Author Topic: Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)  (Read 256398 times)

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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #495 on: March 18, 2012, 02:32:48 PM »
As three of you responders confirm, the DVD version is as we agreee, that is, opening with Alexandra 's face , at or just after giving birth to Alexei, and with Nicholas there and the morph into the red lamp.
I didn't see the film at its release or on tv til later and missed the opening scene then. My first full viewing was on a video cassette about seven years ago and I don't know the date of the release of that video version. But it opened with a startling shot of Alexandra's face, mouth open in a scream of agony, where you could almost see her tonsils. Almost 'graphic'  and for me unforgettable.
Might anyone remember this scene from the 1971 theater release? Any chance of this being a scene included in the video cassette version and quickly withdrawn upon reconsideration or negative feedback?
Upon reflection, I withdraw my earlier doubt. I know I saw that startling scene. It opened the movie, and til I conected it to Alexei's birth, I had no idea what was happening. I was specifically looking for it when watching the DVD a few days ago and it just wasn't there.
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Offline Jen_94

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #496 on: March 18, 2012, 04:40:04 PM »
Really? Well that does seem like an almost 'graphic' sort of scene. Perhaps it was withdrawn?

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #497 on: March 18, 2012, 05:38:15 PM »
I think Greg King knows more about this than I do, but it is my understanding the cellar murder scene was heavily edited as it was simply too graphic. How could it not be. The original take was very  vivid and even upset the young actresses portraying the GDs. If I recall correctly, Janet Suzman  took them aside before hand and tried to prepare them for it.
 As for the opening scene, I do not recall it at the moment. I saw the film when it first opened in Beverly Hills or West LA in 1971, but do not recall Alexandra in distress.  I have the film on DVD, UK version, which are usually  more complete than US releases and will  have a look at it when I have the chance. Have not watched it for some time now.
 There is a very hard to find DVD of outtakes from the film. I have seen it but do not own it. That might have the opening scene in it.
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Offline blessOTMA

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #498 on: March 19, 2012, 10:05:57 AM »
Robert , I remember reading the UK actress of the Russian  1990 film playing Alix did that with those GD actresses....took them to dinner the night before to discuss it. Interesting that Janet Suzman had helped N and A's GD actresses  as well.  I also remember another  Janet Suzman story about this from the time. They rehearsed her crossing herself in the orthodox way as Alix did in her last moments ...but when  it was filmed, Ms Suzman was  so much in the moment , she went back to her learned from youth western way . One goes with what is  hard wired in such a moment , even if one is  acting .

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Offline edubs31

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #499 on: March 19, 2012, 11:56:08 AM »
Quote
I think Greg King knows more about this than I do, but it is my understanding the cellar murder scene was heavily edited as it was simply too graphic. How could it not be. The original take was very  vivid and even upset the young actresses portraying the GDs. If I recall correctly, Janet Suzman  took them aside before hand and tried to prepare them for it.

Yeah I agree, and was pondering the graphic nature of the murder scene in the other topic thread.

They rehearsed her crossing herself in the orthodox way as Alix did in her last moments ...but when  it was filmed, Ms Suzman was  so much in the moment , she went back to her learned from youth western way . One goes with what is  hard wired in such a moment , even if one is  acting .

That's so impressive & thanks for mentioning it. Like reverting back to your native tongue in moments of stress or anger.

Does anyone know what order particular scenes in the movie were filmed? Clearly it sounds like the murder scene was done well after much of the rest had been filmed. Not being a director but being able to relate to the human element I scratch my head and wonder, if given the option to film any scene at any time, what I would want to capture first, last, or roughly in the middle...?

Obviously actors take part in drama films and horror scenes all the time. I doubt many are filled with much apprehension on the set or lingering feelings of discomfort long after production comes to a close. But I'd imagine it's different playing fictional characters than real life individuals who they, like so many of us, have taken the time to emotionally bond with.

I'd like to think the actors in preparation for their parts read Massie's book first. But I'm guessing that probably wasn't the case for all...so is it harder to do such a scene, graphic or not, when you've come to know and care about the subject at hand...or is it worse when you're not sure what to expect? Then as a director how does it change your approach to piecing together the film? Did Franklin Schaffner, etc, decide it best to get the hard part out of the way first, or better to save it for last, or place it toward the middle of filming as I probably would...?

Tough call!
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #500 on: March 19, 2012, 02:13:58 PM »
I know they were not filmed in sequence. Very few movies are. It is the editor's job to put them in order. On You Tube there is a trailer of sorts  where one of the actresses who portrayed a GD said their first scenes was  actually in the middle of the film. As an example, I recall one film   a friend of mine worked on.a violent death scene was filmed first.  That took a lot of preparation, which costs a lot of money. When they got that over with, they went on to the other scenes.
 This all depends on  location or studio filming, availability , and, of course, money. As costs rise, some scenes even get eliminated from the script.
 AS for reading the book, I imagine the leads may have.  There was not much for the GDs to go on though. They were not exactly major players in the film.
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #501 on: March 19, 2012, 03:01:57 PM »
Quote
On You Tube there is a trailer of sorts  where one of the actresses who portrayed a GD said their first scenes was  actually in the middle of the film.

Interesting, I'll have to check that out. You are talking about "Nicholas & Alexandra" and not another Romanov movie correct?

Quote
As an example, I recall one film   a friend of mine worked on.a violent death scene was filmed first.  That took a lot of preparation, which costs a lot of money. When they got that over with, they went on to the other scenes.

That makes sense. I guess actor fatigue ought to be taken into consideration as well. Best to get the tough scenes out of the way immediately I guess.

Quote
This all depends on  location or studio filming, availability , and, of course, money. As costs rise, some scenes even get eliminated from the script.

Which makes sense why they would have filmed that death scene first. The big budget stuff that's critical to the plot should probably be budgeted around and then completed first so, as you were saying Robert, they can decided which less critical scenes make the cut.

Quote
AS for reading the book, I imagine the leads may have.  There was not much for the GDs to go on though. They were not exactly major players in the film.

Right, I don't think the OTMA actresses needed to get as deep into character considering the nature of their roles.
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Offline Jen_94

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #502 on: March 19, 2012, 04:06:10 PM »
I know they were not filmed in sequence. Very few movies are. It is the editor's job to put them in order. On You Tube there is a trailer of sorts  where one of the actresses who portrayed a GD said their first scenes was  actually in the middle of the film.

Wasn't that the video with Lynne Frederick? Or another one?

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #503 on: March 19, 2012, 04:19:13 PM »
Yes, edubs,  the film N&A. I spent some time in Hollywood as a hairdresser [wigs] for studios and have a mountain of trivia about those processes.  N&A was a British film so I never worked on that.  It was filmed all over Europe,  Spain and Austria as well as Pinewood I think for interiors.  But I know how the process of film making  usually goes. I do not know when the  death scene was filmed, in what sequence. Like I said, Greg King might.
 And yes Jen, it was, I had forgotten her name.
 BTW, I was too young to have worked on it even if it were filmed in  Hollywood. But movie people love to talk about their work.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 04:23:08 PM by Robert_Hall »
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Offline TimM

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #504 on: March 20, 2012, 12:02:22 PM »
It was a good film for the time it was made in, 1971, when there was limited information about the IF.
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #505 on: March 20, 2012, 12:27:48 PM »
Yes Tim. I think it still stands up.  It is a well made film, high budget for it's time. Considering the restraints of filming a book of 500 pages into a 2+ hour movie, it did well in telling the story, IMO. From the context of the film, not the book,  it contains nothing  that would make a difference with today's new information. It is, in essence  just a film, not a documentary, and as such  a superficial account.
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Offline LauraO

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #506 on: March 20, 2012, 02:04:48 PM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNHsEO_UrDY

Just found this sorry if its already been posted!

Both my VHS and DVD versions have the opening with the lamp...i'd be interested to see how the "graphic" opening came to be and what happened to it???
« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 02:26:27 PM by TunaEars »

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #507 on: March 21, 2012, 06:48:20 PM »
I thought I remembered the "graphic" opening, too. I haven't looked at my VHS in a long time. It was the first movie I bought on VHS and it cost me about $75 at the time. Long before buying movies became popular.

I have the DVD, too, but I know it opens with the red screen sharpening into the lamp. It ends with the red screen as well as the murder room scene ends and we move up into the credits.

I remember thinking, when I saw it in the movies, that it was basically the life of Alexei from his birth to his murder.

Offline LauraO

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #508 on: March 22, 2012, 02:07:15 AM »
I thought I remembered the "graphic" opening, too. I haven't looked at my VHS in a long time. It was the first movie I bought on VHS and it cost me about $75 at the time. Long before buying movies became popular.

I have the DVD, too, but I know it opens with the red screen sharpening into the lamp. It ends with the red screen as well as the murder room scene ends and we move up into the credits.

I remember thinking, when I saw it in the movies, that it was basically the life of Alexei from his birth to his murder.

I've never really thought of the Alexei thing before, but maybe that was the directors way of saying Alexei shaped  what Nicholas and Alexandra did??? or just his general importance in the situation? Of course for instance his illness causing Alix's dependacy on Rasputin ... don't know interesting point though.

Offline edubs31

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Re: Nicholas & Alexandra VHS & DVD
« Reply #509 on: March 22, 2012, 08:57:59 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNHsEO_UrDY

Just found this sorry if its already been posted!

Both my VHS and DVD versions have the opening with the lamp...i'd be interested to see how the "graphic" opening came to be and what happened to it???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKNHu-Ymkcg

This version does NOT include the more "graphic" opening scene either. Starting at the 2:05.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...