Rasputin And The Empress (1934)

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Rasputin And The Empress (1934)

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 4:59 pm

Has anybody ever seen Rasputin and the Empress (1934)? Apparently it was tied up in the courts when the alleged Monk murderer and his wife, sued for libel. Did TCM ever show it?



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Rasputin And The Empress (1934)

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 5:17 pm

1. Scheduled for October 25 on TCM
2. I've seen it. Would've been better if the Brothers had switched parts and another studio had made it.
3. The book's worth twice more than the DVD.
4. The sibs "appeared" together again -in their Rasputin
costumes - in Mickey's Gala Premier.


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Re: Rasputin And The Empress (1934)

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 6:17 pm

I saw it several times on VHS and need to upgrade. John is pretty much wasted (read that however you like), but Lionel devours the scenery as Rasputin, and Ethel (I think this is what Pauline Kael once wrote about Garbo) is there to be gazed upon. Not a great movie by any means, but theatrical legends carry their own fascination.

Speaking of which: I hope we'll someday see a DVD or BD release of the Lunts in The Guardsman. Now there's a momento to be savored.
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Re: Rasputin And The Empress (1934)

PostThu Aug 03, 2017 3:22 pm

This film premiered in December 1932 and ran into trouble in British courts. John's character was fictitious but was clearly inspired by the real life assassin of Rasputin, Prince Youssepov. Diana Wynard played John's fiance so audiences assumed that her character was the counterpart to Youssepov's real life wife. So far, so good. But then script troubles developed. According to one account, John's motivation for killing Rasputin was patriotic but someone decided that wasn't very exciting. Charles MacArthur had to rewrite the script to provide a more compelling reason so he decided to have Rasputin rape the fiance.

That was a pretty good incentive to murder the monk but it also suggested to the public that the real Prince Youssepov's wife was raped by Rasputin. You can see this defamation lawsuit coming from a mile away. MGM was found liable and had to pay a nice chunk of change to the Youssepovs. The film was also cut to eliminate the rape scene and a later reference to it. Most important, every movie biography made since then carries the disclaimer that RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS did not have: "All characters in this photoplay are fictitious and any similarities to persons living or dead is purely coincidental."

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