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NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA, by Schaffner:


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how did you like it?

Mankiewicz showed no enthusiasm for it; I thought it a solid plod, but sadly lacking the dash that David Lean would surely have given it.

I just was not interested in watching it because we all know how the story ends and that does not give one much of an incentive to watch it. now a hypothetical story about outrage among bolshevik leaders about the wisdom of perpetrating such a massacre woulda been interesting.

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I read the book with that title shortly before the movie came out.  Never saw it, though.

 

But the film must've had enough merit for my ex wife's kid brother to have seen it shown by his history teacher at the time, in the classroom!  Played it in two parts.

 

Sepiatone

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Way too long and IMO, boring.  Saw it in theater when originally released.  My wife has watched it on ON Demand this past week, but took a few days to do it.

One difference between Dr. Z and N&A is the lack of action in N&A.  Even the war scenes lacked action.  It was about a romance and not Russian history or WW 1 or the Russian Revolution or the Russian Civil War, so I think that makes it drag for such a long movie.

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I read the book with that title shortly before the movie came out.  Never saw it, though.

 

But the film must've had enough merit for my ex wife's kid brother to have seen it shown by his history teacher at the time, in the classroom!  Played it in two parts.

 

Sepiatone

Maybe his history teacher was looking for a way to kill two class periods, as in Bad Teacher?

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Yes after seeing the rest it is obvious that there are no likeable characters in this movie, I guess that is why he lost power. From what I read in real life Nicholas was even more aloof than in the movie.

 

There are parts where you think if this had not happened maybe he would have survived- like the kid not being a bleeder so Rasputin never arrives, or they have a military genius that actually wins battles. it seems whenever he makes a decision it is the wrong one, lol.

 

I imagine people that don't like Dr. Zhivago equally hate this movie, this is of coarse a somewhat prelude to what happen in Dr. Zhivago with the same dreary atmosphere at the endings. I do like this movie just for the historical aspect to it, it shows why you never want a Tsar to run a country or anything else.

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Yes after seeing the rest it is obvious that there are no likeable characters in this movie, I guess that is why he lost power. From what I read in real life Nicholas was even more aloof than in the movie.

 

 

I kept yelling at him through my TV screen, shouting.......

 

"HEY! GET OUT! GET OUT! GO TO ENGLAND OR SOMEPLACE ELSE, BUT GET OUT!!"

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One aspect they did not go into either was that Nicholas was apparently one of the 10 richest men to ever walk the face of the Earth, when the family was killed the daughters had so many jewels sewn into their clothes that they deflected bullets. They briefly showed the new Soviets taking over his possessions at the end but who knew there was so much. This photo shows just a drop in the bucket apparently.

 

tumblr_n38apug85q1qiu1coo4_1280.jpg

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I saw it when it came out (I had read the book first), Unsure what version I saw (it was cut when it went into general release) I didnt watch it this time around, but saw it a few years ago on TCM and it hadnt aged well. The book was better. Very long and it tries to cover too much with not enough detail to its parts. I think the film suffered by covering much of the same ground as Dr. Zhivago a few years earlier and was not a big success (as the former). Too much like a glossy soap opera. I think the script could've been a lot better.........

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I missed the first half hour or so unavoidably. I do want to see it in its entirety again. Some things I liked, some didn't hit me well. Some were moving like when they went to Siberia and are leaving the palace. It felt quiet though you know what is hanging in the air and the tenseness carried.

 

I went to the Romanov exhibit years ago in New York. It was very moving. The items were not only some directly connected to them but to the Romanoff dynasty and family members that came before them. You see clothing, Faberge items such as the eggs, jewels, and other personal items and it is moving.

 

There was a full-length portrait of Alexandra too that is haunting.

 

The worst part for me is especially the kids. Lives cut so short. 

 

 

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I missed the first half hour or so unavoidably. I do want to see it in its entirety again. Some things I liked, some didn't hit me well. Some were moving like when they went to Siberia and are leaving the palace. It felt quiet though you know what is hanging in the air and the tenseness carried.

 

I went to the Romanov exhibit years ago in New York. It was very moving. The items were not only some directly connected to them but to the Romanoff dynasty and family members that came before them. You see clothing, Faberge items such as the eggs, jewels, and other personal items and it is moving.

 

There was a full-length portrait of Alexandra too that is haunting.

 

The worst part for me is especially the kids. Lives cut so short. 

 

 

Yes, I read several books recently about their last days (one was a book about the daughter's diaries) that was very sad and moving. Whatever their faults as rulers, they certainly paid for their "sins" in their last days and knew the end was coming. In particular, their offspring were certainly guiltless  (the details were really horrible as they did not die easily) and did not deserve to be put to death especially in so gruesome a manner..

 

 

In the early days of their captivity, there were overtures made to send them into exile, but Nicholas and Alexandra refused to leave, feeling it would be unpatriotic to leave Russia. When the Bolsheviks took over, their fate was sealed...........

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I kept yelling at him through my TV screen, shouting.......

 

"HEY! GET OUT! GET OUT! GO TO ENGLAND OR SOMEPLACE ELSE, BUT GET OUT!!"

 

Actually George V thought granting asylum to Nicholas would make him unpopular, and he decided not to risk it.  (He didn't mind having other people think it was his prime minister's fault.) It's hard to see why accepting the children would be so difficult.  On the other hand, it might be for the best, since it may have occured to Winston Churchill that it would be a great idea for the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, to marry one of his emigre cousins.  So not only would Britian still be stuck with him in 1940, but the Queen would probably be violently anti-Soviet and even support appeasement than the actual royal family.

 

Anyway, here's Pauline Kael's capsule review:

 

"As obsequiously respectful as if it had been made about living monarchs who might reward the producer with a command performance. Viewers are put in the position of celebrity-lovers eager to partake of the home life of the dullest of the Czars. Nicholas and Alexandra (Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman) appear to be two dunces sitting on a volcano, and the solemnly square movie is more interested in the dunces than in the volcano. When one is asked to watch them for over 3 hours with no object but to feel sorry for them one's sympathies dry up. The faith healer and "holy man" Rasputin was a very funky monk, but you'd never know it from this movie, which skips the triumph of that crude peasant libertine over the court. It avoids drama, and the death of Rasputin (Tom Baker) is so badly staged that it doesn't seem as if he's hard to kill because he has so much rotten life in him--it just seems as if his murderers are incompetent. Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, without the sweeping mastery of large-scale visual imagery he has shown in the past. With Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Jack Hawkins, Harry Andrews, and Alexander Knox. Adapted from Robert K. Massie's book, by James Goldman; cinematography by Freddie Young. Columbia.

For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book Deeper into Movies."

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I saw it when it came out (I had read the book first), Unsure what version I saw (it was cut when it went into general release) I didnt watch it this time around, but saw it a few years ago on TCM and it hadnt aged well. The book was better. Very long and it tries to cover too much with not enough detail to its parts. I think the film suffered by covering much of the same ground as Dr. Zhivago a few years earlier and was not a big success (as the former). Too much like a glossy soap opera. I think the script could've been a lot better.........

 

I had stayed away from this thread, because I thought it was a positive one, and am thrilled to pieces to see we're all kind of simpatico that N&A got some issues.

 

My biggest of said issues is THE OVERWHELMING BRITISHNESS OF ALL THE ACTORS. I know it was likely a British film, and with British actors, and the film was going to be released in Britain, where they speak English- but seriously, Monty Python is not as British as this thing. Are You Being Served? looks and sounds like The Battle of Algiers in comparison to the OVERWHELMING Britishness of this movie, which is ultimately set in RUSSIA, although no one in it at any time looks or sounds as if they would stand out in the slightest were they to nip in for elevensies at Downton Abbey- and this goes for the Bolsheviks, the Duma, the peasants, Hell, I think even Rasputin sounded like Quentin Crisp.

 

Had the producers dug up some guys outside of their Eton classmates to play the soldiers, say some genuine Russian ex-pats, maybe I'd buy the film.

 

As it is? Nyet.

 

 

ps- it would have been very effective to have had the Romanovs sound British and have EVERYONE ELSE use heavy Russian accents, thus we get the family's alienation- but no, this thing was fish and chips all the way down.

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Actually George V thought granting asylum to Nicholas would make him unpopular, and he decided not to risk it.  (He didn't mind having other people think it was his prime minister's fault.) It's hard to see why accepting the children would be so difficult.  On the other hand, it might be for the best, since it may have occured to Winston Churchill that it would be a great idea for the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, to marry one of his emigre cousins.  So not only would Britian still be stuck with him in 1940, but the Queen would probably be violently anti-Soviet and even support appeasement than the actual royal family.

 

Anyway, here's Pauline Kael's capsule review:

 

"As obsequiously respectful as if it had been made about living monarchs who might reward the producer with a command performance. Viewers are put in the position of celebrity-lovers eager to partake of the home life of the dullest of the Czars. Nicholas and Alexandra (Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman) appear to be two dunces sitting on a volcano, and the solemnly square movie is more interested in the dunces than in the volcano. When one is asked to watch them for over 3 hours with no object but to feel sorry for them one's sympathies dry up. The faith healer and "holy man" Rasputin was a very funky monk, but you'd never know it from this movie, which skips the triumph of that crude peasant libertine over the court. It avoids drama, and the death of Rasputin (Tom Baker) is so badly staged that it doesn't seem as if he's hard to kill because he has so much rotten life in him--it just seems as if his murderers are incompetent. Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, without the sweeping mastery of large-scale visual imagery he has shown in the past. With Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Jack Hawkins, Harry Andrews, and Alexander Knox. Adapted from Robert K. Massie's book, by James Goldman; cinematography by Freddie Young. Columbia.

For a more extended discussion, see Pauline Kael's book Deeper into Movies."

 

 

That's true. In the end, George V decided against it, feeling it might make him unpopular (despite being related to both Nicholas and Alexandra). He later regretted his decision. There were other avenues, but in the end Nicholas and Alexandra did not want to leave Russia. They would've been happy living on their private estate on the Black Sea, but events proved otherwise..........

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I had stayed away from this thread, because I thought it was a positive one, and am thrilled to pieces to see we're all kind of simpatico that N&A got some issues.

 

My biggest of said issues is THE OVERWHELMING BRITISHNESS OF ALL THE ACTORS. I know it was likely a British film, and with British actors, and the film was going to be released in Britain, where they speak English- but seriously, Monty Python is not as British as this thing. Are You Being Served? looks and sounds like The Battle of Algiers in comparison to the OVERWHELMING Britishness of this movie, which is ultimately set in RUSSIA, although no one in it at any time looks or sounds as if they would stand out at all were they to nip in for elevensies at Downton Abbey- and this goes for the Bolsheviks, the Duma, the peasants, Hell, I think even Rasputin sounded like Quentin Crisp.

 

Coulod we have possibly dug up someone outside of our Eton classmates to play the soldiers, say some genuine Russian ex-pats, maybe I'd buy the film.

 

ps- it would have been very effective to have had the Romanovs sound british and EVERYONE ELSE with a havy Russian accents, thus we get their alienation- but no, this thing was fish and chips all the way

 

 

 

LOL. That's true. Dr. Zhivago had the same problem (a largely British cast) though N&A seems overwhelmingly so........

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LOL. That's true. Dr. Zhivago had the same problem (a largely British cast) though N&A seems overwhelmingly so........

 

I wasn't done editing just yet, feel free to re-read the post.

 

Yeah, Dr. Zhivago has the same issue, and I think is likely to blame for the reason they felt they could get away with the accent thing in NandA, in both cases  it gets pretty damn comical at times.

 

"Oh I do say, I cahn't remember the last time it was so chilly in Moscow! I shall have to bring a light wrap with me."

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I also toss in that it's a real shame that NandA got the prime Oscar nominations that it did (Best Pic and Actress among them) because 1971 was a good year for movies and a very good year for lead female performances (that second one a real rarity in the seventies), although in both categories some unconventional films and performances rated recognition a lot more so than the shameless Oscar Bait that was NandA:

 

Klute, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Walkabout, Macbeth, Harold and Maude for picture, Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude, Jessica Walter in Play Misty for Me, and Kitty Winn in Panic in Needle Park for actress.

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Actually George V thought granting asylum to Nicholas would make him unpopular, and he decided not to risk it.  (He didn't mind having other people think it was his prime minister's fault.) It's hard to see why accepting the children would be so difficult.  On the other hand, it might be for the best, since it may have occured to Winston Churchill that it would be a great idea for the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, to marry one of his emigre cousins.  So not only would Britian still be stuck with him in 1940, but the Queen would probably be violently anti-Soviet and even support appeasement than the actual royal family.

 

 

Interesting how he saved Nicholas's mother, he even sent a warship to get her. His mother also hated Rasputin, lol.

 

"In 1916, the Dowager Empress left Petrograd to live in the Mariyinsky Palace in Kiev, reportedly in protest over the influence of Grigori Rapsutin at court. She never again returned to Russia's capital.

 

 Only in 1919, at the urging of her sister, Dowager Queen Alexandra, did she begrudgingly depart, fleeing via the Crimea over the Black Sea to London. King George V sent the warship HMS Marlborough to retrieve his aunt. After a brief stay in the British base in Malta, she travelled to England, to stay with her sister, Alexandra. Although Queen Alexandra never treated her sister badly and they spent time together at Marlborough House in London and at Sandringham House in Norfolk, Maria, as a deposed dowager empress, felt that she was now "number two," in contrast to her sister, a popular dowager queen, and she eventually returned to her native Denmark."

 

Now near the end of the movie when he abducts he also leaves his son out of it. What they left out is he appointed his brother to be the next Tsar, and his brother was the first to be murdered because of it. Nicholas was much worse than depicted in this movie according to what I read, he had political opponents killed just like what happened to him.

 

Maybe there is too much in this to put in one movie, but it sounds like they gave Nicholas a very good editing, lol. Poor little innocent Tsar can't keep citizens happy and was badly harmed by Rasputin. It is all Rasputin's fault. When he finally gets things turning around and returns it is too late. (tears)

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Interesting how he saved Nicholas's mother, he even sent a warship to get her. His mother also hated Rasputin, lol.

 

"In 1916, the Dowager Empress left Petrograd to live in the Mariyinsky Palace in Kiev, reportedly in protest over the influence of Grigori Rapsutin at court. She never again returned to Russia's capital.

 

 Only in 1919, at the urging of her sister, Dowager Queen Alexandra, did she begrudgingly depart, fleeing via the Crimea over the Black Sea to London. King George V sent the warship HMS Marlborough to retrieve his aunt. After a brief stay in the British base in Malta, she travelled to England, to stay with her sister, Alexandra. Although Queen Alexandra never treated her sister badly and they spent time together at Marlborough House in London and at Sandringham House in Norfolk, Maria, as a deposed dowager empress, felt that she was now "number two," in contrast to her sister, a popular dowager queen, and she eventually returned to her native Denmark."

 

Now near the end of the movie when he abducts he also leaves his son out of it. What they left out is he appointed his brother to be the next Tsar, and his brother was the first to be murdered because of it. Nicholas was much worse than depicted in this movie according to what I read, he had political opponents killed just like what happened to him.

 

Maybe there is too much in this to put in one movie, but it sounds like they gave Nicholas a very good editing, lol.

 

 

He offered to abdicate in favor of his brother, but his brother declined, feeling he'd be a marked man (he was anyway)......

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I also toss in that it's a real shame that NandA got the prime Oscar nominations that it did (Best Pic and Actress among them) because 1971 was a good year for movies and a very good year for lead female performances (that second one a real rarity in the seventies), although in both categories some unconventional films and performances rated recognition a lot more so than the shameless Oscar Bait that was NandA:

 

Klute, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Walkabout, Macbeth, Harold and Maude for picture, Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude, Jessica Walter in Play Misty for Me, and Kitty Winn in Panic in Needle Park for actress.

 

Yes those five movies would all be better nominees than Nicholas and Alexandra, though my choice for that year would be The Sorrow and the Pity with Death in Venice as runner-up.

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He offered to abdicate in favor of his brother, but his brother declined, feeling he'd be a marked man (he was anyway)......

 

First he abdicated in favor of his son, and later changed his mind and abdicated in favor of his brother, who was not present. Is this confusing enough?

 

The scary part in all of this is the number of people killed during his reign is a drop in the bucket compared to what happens later.

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