Author Topic: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....  (Read 53686 times)

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Offline ptitchka

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If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« on: July 14, 2004, 10:33:03 PM »
What would you change and how?

Here's my answer-- and I would love to hear from lots of people here.  A script rewrite would be first priority, especially concerning the scenes people objected to most.

For example:  Alexei's sledding down the stairs really did happen, as we all know.  What is wrong with portraying him as a bored boy?  And what would be wrong with the boy in pain saying just what he said to his mother during the worst:  'Mama, I would like to die.  I am not afraid of death, but I am so afraid of what might happen to us here!' and leaving it at that?   And for the crying out loud, that 'I could have been a Romanov' speech is totally out of character.  Totally.

Omit the 'indecent exposure' scene as totally unnecessary, make the Tsar and the Empress act more Orthodox, give their children better lines - period.

Any more ideas?  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Pravoslavnaya »

Offline Olga

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2004, 04:49:40 AM »
Actually including OTMA Nikolaevna would help. But I thought Tom Baker did a good job as Rasputin.

Offline Annie

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2004, 08:56:25 AM »
This is something I have dreamed of doing since I was 12 years old! First, it would have to be longer. A LOT longer, like a miniseries. Even only another half hour or so would help.

I would start the story not in 1904 but in 1884 when they first met. I would include details of both their family lives and characters, like Ella, Ernie, both Sergeis, Sandro, Mathilde K, Xenia, and others who were not mentioned in the movie. I think Ella is especialy important to the storyline,and Anna Vrybova! I would love to have stories of the lives of Rasputin and the Yussoupovs all along, telling background on them and keeping up with their 'adventures' all along. Rasputin's life is very interesting, and there is a lot from Lost Splendor that tells the story of Imperial Russia that I would want to include too. I would have more on OTMA, age them correctly, and develop their characters as people! I would want to show the closeness and lovingness of the family, and not have the scenes where N and A said cruel things to each other, because I don't believe that happened. The one thing the movie did right was to have just the right amount of scenes on the revolutionaries. I probably would not change that much. I would make sure things followed chronological order, like Stolypin being shot before the tercentenary! I would end the story with Joy being taken to England, and the guy taking the dog says, 'how would you like to come to England with me, and be a country squire?' A bittersweet irony, since that is what Nicholas wanted to do.

That would be a great ending but I also would like to add some kind of epilogue as to what became of everyone. The HMS Marborough pulling out of the Crimea in 1919 with the Dowager Empress, the Yussoupovs, Nikolasha and more is also a very moving story. The time they all spent in the Crimea, not knowing if they would live or die, as described in the last chapters of Lost Splendor is a suspensful and entertaining true story as well. I'd like to include that if possible.

Offline jackie3

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2004, 09:12:12 AM »
Quote
Actually including OTMA Nikolaevna would help.


I agree with this. It seemed like the filmmakers hired 4 actresses (who all looked alike unlike the real OTMA) just because they had to have them die in Ekaterinburg from a historical basis. In the film they were just wallpaper/mannequins without personalities.

I would also show the Communists/Bolsheviks for what the were - Yurovsky was NOT a kindly old gent who was "compassionate" as the film made him out to be (which was horrible since even then in the 1970s they know what Yurovsky was like even from the Massie book the movie was supposedly based on and missplayed him purposely none the less) and in MY version of N&A the leaders of the Ural Soviet would be shown as the hard-bitten cold-blooded thugs they were instead of the bumbling Ernice Kovac-ish bureaucrat they showed in the movie. People have no problem portraying Nazis as evil as they were but to this day Soviet Communism has never been seen on film as bloody as it really was. The murder of the IF was just the beginning to the coming Red Terror that lasted almost a century. I would also simply tell N&A's story straighfowardly and let the viewer make their own mind on them without the screenwriter's/director's telling what to think - in N&A they stopped the film cold not once, not twice, but THREE times to have people (one of whom was the Commisar sending them to Ekaterinburg and death!) tell Nicholas what a bad czar he was. That was unncessary. People can see that for themselves (or just pick up a history book).  I got the idea that the people who made N&A didn't really like Nicholas all that much (and didn't bother to hide that fact) despite the fact the book that the movie was supposedly (and I use that word loosely) based on was VERY sympathetic to Nicholas and Alexandra.

I don't think a film could do it actually.
To really explore N&A's lives from the time they met when she was 12 and he was 16 to their end together in the "House of Special Purpose" it would take an old style 6-8 hour TV mini-series. I would not make it some attempt at a quasi-epic that N&A tried to be, but a character study on one family - one that would have been better suited for a bourgeouise middle-class life but instead ruled 1/6 of the globe and were in over the heads. More than anything else it is the character of that family that has made their story inspiring not the trapping of royalty and luxurious lifestyle they lived in. As it is I think the old BBC series "Fall of Eagles" (where the Romanovs were only 1/3 of the story) and the Alan Rickman/Greta Scacchi/Ian McKellen film "Rasputin" were much better interpretations of the IF than N&A.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by jackie3 »

Offline Annie

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2004, 09:21:05 AM »
Quote


I would also show the Communists/Bolsheviks for what the were - Yurovsky was NOT a kindly old gent who was "compassionate" as the film made him out to be (which was horrible since even then in the 1970s they know what Yurovsky was like even from the Massie book the movie was supposedly based on and missplayed him purposely none the less) and in MY version of N&A the leaders of the Ural Soviet would be shown as the hard-bitten cold-blooded thugs they were instead of the bumbling Ernice Kovac-ish bureaucrat they showed in the movie. People have no problem portraying Nazis as evil as they were but to this day Soviet Communism has never been seen on film as bloody as it really was.


Yes that bothers me too. Communists are never shown in films as evil as they were, why? Even in that cartoon Anastasia, they failed to mention them at all and put the blame for everthing on 'evil' Rasputin! I know it was just a cartoon, but it bothers me some kids might actually never know the truth because of that distorted view.

Quote
As it is I think the old BBC series "Fall of Eagles" (where the Romanovs were only 1/3 of the story)


While I enjoyed the Hapsburg and Hohenzollern parts of Fall of Eagles, I did not like the way the Romanovs were portrayed. They made Alexandra seem very dim and uncaring, and depictions of them were generally inaccurate and made them seem very unlikeable. I was very disappointed in it.




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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2004, 10:28:47 AM »
Annie....

Well not all communists are evil and not all Tsarists are good...I would want to try to get all the history strait...lets include some pogroms and bands of  roving reactionary Black Hundreds while we're at it.

Anyway I have no idea about actors... but ideally it would be quite long  (several hours of actual history please  ;D) and a bit less rosey than the 1971 version.

None of the daughters seemed at all developed as characters... I would like to work on that! Maybe contrast their lives with young  poor workers ...
Aha! The Anna Anderson connection!Paralel the  two sets ...wealthy but trapped Drandduchesses and munitions workers who secretly dream of balls and gowns!

Who's got a pen! ;)

R.


Offline Annie

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2004, 10:51:26 AM »
Well the ones who killed the family were evil :-[

We all have some good ideas here but how long and expensive could this be? Maybe we need 2 movies, one on Nicholas and Alexandra and those closest in their lives, and another one based on history itself?

Offline jackie3

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2004, 11:01:16 AM »
Quote

Well not all communists are evil and not all Tsarists are good...I would want to try to get all the history strait...lets include some pogroms and bands of  roving reactionary Black Hundreds while we're at it.


rskkiya, while I certainly don't want to start a political argument here I think a case can certainly be made that many filmmakers for some reason (be it ideological or commercial) have not through the years portrayed communism at its bloody worst and at its worst there was nothing that killed more (read "The Black Book of Communism" for statistics country by country) .

Take the movie at hand for instance (N&A) - they had no problem showing a tsarist system in dissarray with Cossacks wipping people and the events of Bloody Sunday with the march on the Winter Palace but when it came time to show the Ural Soviets (who were more radical than even the Moscow leadership) they showed them as compassionate and old (Yurovsky) or bumbling and comedic (the commisar/apparatchik) - the final bloody slaughter of the IF, one of the most horrifying things I've ever read let alone contemplated thinking about visually was never even shown - the screen went red and then just faded out. If I was re-making N&A, I would not gloss over the failures of Nicholas and the Tsarist regime but I would also try to show the gang of murderers who cold-bloodly and methodically planned and executed the death the IF (and Michael and Ella and Prince Paley and KR's sons and GD Andrei and most of the IF's retainers like Nagorny and Countess Hendrikova and Mlle.Schneider and everything/everyone Romanov they could get their hands on) as the killers they were. The deaths of the IF, what was done to their bodies and the manner in which the Soviet Govt. tried to cover it up for 70 years are important parts of their story that I certainly would want told in any film as well.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by jackie3 »

Offline Annie

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2004, 11:13:25 AM »
I agree Jackie. All very sad but true :'(

rskkiya

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2004, 12:16:50 PM »
Annie & Jackie

Well I will admit that the movie I might want would certainly not be a very commercial one...I love very long dry documentaries...
Jackie, you were correct about the Cossacks...I just get very uncomfortable with anyone who says All "Blank" are bad... I have a lot of Communist and Socialist friends ...actually they are very charming people...
I will agree to end the politics here! :)

Alan Rickman or Gary Oldman - Rasputin

young Alexandra...  maybe Charlise Theron?
Older  Alex - Glenn Close

Natalie Portman/ Jennifer Elhe/Claire Daines...Tatiana /Olga/Maria/

Nicholas ... Ralph Feinnes



If you don't want Oldman as Rasputin than let him be a revolutionary!!!

I've gone blank...


.R.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rskkiya »

Offline Annie

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2004, 12:43:08 PM »
It has always bothered me when people say, ---- are not all bad, but because of that, it seems the ones who ARE bad always get excused and that is not right :(  Some were very very bad, and they deserve to be called what they were. Think of all the innocents who died in terrible ways.

How about Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as N and A? ;)

Daniel Radcliffe would make an excellent Felix when he's older, or he could play young Felix now!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2004, 12:47:41 PM »
Quote

I would also show the Communists/Bolsheviks for what the were - Yurovsky was NOT a kindly old gent who was "compassionate" as the film made him out to be (which was horrible since even then in the 1970s they know what Yurovsky was like even from the Massie book the movie was supposedly based on and missplayed him purposely none the less) and in MY version of N&A the leaders of the Ural Soviet would be shown as the hard-bitten cold-blooded thugs they were instead of the bumbling Ernice Kovac-ish bureaucrat they showed in the movie. People have no problem portraying Nazis as evil as they were but to this day Soviet Communism has never been seen on film as bloody as it really was. The murder of the IF was just the beginning to the coming Red Terror that lasted almost a century.


There's actually a reasonable amount of recent writing which traces the Red Terror to the activities of Nicholas and his supporters in the aftermath of 1905. See for example Challenging Traditional Views
of Russian History, edited by Stephen Wheatcroft  (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave,
2002), in particular Wheatcroft's own essays on the post-1905 penal system and the mass killings of Nicholas's, Lenin's and Stalin's eras.

On Yurovsky specifically, not only is there no evidence that he was particularly hard-bitten or bloodthirsty, but the book "Nicholas and Alexandra" doesn't portray him that way either: Massie's Yurovsky is more cold and efficient than a bloodthirsty thug, and thus was able to "enquire after Alexei's health" with every appearance of compassion, so I don't think the film was too far astray in that respect at least, though I did wonder at his venerable age too!

Janet

Offline anna

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2004, 12:48:37 PM »
Take a look on  the thread "Any Romanov Video/DVD available" beginning march 25/26th. There you will find a
fantasy casting with all possible actor/actress for N&A
as we had nearly the same disussion.

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Offline Annie

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2004, 12:57:16 PM »
In the movie when the character inquired about Alexei's health, he was not being nice.

Y: "no sun today?"
A: "no:
Y: "ah I suppose you aren't well enough"
"what's it like, being ill?"
A: "what's it like, having gray eyes?"
Y: "it couldn't be nice, being an invalid at YOUR age!"

that part always bothered me, like he was picking on Alexei. I don't know if it's true, but the Nagorny scene that followed was based on a true story.

When I saw a pic of the real Yurovsky I was surprised, he was 40 years old, had dark hair and a moustache and was a big sturdy guy, not like the small, frail, elderly man in the movie.

But no matter what, I don't think there's any way the Bosheviks who killed the family and their servants were not evil, those particular ones had to be. But someone among them had a little bit of conscience, he gave the teenage kitchen boy money to go home the morning before the shootings. That also proves, someone in the house knew it was happening before the last minute.

Back to the movie, I want to make it! If I hit powerball lotto I will finance it myself ;)

Offline DOMOVOII

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Re: If you could remake 'Nicholas and Alexandra'....
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2004, 02:59:40 PM »
Meryl Streep could play my Alix, Hugh Grant could make a passable Nicholas, with coaching. The first pair, didn't seem to "gel" with one another, the bickering blame scene, is totally out of character, and makes them appear divided.

OTMA Liv Tyler, Keira Knightley, Claire Danes, Natalie Portman. Alexei I can't cast--. Joan Collins could play MF, Rasputin, Liam Neeson,

For me the film could play-out better through the reminiscences of MF, this would enable the film to establish it's own sense of period without having to make outright statements " I love it here", "Yes I love it too in Livadia...in the Crimea" which are overdone. This also opens up the opportunity for a epilogue, wherein the exiles from Russia can be shown, surviving and diversifying in a new world, as Russia did, as we all do.
If the funds are available, I can think of a couple of Palaces, integral to the plot, that could do with some pre-recording restoration work, a couple of million should be enough to get the ball rolling!!!


Merchant Ivory would do a smashing job of production. If anyone can put "Edwardians" on film it is them
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