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vecchiolarry

"From Russia with Love!"...

63 posts in this topic

Hello Everyone,

 

As several of you have E-Mailed me about this trip and want to know ?the scoop?, I?ll put it on here and save answering everyone individually.

I know some of you will not agree or approve of this subject on a classic movie board, but there have been many films about Russia and its people and subjects done by Hollywood, even in the 30?s and 40?s and 50?s.

?Rasputin and the Empress? (1934); ?A Royal Scandal? (1945) and ?Anastasia? (1956)?? Etc., etc., etc.

So, if you?re not interested in this thread, then don?t visit it??.

 

 

For those who are: --

 

Background questions and answers:

 

1) Why am I going to Russia?

 

I was invited by Prince Dmitry Romanov, a very good friend, to represent my grandmother at the reburial of his great, great aunt, The Dowager Empress.

 

2) Who is being reburied and why?

 

H.I.M. Empress Maria Feodorovna Romanova, The Dowager Empress of Russia.

Known as ?Minnie? to her family, she was a Danish princess, who married Czar Alexander III and was the mother of Czar Nicholas II. She escaped the Bolsheviks after the Russian revolution by fleeing south to Crimea and boarding a British battleship, which brought her to England. She returned to Denmark and died there in 1928. She is buried in the Danish Royal Crypt in Roskild Cathedral and will be transported back to Russia on September 26th and buried next to her husband in St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on the 28th.

It was her wish to be buried next to her husband, when the time became appropriate.

(I guess she knew that communism wouldn?t last)..

 

3) Why should I represent Nell at this funeral?

 

Nell was Chatelaine of the Household of The Dowager Empress from 1908 - 1914.

My grandmother went to the Smolny Institute, a Russian girls? finishing school in St. Pete?s that was overseen by The Dowager Empress. Minnie took a shine to this American girl and arranged a marriage for Nell to Prince Matvei (Matthew) Cantacuzene, the Chevalier of the Dowager Empress? Household.

Mattie was 36 and Nell was 18; Nell loved him dearly & desperately; he was very handsome, very tall and very, very virile (so said Nell!!).

So, by marriage, Nell became Chatelaine of The Dowager Empress? Household.

Nell and Minnie were very close and Nell attended Minnie?s funeral in Copenhagen in 1928.

So therefore, I?m attending this one for Nell at the kind invitation of several Romanov?s. I am Romanov V.I.P. #194???

 

4) How are Nell and ?Dodsworth? connected?

 

Nell had an affair with Sinclair Lewis in the early 20?s. He jilted her and then wrote her story, but somewhat backwards.

The movie portrays her 3rd marriage to my grandfather and has her chasing 2 aristocrats to marry. At the end, she is shown leaving for Italy and another noble liaison.

In real life, Nell had already been married to the two aristocrats and was divorcing my grandfather. She did marry an Italian duke after that.

 

5) Two of you have inquired about Nell?s royal connections:

 

Her husbands:

1) H.H. Prince Matvei (Matthew) Cantacuzene (1908 ? 1914)

he divorced her, when she failed to produce children

he was murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

 

2) H.R.H. Prince Gavril (Gabriel) Constantinovich Romanov (1914 ? 1916)

she divorced him, when he returned to Russia during the revolution

he escaped Russia and lived until 1955 and married twice more, but had no children

he?s the only one of Nell?s husband?s whom I met.

 

3) Norman, The Marquis de la Rouen de Montferrat (1916 ? 1925)

he is my grandfather. Father of Lawrence (my father) and Kathryn

he divorced her for infidelity

he died in Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1941 from wounds inflicted by the Nazi?s.

 

4) H.R.H. Prince Aimone Savoy, Duke of Spoleto and Duke of Aosta (1926 ? 1936)

he had the Pope annul their marriage for failure to have children

she denounced him as a Nazi

he married Princess Irene of Greece and had a son, Prince Amadeo

he became King of Croatia from 1941-1943 with Hitler?s blessing

he died in 1948 in exile in Buenos Aires.

 

Nell was a very good friend to several European royals and nobles, among them were the Dowager Empress? two daughters (Nicholas II?s sisters). They escaped with their mother to Denmark.

 

H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Xenia, she lived in England and died in 1960.

H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Olga, she lived in Denmark and then in Canada after WWII and also died in 1960.

I knew both of these ladies and several of Xenia?s children and grandchildren.

 

Nell always travelled to Europe between October and February for ?The Season? and celebrated her birthday (Feb. 2nd) in London and I celebrated mine (Feb. 12th) on board ship coming back to the US.

 

Anything else you wish to know, please ask and I will attempt to answer.

 

Larry

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Hello Everybody,

 

This thread will be for the Russian trip I?m taking from September 8th to 30th ? first to Moscow and then St. Petersburg.

 

Some people may not think this is apropos to a movie forum, but it is in a way, since many films have been made about Russia and the Czars and the people.

Spy movies, historical films and that wonderful old fascinating, Catherine the Great!!!

 

It will be for questions and/or comments on Russia, Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Romanov?s and a sightseeing travelogue.

I have found out that I can take my laptop, so, I?ll let you know where I am and what I?m doing and etc. - -

 

Also, some of you (in fact, a lot of you) are interested in Nell, my grandmother from Hell!! She figures in here greatly; so, if you want to know about her 2 Russian princes, we?ll do it??

 

If you?re not interested in any of this, please don?t visit this thread. Thank you.

 

Larry

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Larry, Good luck have a great time and enjoy..Sounds like a good time even under the circumstances...Now if only I could leave this time zone (*sigh)

 

vallo(Bill)

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Larry, please continue your postings from Russia. I for one look forward with eager anticipation to your recollections. And now to find you have first-hand knowledge of my two favourite subjects - classic movies and Tsarist Russia - well, it just doesn't get any better than that! Enjoy your trip and please continue with your always entertaining and informative posts!

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Do they still have Lenin's tomb in Red Square and is there any mention of Stalin since the 50's purge against him by Nikita Khrushchev who at the time evicted Stalin from his repose at Red Square also. Is he still evicted from that spot and where is Khrushchev buried and the attitude of the Russian people during his reign when he was ousted in October 1964? Thank you in advance for answering my numerous questions.

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Zdrastvuitye (Hello),

 

Well, I have landed in Moscow at 9:00 AM Russian time. Left Calgary at 5:00 PM Sept. 8th and had a 3 hour stopover in Frankfurt and arrived Sept. 9th.

It was a very good flight on Air Canada; after a roast beef dinner and a nice wine, they played ?Hollywoodland?. What a surprise ? both getting that movie on its first day release and that the movie was quite good. Surprisingly, Ben Affleck is really fine as George Reeves and they didn?t trash Eddie Mannix too much. Had a glass of champagne with the movie.

Frankfurt airport is bedlam, too many people. Security is pretty tight there but not bad at Calgary still. I checked all my luggage through except my laptop, which didn?t present any problems. I was treated very well actually. Guess I look like a harmless dumb tourist ? non threatening??

 

I?m in a nice big suite at the Metropol Hotel, just down the road from The Kremlin, 2 blocks east of Red Square.

 

Darins -

Lenin is still in his mausoleum in Red Square, but Stalin is now buried inside The Kremlin, with a bunch of other Soviet bigwigs. These people don?t interest me, so I won?t be visiting them.

However, tomorrow I will be going to visit Krushchev at the Novodevichy Cemetary next to the Convent there. He?s buried there. I will put a small bouquet on his grave, as I remember he was so good to my grandmother and me when we visited Russia in 1960.

Several other prominent people are buried in this cemetery ? Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitry Shostakovich, Fyodor Chaliapin, Sergei Eisenstein and Raisa Gorbachev.

 

I usually wander around for a couple of hours in this cemetery (I love old classic cemeteries and monuments), then I?ll go over to ?Starlight Diner? for lunch and then across the street to Gorky Park. I love Gorky Park and can spend all afternoon there.

 

On Sept. 11th, that infamous day, there?s a large tribute for the 9/11 victims planned for Red Square, so I?ll go there in the morning and then to ?Gums?, the famous department store next to Red Square. That should take care of the afternoon. Lunch on the terrace at ?Bosco?s? overlooking Red Square.

 

On Sept. 12th, I have a private guide taking me trough The Kremlin. Tell you all about that, next time

 

Dasvidaniya (Goodbye),

Larry

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Larry:

 

Just keep those posts and comments coming!!!

 

Great so far!! - Have fun.

 

Anne

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Larry, I'm glad to hear your report on HOLLYWOODLAND. My hubby and I were thinking about going to see it. Now we will definitely go. Of course, they don't serve champagne at my local multiplex! Maybe we can sneak a bottle in. lol!

 

:D

 

Sandy K

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Larry,

I'm warning you in advance, rockyroad is playing games again, deleting ALL of his posts and screwing up the boards in a big way. It took me forever to find this post, so if you see some stupid 'one word' post from me, it's only to bring it back up to the top of the list, it's not meant to irritate you. He's going all the way back to January for some of his posts, so a person sees a Sept 10, 2006 post and thinks its new, but it's only him deleting. The problem is, everytime he does it, he buries the newer posts. I won't do it much, just when this thread get pushed to page 2 or 3.

 

Anne

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Anne and Sandy,

 

Thanks for rescuing my thread. I was wondering what was happening as I'm on a laptop in Moscow and completely flummaxed by all this.

What a mess.

 

Thank you both.

Larry

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Hello All,

 

Just got home from touring St. Basil?s Cathedral, that huge grotesque pile of towers and onion domes at the south end of Red Square. Lots of large and small chapels to visit. Am soaking my feet in the tub!!

 

Yesterday, the 10th, I went to Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery. Found Krushchev?s grave and put 3 flowers on it. I was surprised to find that there were many flowers on it as I thought he was in disgrace now. Spent 2 hours touring around these old beautiful and glorious monuments.

 

Went into the convent, which is a huge complex of many buildings with a wall and towers around it. All painted red and white and in the Russian style. Quite impressive!

There is a small park and some gardens around several small buildings, where several royal ladies were ?put away? after being repudiated by their husbands. No ?womens? lib? then?? Among those sent here to ?take the veil? were Peter the Great?s first wife, Eudoxia, and his sister, Sophia. When Sophia tried to depose Peter, he locked her up here and had 400 of her supporters hanged outside her window (you can still see the window), while she was forced to watch. He threatened to blind her (burn her eyes out) if she didn?t watch. Nice guy!!!

 

 

Earlier in the day, today (11th), I went to Red Square and watched a nice memorial service for the 9/11 victims. There was an army parade and ordinary people placing flowers around a stone circular platform, Lobnoe Mesto, that served as an execution block in the 15th ? 17th centuries. Here many people used to be hanged or beheaded. Several songs were sung and an Orthodox priest said a few words and gave a blessing. Nice of the Russians to do this.

 

Then, I went across the square and into Gums department store. This is a three tired luxury department store with a lot of very expensive stores in several arcades. From outside, it looks like a huge palace and has about 1000 shops. It has a glass roof. I toured around for a while and then went for lunch at Bosco?s, on the terrace overlooking Red Square. Met some American and Australians there and had a beautiful dover sole lunch and some wine. Didn?t buy anything at Gums.

 

Walked down to St. Basils, with its nine chapels and mosaic tiled walls. Quite beautiful inside.

It was built by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century and he had the architect blinded so that he couldn?t reproduce another building so beautiful. Whether or not you think it?s beautiful is a subjective opinion. It is both grotesque and beautiful to me??

It is named after St. Basil the Fool, a Russian religious mystic. I think it is quite appropriate that a religious person is named ?a fool?? Fitting?.

 

Walked home, north past Lenin?s tomb and the Historical Museum at the north end of Red square.

 

Am getting ready to take my cousin, who lives in Moscow, to dinner in the hotel restaurant tonight.

 

Tomorrow, I go into The Kremlin for the whole day!!!

 

Talk to you later.

 

Larry

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Larry I now know more about Russia than I ever have.Very interesting historical facts and you have laid them out beautifully for all of us to read please keep the info coming and your experiences there if you can . It must have been quite humbling to be a part of 9/11 service there Take Care carol

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Larry did you see Lennons tomb or is that still around I was wondering with all the changes if the public is still allowed to go see it .Carol

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Larry, Sounds like you're doing a 3 day tour into on day. I read that Madonna is coming to Moscow. There goes the neighborhood ;)

 

vallo

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Larry:

 

Is there anything there about the stories and myths surrounding Anastasia?

 

Anne

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Hi Anne,

 

I seriously doubt whether the Russians know much about the Imperial family. It isn't taught in school and most older people were never informed about the Czars, etc.

Also, the Romanovs didn't have much to do with Moscow. It's in St. Petersburg that they would have been more prominent.

 

As far as Anastasia is concerned, she died with her family in 1918. That Anna Anderson character was a fake.

 

Larry

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Great reading so far Larry, I'm glad you're having such a good trip. Looking forward to more posts.

 

By the way, this coming Monday is when the Pola Negri documentary premieres at MOMA. Will fill you in...

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Thanks Joe,

 

Madonna is in Moscow and taking up Gorky Park. Rats.....

 

I was going to go there today but will leave it for later.

I toured lots of The Kremlin yesterday and will do the rest tomorrow. There's just too much to see in one day. So will give you the whole tour afterwards.

I took the day off today and am sitting now in Alexander Gardens with my laptop. Getting lots of "looks"..... Mostly smiles but some look suspicious; there are lots of cops around though, they don't want the tourists hassled, believe me. Don't think I'll bring my laptop out again!!!

 

Larry

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Well Good Morning, Sandy,

 

Yes, I am a very strange bird in Russia!! Good clothes and shoes and a laptop!!

They either think I'm KGB (but my clothes are too good for that!) or a spy....

Most people know I'm a just dumb tourist, but they're flummoxed when I speak Russian to them. I'm not fluent but they do understand me.

 

Several young people (students) talked to me in the Alexander Gardens yesterday; they want to try out their English on me.

However, everybody was quite impressed with my Toshiba laptop; they don't have anything like that over here.

I was safe though as 3 cops kept a look out over me. I bought them coffees and pastries from a vender going through and later some ice cream. I know how to get results!!!!!

 

Am going for breakfast now and then back to The Kremlin.......

 

Later.....

Larry

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Hello Everyone,

 

Yesterday, the 13th, I took the day off and sat in the Alexander Gardens, which are alongside the western walls of The Kremlin. A beautiful, large expanse and a great public park built by Peter the Great, where Moscow comes to sit and relax. There are many vendors and a couple of outdoor cafes and a giant obelisk in the south central part. That?s where I sat and people-watched and typed on my laptop. The place was crowded and I attracted lots of curious Russians. Most smiled and waved and some came over to see my clothes and laptop. A foreigner is quite a rarity among the populous; most stick to the tours and don?t mingle, so the Russians just love us oddballs??

There are a lot of police around here, especially central Moscow, so you are pretty safe. The people are fairly harmless; it?s just crossing the streets that?s a terror. I usually stick to Red Square ? there?s no traffic there.

 

On September 12th, I went into The Kremlin and toured part of it. I met my guide, Sasha, at the hotel and we walked (3 blocks) to the west wall entrance through the Alexander Gardens.

The Kremlin is one of the biggest edifices on Earth; it is huge.

The Kremlin is the oldest building or buildings in Moscow; it is built on Borovitsky Hill and was begun in 1170 and expanded until 1320. The walls are 65-70 feet high and there are 20 towers encased in 20-28 feet thick walls.

?Kremlin? means fortress, sometimes translated as citadel.

 

We went through the Kutafya Tower (the admission gate) in the Alexander Gardens and along a long elevated, stone bridge into the massive Troitskaya Tower on the west wall.

You need a visa (tourist) to get into Russia and also into The Kremlin. Once inside, you need special visas to get into some of the buildings, such as the 3 main palaces. Fortunately, Sasha was able to obtain these for me.

We walked passed the State House where President Putin and the government work ? didn?t go in to say ?hi!? ? this is strictly off limits!

Went into ?The Arsenal? a huge yellow and white building with black columns, that displays several rooms of weapons, cannons, tanks, and military vehicles. Also, swords and daggers, etc. Did a quick round of this as one gun & one tank all look the same to me. The outside of this building looks better than the inside. OK, been there, done that ? next??.

Then, went down to the southwest wall and a much more interesting building called ?The Armory?. Painted red and white with gold columns. Rich looking?

This is the Imperial Court Museum. It has 9 large halls, each with a dazzling display of treasures. There are 3 royal treasure categories all classified under: ?The Diamond Fund? ? state, court and personal. You need a visa to get into The Diamond Fund.

There are over 40,000 artifacts from the 12th century to the present displayed here. Crowns, scepters, thrones, carriages, jeweled harnesses, saddles, uniforms, gowns, and personal jewellery all laid out through the 9 halls.

Here also are several Faberge Easter Eggs of the Czarinas.

Nearly everything is covered in gold, silver and jewels and expensive cloths and materials. A sword of gold covered in diamonds and rubies with a huge emerald in the hilt from the Shah of Persia. Several gold thrones covered in rubies and pearls or diamonds and emeralds. And, crowns loaded in jewels. Cloaks lined in sable and mink and fox, etc.

In Hall 9 alone, there are 80 court carriages ? one a coronation coach made entirely of gold.

In Hall 5, there is nothing but china and in Hall 6, personal jewels of the czarinas; some pearls as big as eggs.

We spent 4 hours going through this building and then went for lunch.

 

Went out of The Kremlin and across the street to the National Hotel for lunch. I have stayed here before in 1960 with Nell and with friends in 1978. Great hotel.

I asked for a pillow for my back and a stool for my feet; I was exhausted.

Sasha and I had the specialty of the house, caribou medallions in black cherries a flamb?, endive salad with Russian dressing (!) and wine and a Neapolitan ice cream. I wanted to soak my feet but thought better of it. How gauche??. Ha!!

We took our coffee out into the Alexander Gardens, sent the cups back into the hotel and went back into The Kremlin.

Needless to say, I wasn?t quite so enthusiastic about seeing some of the rest of the place. Churches and the 3 big palaces.

 

Several churches and cathedrals are enclosed in The Kremlin ? all appear the same to me and I?ve seen them all before. I?m not at all religious in any way, so we did the ?New Orleans two-step? through them all:

The Archangel Church ? the burial place of the old czars before Peter the Great. Visited Ivan the Terrible, said ?hello? & ?how?s it going? and left. You?ve seen one tomb, you?ve seen them all?..

The Assumption Cathedral ? the large coronation church. Lots of gold decorations and colourful murals and mosaics and certainly the most beautiful church in The Kremlin. This is where the Czars and Czarinas were crowned in elaborate and rich ceremonies.

I sat down on a bench and looked up and took in the ceiling and domes and then told Sasha I was going home and would take in the 3 big palaces another day.

Truth to tell, he was pooped too. It?s just too much.

 

That was Tuesday, and we went back today (14th) to finish. But, room service is delivering my supper (10 o?clock at night), so will finish this later.

 

Larry

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Deleted by popular demand

 

Inglis I am sorry for the things I said I didn't mean them I have reached my breaking point and my anger at what has been happening spilled over to you. We connected the first day on board back in May and I regret what I said and hope you find it in your heart to forgive me you are a kind sweet person who didn't deserve that PM may God only have the best in store for you and your family. To all I PM'D last night the copy of the PM I sent to Board member "TMS" is true and I hope you also forgive my immature outbursts. To all the rest please don't let this stop you from helping other strangers. I am gone for good and Larry your the best on the board! And GarboManiac I got your PM and PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE TO YOU!

 

Message was edited by:

TOOMANYNOTES

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