st came out;are we not dating ourselves!?

I am actually old enough to remember when it was possible to check out a movie projector and 16 mm film prints from certain libraries (not all had them)!  People would invite neighbors to viewings as it was too big a deal for just one family to enjoy!
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: TimM on March 02, 2019, 12:16:29 AM
When this movie was made, many of the people depicted in it were still living.  Some were not too thrilled.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on March 15, 2019, 05:02:50 PM
w it on youtube with a Russian voice over a few years ago. I don't know if it can still be found.
Title: Re: 1932 movie "Rasputin and the Empress"
Post by: TimM on March 15, 2019, 05:11:27 PM
Depends if the copyright Thought Police got in the case of the person who posted it.