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Stephan55

A Rare TCM Treat: RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS (1932)

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A Rare TCM Treat: RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS (1932)

 

Last shown on TCM over five years ago (January 2010), this precode gem is the only known film in which ALL Three of the Famed Barrymore siblings (John Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, and Lionel Barrymore) appear together.
Also Ethel's first "talkie."

 

John portrays Prince Chegodieff,
Ethel portrays Czarina Alexandra,
and Lionel portrays the notorious Grigori Rasputin.

 

The film is also known for setting the precedent:

"All persons portrayed in this film are fictitious, any resemblance to actual persons either living or dead is coincidental..."

that has since become the standard credit disclaimer in works of film fiction. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_persons_fictitious_disclaimer

 

This was the result of a 1933 lawsuit against MGM by surviving members of the extended Romanov family over their "inaccurate" portrayal in the film, forcing MGM to make a large financial settlement AND edit out the "offending" scene from subsequent releases of the film.

 

"As a preventive measure against further lawsuits, the film was taken out of distribution for decades."

 

This deletion results in some discontinuity in the behavior of Princess Natasha (portrayed by Diana Wynyard, in her film debut) from the first half of the film towards Rasputin vs her unexplained difference in attitude to him in the second half.

 

"The model for Princess Natasha was Princess Irina Yusupov, the wife of Felix Yusupov, one of Grigori Rasputin's actual murderers.
Attorney Fanny Holtzmann filed a lawsuit by Yusupov against MGM in 1933, claiming
invasion of privacy and libel.
The original film portrays her as a victim of Rasputin, and it is implied that he
raped her, which (she claimed) never happened." 

 

"The offending scene was cut, which rendered Wynyard's character somewhat incomprehensible unless the viewer of the film is aware of this cut: in the first half of the film, Princess Natasha is a supporter of Rasputin, and in the second half she is extremely afraid of him for no apparent reason."

 

Lawsuit and historical inaccuracy aside (this was 1932 Hollywood, afterall), be prepared to be entertained.

The Barrymores seem to be genuinely enjoying each others company in this film (especially John & Lionel) and there are some revealing moments that appear quite candid.

 

Produced by Irving Thalberg, and directed by Richard Boleslawski

 

A must see for film history buffs and ALL fans of the original Barrymore clan.

Be sure to set your recorders.

 

Scheduled for early Wednesday on April 15, 2015.

(6:30 am Eastern time, 0530 am Central time, 0430 am Mountain time, 0330 am Pacific time),

 

 

15 Wednesday 6:00 AM MGM Parade Show #4 (1955)  

George Murphy tours Lake Metro, where "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "Show Boat" were shot, and introduces a clip from "Good News." These clips feature June Allyson and Peter Lawford.

 

BW-26 mins,

6:30 AM Rasputin And The Empress (1932)  

True story of the mad monk who plotted to rule Russia.

Dir: Richard BoleslavskyCast: John Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore.

BW-121 mins, CC,

 

 

http://www.tcm.com/schedule/monthly.html?tz=est&sdate=2015-04-01

 

I'm hoping TCM doesn't cancell this one!

 

short clip from the film

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A Rare TCM Treat: RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS (1932)

 

 

Well there's only one response to this bit of good news!

 

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This movie is absolute garbage.  It has nothing to do with Russia and is one of those movies made to fill out a schedule of 52 movies a year.  Hollywood is incapable of portraying Russia in anything resembling real terms.  Every attempt and there has been many are awful such as Mockery , The Eagle. The Cossack, the Last Command, etc.  turgid garbage for fools.  Didn't you know?  Only Hollywood is great.  An average joe has unlimited money, no job, giant living room.  drinks massive amounts of liquor but never gets drunk. And hollywood women are always guaranteed to fall for the advances of any man hollywood designates for them.  no matter how drunk or obnoxious.

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Big_Bopper said:

 

This movie is absolute garbage. It has nothing to do with Russia and is one of those movies made to fill out a schedule of 52 movies a year. Hollywood is incapable of portraying Russia in anything resembling real terms. .... 

 

So don't watch it then    :wacko:

 

Nobody said this was a historical film, per se. Quite the contrary, there was a lawsuit based on inaccuracy. The film was pulled from circulation for decades to prevent further lawsuits.

 

However, as pointed out, the film is noteworthy, for film buffs, not only for that very reason, but also because it is the only film in which three noted acting siblings appeared together.

 

 

I long ago learned to not become to perturbed when watching a Hollywood production that strayed from historical facts, or the literacy of a story or novel sharing the same name.

 

It is entertainment.

 

When I want a more veracious and objective view of history on film I seek out a reputable documentary. :rolleyes:

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Scheduled for early Wednesday (4:30 am Eastern time), on April 15, 2015.

 

 

 

4:30 AM ?

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4:30 AM ?

That is beyond ridiculous. Sometimes it feels like an insult when TCM shows something intriguing or rare once in a blue moon and only then during an early am slot, yet trots the same tired stuff out in prime time and on weekend afternoons.

 

Nonetheless- thanks to the poster who started this thread, your enthusiasm is appreciated.

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Big_Bopper said:

 

This movie is absolute garbage. It has nothing to do with Russia and is one of those movies made to fill out a schedule of 52 movies a year. Hollywood is incapable of portraying Russia in anything resembling real terms. .... 

 

So don't watch it then    :wacko:

 

Nobody said this was a historical film, per se. Quite the contrary, there was a lawsuit based on inaccuracy. The film was pulled from circulation for decades to prevent further lawsuits.

 

However, as pointed out, the film is noteworthy, for film buffs, not only for that very reason, but also because it is the only film in which three noted acting siblings appeared together.

 

 

I long ago learned to not become to perturbed when watching a Hollywood production that strayed from historical facts, or the literacy of a story or novel sharing the same name.

 

It is entertainment.

 

When I want a more veracious and objective view of history on film I seek out a reputable documentary. :rolleyes:

 

Overall I take the same POV on this topic (historical accuracy in film), as you do,  but sadly many people, lacking limited knowledge of a historical event OTHER THAN what they see in a movie,   believe the 'facts' as related in the movie.    i.e. they view the movies as more than just entertainment.  

 

e.g. Selma;    How many people will believe the POV presented in the movie as it relates to LBJ,  as how it really was?    How many, when presented with the actual facts will cling to what they saw in a movie?????    Hopefully very few,  but I don't think that is the case.

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It may be that I have more interest in historical accuracy of the region and period as my great-grandmother met Tsaritsa Alexandra and knew Grand Duchess Anastasia. My family were not noble but were well-respected and visted Winter Palace often.

 

I believe that any person who expects movies to be historically correct may be delusional in other aspects. I know few documentaries which have great claim to accuracy. Movies are for entertainment. I feel that capturing essential sense of characters is far more important than adherence to events.

 

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Thanks for the family pic, Fred,

 

and also LornaHansonForbes,

 

I corrected the show times in my original post.

 

0430 was for Mountain time, NOT Eastern time as I had posted. :wub:

Still early, but not quite as early for those on the East coast as the rest of us.

Still, I imagine most who want to see it would be better off recording it, as it may be another 5 years before another TCM showing??? :(

 

Scheduled for early Wednesday on April 15, 2015.

(6:30 am Eastern time, 0530 am Central time, 0430 am Mountain time, 0330 am Pacific time),

 

 

15 Wednesday 6:00 AM MGM Parade Show #4 (1955)

George Murphy tours Lake Metro, where "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "Show Boat" were shot, and introduces a clip from "Good News." These clips feature June Allyson and Peter Lawford.

 

BW-26 mins,

6:30 AM Rasputin And The Empress (1932)

True story of the mad monk who plotted to rule Russia.

Dir: Richard BoleslavskyCast: John Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore.

BW-121 mins, CC,

 

http://www.tcm.com/s...date=2015-04-01

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Well, I'm asleep at 4:30 mountain time.... but I recorded this film 5 years ago. :)

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Thanks for the notification about Rasputin and the Empress, Stephan. Historical inaccuracies aside, it's a fun costume film.

 

I don't find Ethel particularly interesting as the Empress but the two Barrymore brothers have a great time trying to steal scenes from each other.

 

As a matter of fact, at one point producer Irving Thalberg said to John, "You know, Jack, you have to kill Lionel in the last reel. You don't mind, do you?"

 

"I don't mind," Jack replied, "but the way he's going to steal this picture from his brother and sister, I ought to kill him in the first reel."

 

And that has always been a subject of some speculation for me. With the role of the mad monk, Lionel had the juiciest part in the film (of which his younger brother would have been aware). I think that John's performance as Svengali clearly showed that he was more than up to the task of playing Rasputin. But John, unlike his brother, also had the versatility to play a conventional leading man part, as well, so he ended with the role of assassin of the monk.

 

And John is quite good in the part, too, I feel, even if, at age 50, he has an excessive amount of makeup on, as well as being corseted to hide his bulging stomach.

 

The following comes from The Barrymores, by James Kotsilibas-Davis, about the Rasputin set, and the momentous occasion in which all three Barrymores would be working on screen together:

 

Generally, it was a quiet set, without the usual gossiping and card playing behind the scenes. Cast and crew walked on tiptoe, talked in whispers, trying to act before the Barrymores as though nothing unusual was happening. Ethel's demeanor could be particularly awesome. Unaware that (William H.) Daniel's camera assistant was nicknamed "Grandma," Ethel happened to be walking across the sound stage as someone called up to the assistant, "Hurry up, Grandma!" Ethel glowered Barrymorishly at the offender - with the impact of a pistol shot.

 

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The three Barrymores with a famous visitor on the set.

 

From The Barrymores:

 

When Lionel introduced Walt Disney to Ethel, she cried, "Mickey Mouse!" and called Jack over. The three Barrymores spent half an hour telling the shy genius how they envied him. "Lionel and I willingly would have tossed into the gutter everything we had done in the theatre," Jack asserted, "if only we could have been the creator of Mickey Mouse." Disney returned the compliment by including cartoon facsimiles of the three Barrymores in Mickey's (Gala) Premiere."

 

c021_zps03ef4248.jpg

 

c031_zpscb3230ad.jpg

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jamesjazzguitar said:

 

sadly many people, lacking limited knowledge of a historical event OTHER THAN what they see in a movie, believe the 'facts' as related in the movie. i.e. they view the movies as more than just entertainment. ....

 

 

Of course, you are correct in your observation. Too often that is a sad truth.

 

I think that discernment and "objectivity" (a rational clarity in perception), is an individual "growth" process that ocurrs in degrees as we mature.

Though not all of us grow at the same rate, nor mature at the same time, and sadly, too few of us find ourselves relating to others at the same stage of comprehension.

 

In addition, with movies, we are dealing with an unnatural medium that allows us to "witness" actions on film. To properly enjoy them we must be able to temper what we see (and hear) with the realization that what we are seeing, and hearing, is a staged theatrical depiction.

 

I remember as a young child that I sometimes had to be assured by a trusted adult that what I was seeing on the screen, was not real.

 

"It's only a movie." was what I was most often told.

 

 

Then there came a rude awakening when I was forced to learn that "adults" were not always wiser and veracious, just because they were older. They often contradicted each other, and even blatantly lied.

I found myself frequently wondering, "Whom can one believe....???"

 

For a period of time I questioned practically everything.

 

I was around 12 years old, and discovered that I was an agnostic.

Yet, when visiting my grandparents one summer, I found myself perusing their Bible and in the Christian New Testament, my eyes lit upon the words of Pontius Pilate when he asked:

 

"Truth. What is truth?"

 

I finally began to grasp the intangible concept that, concerning humans, there may not be a single, absolute truth.

 

I gradually learned to discern the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

Between science fiction, fantasy and scientific theory.

 

I learned that "historical truth," is a matter of perspective far more complex than just two sides of a single coin. There are numerous denominations and currencies, with many different and changing rates of exchange to factor in.

 

Perception is like a many faceted diamond, with light reflecting differently to the eye of each beholder, varying upon the time of day, cloud cover, intensity, and from which angle they are observing it.

 

This is why eye witnesses to the same event often report seeing things differently.

It not only depends on what they saw, but where they saw it from, and what socio-cultural background and level of understanding tinted their view.

 

Some time, awhile ago, I began factoring these variables in to what I see, what I hear, and what I read. (Sadly for me, too often through retrospection.)

 

I found value in seeking out first editions, whenever possible.

Finding that first hand eye witness testimonies, although biased, were closer to the event (and often the historical truth) than second, and third hand (ad infinitum) "witnesses," who wrote about what occurred generations prior, and then rehashed their stories to fit the politically correct views and biases of their day.

 

Every author, writer, director, producer, reporter, and pundit scholar, has an agenda (some sort of personal biase), that renders them incapable of "pure" objectivity.

 

Even "hard" natural fact and scientific evidence ends up being translated and interpreted by "experts" who may not always agree with each other...

 

This makes knowing as much as one can about the source of "information" a priority before considering the validity of the information itself.

 

But when viewing a movie, for the pure joy of its entertainment value, one is allowed, for a period of time, to temporarily suspend the need for "truth."

 

With this in mind, I have learned to be less "irritated" when I encounter dramatic license in a filmed representaion of an ahistorical event.

 

I can only wish the same sensibility to others.

 

Lacking that, I can only attempt to calm them by saying....

 

"It's only a movie...." :mellow:

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SansFin said:

 

It may be that I have more interest in historical accuracy of the region and period as my great-grandmother met Tsaritsa Alexandra and knew Grand Duchess Anastasia. My family were not noble but were well-respected and visted Winter Palace often.
 
How wonderful for you to have such first-hand family contact.
Were you able to know your great grandmother?
 
Sadly for me, when I met persons of familial or historical interest when a child (even as young "adult"), I was too immature to fully appreciate them.
 
Today, I derive great plasure in listening to what experiential lucid seniors have to say.
But, I would love to go back, if I could, and "pick" the brains of those no longer with us.
 
I believe that any person who expects movies to be historically correct may be delusional in other aspects.
 
I agree.
 
I know few documentaries which have great claim to accuracy.
 
It is difficult. Generally, the best researched, least biased, documentaries that I enjoy are PBS and BBC distributions.
 
Movies are for entertainment. I feel that capturing essential sense of characters is far more important than adherence to events.
 
Agreed.
 

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The arts have always had an impact on what we believe. A few examples:

 

The story of Lucifer being cast out of heaven comes from Milton's Paradise Lost, not the Bible, but many people think it's in the Bible.

 

Salome's "Dance of the Seven Veils" comes from Oscar Wilde's play, Salome, and was later used in the R. Strauss opera. It's not in the Bible, though many people think it is there.

 

The way Shakespeare depicted fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream changed the way people thought of fairies.

 

Margaret Murray's book, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, had a big impact on how we view witches and how those who called themselves witches, or Wicca, define themselves today. Murray's book is a scholarly book on fascinating subject, but her conclusions were incorrect.

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TomJH

 

Thank you for your insightful and informative (as usual) addition to the topic of this thread.

 

I always learn something new from you. :)

 

 

I read about Mickey's (Gala) Premiere and would sure like to see it.

 

I wonder if there is any chance that TCM may show it for us, since they now have an affiliation with Disney and some of the treasures in their Vault? :o

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This movie is absolute garbage.  It has nothing to do with Russia and is one of those movies made to fill out a schedule of 52 movies a year.  Hollywood is incapable of portraying Russia in anything resembling real terms.  Every attempt and there has been many are awful such as Mockery , The Eagle. The Cossack, the Last Command, etc.  turgid garbage for fools.  Didn't you know? .....

 

I know many here may not be fans of Doctor Zhivago, but that is a fairly accurate portrayal of Russia. All the people in the end were broke and the military government got all the money what was left of it and what little the people had left too. They wanted to film the movie in the Soviet Union at the time but of coarse they hated the book which was banned so it was done elsewhere.

 

People that hate the movie should still watch it to see what happens when communism takes over and see how the people live. Guilt or innocence is also not important, if you are deemed guilty then you get punished.

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I watched the film the last time it aired and I seem to recall either from imdb or the intro/outro that Ethel Barrymore totally thought she was "above" the material and resented being directed by someone without the experience she felt her name and reputation merited. (I think the director was maybe married to Clara Bow or somesuch star as Ethel referred to him as "Mr. Bow" on the set.)

 

It's ironic since the one thing I recall about Rasputin and the Empress is how awful Ethel is in it- as mannered and morose as Helen Hayes at her worst. She's acting for the THEATUH the whole time and it shows.

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LornaHansonForbes said:

 

It's ironic since the one thing I recall about Rasputin and the Empress is how awful Ethel is in it- as mannered and morose as Helen Hayes at her worst. She's acting for the THEATUH the whole time and it shows.

 

Not to make excuses for Ms Barrymore, but it was her first "talkie" and the technology was only 5 years old in 1932. Still pretty crude and cumbersome. And though she had made several silent films before, she was still primarily a theatre actress.

So she likely was somewhat "taken a back," and uncomfortable with the process, and that may have made her acting "stiff" and her reactions come off as rudeness.

 

Then again she may have just been a "superior" behaving person, as you say?

Don't really know, wasn't there.

 

But it sounds as though Ethel's demeanor could be particularly awesome, perhaps not in the marvelous sense....???

 

 

I was most entertained by the interactions & reactions of Lionel & John, to each other.

It was almost as if they were having their own private gig in the midst of this elaborate production.

 

I confess I haven't seen this film in years, so I am looking forward to it in April.

 

Too bad it will air too early to have an intro/outro by either Robert or Ben.

 

I think it would have been a good film for Robert & Drew to have hosted at least once during her three year essentials stint, but didn't happen.

 

Maybe board members like Fred and TomJH, and others, can post a little more enlightenment, about the family & film, before April 15th, to help enhance our viewing pleasure? :)

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MovieMadness posted:

 

I know many here may not be fans of Doctor Zhivago, but that is a fairly accurate portrayal of Russia....

 

Big fan of DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) and director David Lean.

 

Though a work of fiction, it has a historical context.

 

I think that David Lean did an outstanding job bringing the plot of the novel to screen.

 

Yet epic as the film was, I still believe that it should be contrasted with the much greater life and times of its Nobel Prize-winning author, Boris Leonidovich Pasternak.

His book apparently was a work in progress from 1910, until it's completion in 1956, and that is a lot of influential background history, the majority of it under Stalin's regime.  

 

As you say, the Government did not appreciate it. 

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Swithin said:

 

The arts have always had an impact on what we believe. A few examples:

 

The story of Lucifer being cast out of heaven comes from Milton's Paradise Lost, not the Bible, but many people think it's in the Bible.

 

Salome's "Dance of the Seven Veils" comes from Oscar Wilde's play, Salome, and was later used in the R. Strauss opera. It's not in the Bible, though many people think it is there.

 

No denying what you have said about the arts impacting beliefs.

 

However, I do think you may have placed the cart before the horse in these two particular examples.

 

I certainly do NOT want to turn this thread into a theology debate nor a religious discussion, and I am certainly NOT a religious scholar.

 

But I will very breifly take issue:

 

It is recorded that by 367 AD the theologian Athanasius of Alexandria had provided a listing of the 66 books belonging to the present Biblical canon.

Meaning that the writings that compose the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament were already were known well before John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) and Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) were ever conceived.

 

1) regarding

The story of Lucifer being cast out of heaven comes from Milton's Paradise Lost, not the Bible, but many people think it's in the Bible.

 

There are several Biblical references to Lucifer being "cast out of heaven" in both the old and Christian New Testament.

Wording may differ depending upon the translation being used:

 

In Ezekiel 28: he is addressed as he was before a "fallen" state and afterward.

NIV

14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

 

So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub,

from among the fiery stones.

17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom

because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth;

 

 

Isaiah 14:

KJB

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut

down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

 

NIV

12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!

You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

 

13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

 

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

 

15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.

 

In both of these "chapters" the author is using parallelism to address both earthly Kings as well as the spiritual power influencing them, Satan.

In Ezekiel the inferences are to both lament the king of Tyre, and the "anointed guardian cherub," Satan's role in the Garden of Eden.

In Isaiah the earthly monarch is the king of Babylon, and Satan is referred to in the KJB as "Lucifer, son of the morning," who has been cut down due to his aspirations to supplant "The Most High." .

 

Revelation 12

NIV

7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.

9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

 

Based on the above writings alone, it is clear that John Milton, who had access to the King James version of the Bible was strongly influenced by the Fall of Lucifer/Satan when he wrote Paradise Lost.

 

 

1) regarding
Salome's "Dance of the Seven Veils" comes from Oscar Wilde's play, Salome, and was later used in the R. Strauss opera. It's not in the Bible, though many people think it is there.

Whereas the "Dance of the Seven Veils" per se, is possibly an invention of Oscar Wilde, it is written in Matthew  that before the beheading of John the Baptist, Salome did dance before her step-father Herod Antipas (son of Herod the Great and half-brother to Herod Philip II & Herod Archelaus).

 

Although the name of Salome is not given in Matthew, the Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus wrote in his Jewish Antiquities, that Salome (AD 14 – between 62 and 71) was the daughter of Herod II and Herodias,

 

Matthew 14

NIV

3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife,

4 for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.”

5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.

6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much

7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.

8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”

9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted

10 and had John beheaded in the prison.

11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.

Whether Salome used any or seven veils during her dance is not stated, however it is clearly recorded that she did perform an infamous dance that resulted in the beheading of John the Baptiste.

Perhaps incorporating the Seven Veils was Oscar Wilde's contrivance to spice up the action a bit.

In any event, Wilde was very much aware and influenced by the Biblical story when he adapted it for his play.

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Very interesting, Stephen. It's a bit late to engage, but there is a question whether the Lucifer of Isaiah is a devil at all, and a lot of it is down to the translation. I think Milton's account of Lucifer falling with his flaming legions is the story that captures the public imagination -- that's my point, not that there is no connection between Milton and the Bible. I don't recall any mention of Lucifer in the book of Ezekiel, but I haven't read that book for a long time. The book of Ezekiel was probably influenced by the Zoroastrians, so it makes sense to me that there might be language related to a kind of devil, and an angelology, but I don't remember Lucifer in that book, though as I've said, it's been a while.

 

I don't recall any mention of Lucifer in the New Testament.( I do recall, in Revelation, the casting out of that old dragon, which is probably a reference to the Babylonian Tiamat.)

 

Regarding Salome, I don't think the daughter of Herodias who danced in the Bible is named as Salome; nor do I think that seven veils are mentioned (and I haven't got the energy to look it up now!). Yes, Wilde was inspired by the Biblical story, but my point was that many people actually think that a woman named Salome did the dance of the seven veils in the Bible, when in fact that story comes from Mr. Wilde.

 

So -- I wasn't saying that Milton and Wilde were not inspired by the Bible, just that it's the more embellished versions and the imagery of Milton and WIlde that have captured people's imagination and that we tend to remember more vividly.

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Swithin said:

 

there is a question whether the Lucifer of Isaiah is a devil at all,

 

Well he is still being referred to as the "son of the morning."

I've seen the name Lucifer used without any negative, or devilish connotation, whereas Satan always seems to imply a fallen, adversarial state.

 

I don't recall any mention of Lucifer in the book of Ezekiel,

 

In Ezekial, no. In the KJB v of Isaiah, yes.

 

Lucifer, Satan, Serpent, Dragon, The devil, etc. are all names used to represent the same entity.

 

and a lot of it is down to the translation.

 

Most definitely.

 

Regarding Salome, I don't think the daughter of Herodias who danced in the Bible is named as Salome;

 

She is not. She is referred to as "the daughter of Herodias."

 

Flavius Josephus wrote in his Jewish Antiquities, that "Salome" (AD 14 – AD 62 or 71) was the daughter of Herod II and Herodias.

We know her name as Salome because a reputable Jewish historian from the period mentions it.

 

nor do I think that seven veils are mentioned

 

They aren't.

But it is stated that "On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.

Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”

The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison.

His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother."

 

Salome is obviously the same girl (corraborated by Josephus) that performed the infamous dance for Herod that resulted in John's execution.

 

It didn't elaborate how she danced, or what she was wearing, it just said that Herod was so pleased with her performance that he promised her anything in front of witnesses.

I suppose he had no idea that she would ask for such a grusome gift as John's head on a platter.

 

I think Oscar Wilde was familiar with both the New Testament and the writings of Josephus and just filled in the blanks for artistic effect. .

 

my point was that many people actually think that a woman named Salome did the dance of the seven veils in the Bible, when in fact that story comes from Mr. Wilde.

 

Well it appears that Salome did do the dance, but we can credit Wilde for the popular name of the dance and its description. 

 

So -- I wasn't saying that Milton and Wilde were not inspired by the Bible, just that it's the more embellished versions and the imagery of Milton and WIlde that have captured people's imagination and that we tend to remember more vividly.

 

For those that are familiar with "Paradise Lost," and the plays of Wilde, (including their screen adaptations) I most definitely agree.

But I think that those numbers are dwindling.

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My point of course was simply that "the dance of the seven veils" comes from Wilde's play; and that the imagery many people associate with the fall of Lucifer comes from Milton (and to some extent Blake's images of Paradise Lost). I don't think it matters that masses of people may no longer be familiar with the works of Wilde or Milton. The stories have filtered into the common consciousness.  For example, many people, even those who don't know the works of Wilde, have heard of Salome and the dance of the seven veils. Even people who know The Importance of Being Earnest may not to be aware that Wilde wrote a play called Salome, but "the dance of the seven veils" is known.

 

Shaw, in Man and Superman ("Don Juan in Hell" segment), gives the Devil a really great speech, which includes these lines:

 

"The Englishman described me as being expelled from Heaven

by cannons and gunpowder; and to this day every Briton
believes that the whole of his silly story is in the Bible.
What else he says I do not know ; for it is all in a long
poem which neither I nor anyone else ever succeeded in
wading through."

 

Shaw's Devil is correct. Who has read the whole of Paradise Lost, particularly these days? But the imagery has filtered into the common consciousness, without people being aware of the source, as with the dance of the seven veils.

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