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Stephan55

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

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Thought I'd give this thread a bump, for anybody who might be interested

It's still on the TCM schedule :)

 

In 7 Days

 

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

The one and only feature film with ALL three Barrymore's together!
 

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),
 
 
 6:30 AM Rasputin And The Empress (1932)  
True story of the mad monk who plotted to rule Russia.

Dir: Richard Boleslavsky Cast: John Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore.

BW-121 mins, CC,

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Thought I'd give this thread a bump, for anybody who might be interested

It's still on the TCM schedule :)

 

In 7 Days

 

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

The one and only feature film with ALL three Barrymore's together!

 

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),

 

 

 6:30 AM Rasputin And The Empress (1932)  

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

Dir: Richard Boleslavsky Cast: John Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore.

BW-121 mins, CC,

Yes, I am glad it has remained on the schedule. It last aired on TCM in May 2011.

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i'm looking forward to this showing. but i've got a ?:

 

is the 121 min version being shown on Apr 15, 2015 the unedited 1st version or is it the version shown with edits because of the lawsuit brought shortly after the release? (the original implies Rasputin raped Natasha and this scene was deleted from theater/tv releases as a result of the suit.)

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Thanks for the heads up! I just finished "The House of Barrymore" and will set my alarm so I can watch this. I can always catch some zzzzs later.

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i'm looking forward to this showing. but i've got a ?:

 

is the 121 min version being shown on Apr 15, 2015 the unedited 1st version or is it the version shown with edits because of the lawsuit brought shortly after the release? (the original implies Rasputin raped Natasha and this scene was deleted from theater/tv releases as a result of the suit.)

 

Every time it's been shown in the past it is the post lawsuit edited version.

I think the only persons who saw (or will ever see) the original version were those that went to the theatres in 1932 before the film was pulled due to the lawsuit.

 

Refer to my first post in this thread for details

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One last heads up... in just a few more hours...

 

Early Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

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

Be sure to set your recorders!

 

6:30 AM Rasputin And The Empress (1932)
True story of the mad monk who plotted to rule Russia.

Dir: Richard Boleslavsky Cast: John Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore.

BW-121 mins, CC,

 

My recorder is set, and I'm hoping that the cable gods will be kind... :rolleyes: 
 

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After finally getting a chance to see John in a film, his performance so professional, I find it hard to picture him chasing his female co-stars around their dressing rooms.

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After finally getting a chance to see John in a film, his performance so professional, I find it hard to picture him chasing his female co-stars around their dressing rooms.

The guy had major substance abuse issues, mainly booze. He was a major talent but his personal life was a mess.

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The guy had major substance abuse issues, mainly booze. He was a major talent but his personal life was a mess.

 

Yes, I know. I've read quite a bit on old Jack. But I still love him. I have only see bits and pieces of Twentieth Century. Amazon wants $96.00 for the DVD. Ha ha!

Pretty sad how things turned out for Jack, especially towards the end. That Kay Kaiser flick where JB recites Hamlet and Patsy Kelly behind him making fun of him makes me want to choke her.

But I still love the guy.

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I have only see bits and pieces of Twentieth Century. Amazon wants $96.00 for the DVD. Ha ha!

 

Amazon also offers it for digital streaming and/or download, only $13 to buy and $4 to rent, and in HD to boot.  Forget DVD, go digital.

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Amazon also offers it for digital streaming and/or download, only $13 to buy and $4 to rent, and in HD to boot.  Forget DVD, go digital.

 

I can't stand watching anything on my computer for too long. Wonder why that film is so expensive?

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I can't stand watching anything on my computer for too long. Wonder why that film is so expensive?

 

You need a streaming device that lets you watch "computer video" on your TV.  I use a Roku device that lets me watch Netflix, Amazon Instant, even Youtube videos on my TV.

 

This DVD is not expensive.  One seller only charges $24.47.  You gotta look at all the sellers.  But as you see, they are all third-party sellers, which means Amazon doesn't sell it directly.  That usually means the DVD is out of print, and that explains some of the high prices.

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You need a streaming device that lets you watch "computer video" on your TV.  I use a Roku device that lets me watch Netflix, Amazon Instant, even Youtube videos on my TV.

 

This DVD is not expensive.  One seller only charges $24.47.  You gotta look at all the sellers.  But as you see, they are all third-party sellers, which means Amazon doesn't sell it directly.  That usually means the DVD is out of print, and that explains some of the high prices.

 

That makes sense. I'll look into it. I believe all this is available on my Smart Tv. Veiwer - dumb.

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One last heads up... in just a few more hours...

 

Early Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

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

 

Be sure to set your recorders!

 

6:30 AM Rasputin And The Empress (1932)

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

Dir: Richard Boleslavsky Cast: John Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore.

BW-121 mins, CC,

 

My recorder is set, and I'm hoping that the cable gods will be kind... :rolleyes: 

 

Hope it all worked out for you, Stephan. I'm watching it right now. So used to seeing Ethel Barrymore in roles as an older woman that it seems strange watching her in a performance given when she was quite a bit younger.

 

MGM certainly put a gob of money into this production, didn't they?

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After finally getting a chance to see John in a film, his performance so professional, I find it hard to picture him chasing his female co-stars around their dressing rooms.

Rasputin was the last time that John Barrymore was cast in a conventional leading man role. Even though the makeup is on pretty thick to try to hide the ravages his lifestyle had brought to that once celebrated left profile and he was heavily corsetted to suck in his stomach, he's very good in his part, I feel.

 

I particularly love watching him in the film's big murder scene. John B. remains deliberately understated during the early stages when Rasputin is gluttonously filling himself on poisoned pasteries, even allowing the monk to wing him in the arm with a bullet as he waits for the poison to take effect. It's when the mad monk starts to finally shows signs of the poison that Barrymore suddenly breaks into a manic laughter and starts to go deliciously over-the-top as he starts to beat him. "Why don't you die?" he at one point screams in frustration at Rasputin's resistance to succumb.

 

Both Barrymore brothers are having a grand time in this scene, John screaming and beating the monk, Lionel gropping around and staggering to a window to try to call for help. "You can't kill me," Lionel intones, his features badly battered, "If I die, Russia dies." John will respond by dragging him outside to drown him in an icy river.

 

I love watching them together here, both brothers playing it big, determined to try to make the scene his own. In fact, it's John's increasingly manic performance here that makes him almost seem the more demented of the two. John and Lionel gave us a good show.

 

Rasputin31_zps9st829f6.gif

 

Why don't you die?!?

 

By the way, Lionel's "If I die, Russia dies" comments can be seen as a reflection of the fact that the real Rasputin was working hard behind the scenes on the royal family to try to get them to pull their country out of the "Great War." If that had happened, it would have seriously impacted the war.

 

The specific circumstances of the mad monk's murder are not known in their entirety. How many were in the room shooting and beating him? There is strong, very strong speculation, based on the autopsy photographs, that the fatal shot that killed him, in the forehead, was fired by a British secret service agent, Oswald Rayner, a collaborator on Prince Youssoupoff's book account of his murder of the monk. Rayner admitted he was at the murder scene. The book he wrote with Youssoupoff was, in fact, a cover story for what really happened, it is said. That's right, killed by a bullet fired by a British agent, not drowned though his body was thrown in a river.

 

The British had strong reasons to want to see Rasputin dead and equally strong reasons to want any British connection with his death kept secret.

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Some movie!

 

What works: the basic story-- about a trusted advisor who is really a menace to the family; the concept of inviting evil into one's home, thinking it is goodness, is a strong one. Also, Cedric Gibbons and his art department have outdone themselves on this production. And the acting is all first-rate...especially Diana Wynyard who had a daytime tribute on TCM today.

 

What doesn't work: the story is too drawn out. Too many scenes of the monk (LB) hypnotizing everyone and everything in sight. Some of it is quite predictable. We knew that the prince (JB) wouldn't succeed at shooting him in the beginning, because it was too early in the story. And it was quite unrealistic that the monk doesn't even get a scratch on him. I suppose we can question if he is supernatural and not of this world, but there should have been a bit more explanation about his apparent invincibility. 

 

I almost half-expected Greta Garbo to show up somewhere. I'm disappointed she didn't.

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 We knew that the prince (JB) wouldn't succeed at shooting him in the beginning, because it was too early in the story. And it was quite unrealistic that the monk doesn't even get a scratch on him. I suppose we can question if he is supernatural and not of this world, but there should have been a bit more explanation about his apparent invincibility. 

 

 

There is. Rasputin's wearing a bullet proof vest. That why JB says, "Next time I'll aim at your head."

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There is. Rasputin's wearing a bullet proof vest. That why JB says, "Next time I'll aim at your head."

Okay, thanks. That's what I thought. I guess I wanted a shot where after JB exits, we see LB examine the vest. 

 

I am going to have to watch this film again because I think there were probably some other details I missed.

 

I wonder if the rape scene that was cut after MGM lost the lawsuit, exists in a vault somewhere. I can't fathom they would have just burned the footage.

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Okay, thanks. That's what I thought. I guess I wanted a shot where after JB exits, we see LB examine the vest. 

 

There is. The audience sees Lionel take off the vest. Or, should I say, most of the audience. ;)

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There is. The audience sees Lionel take off the vest. Or, should I say, most of the audience. ;)

LOL...I guess this member of the audience did not. That must have been when I reached for my coffee, thinking it would help wake me up! 

 

By the way, I am quite glad TCM aired this film yesterday. Some user comments on the IMDb had folks comparing Wynyard to Norma Shearer in the looks department.

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The first time I saw Rasputin and the Empress was around 40 years ago in the basement of a Toronto library as part of a film society group. There were perhaps 20 to 30 of us sitting on hard chairs before a small screen, and it was fun. This was one of the first times that I ever saw any of the Barrymores.

 

It was also around this same time that I first saw another Russia-set historical spectacle at the same library, Von Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress, with Dietrich as an exotic Catherine the Great. In this case, as the closing credits rolled, I remember the small crowd of viewers applauding and even cheering.

 

This was in the days before video tape and DVDs. I never would have dreamt at the time that one day I would own these two films, to turn on anytime I wanted. Collectors have never had it as good as they do now.

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The first time I saw Rasputin and the Empress was around 35 or 40 years ago in the basement of a Toronto library as part of a film society group. There were perhaps 20 to 30 of us sitting on hard chairs before a small screen, and it was fun. This was one of the first times that I ever saw any of the Barrymores.

 

It was also around this same time that I first saw another Russia-set historical spectacle at the same library, Von Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress, with Dietrich as an exotic Catherine the Great. In this case, as the closing credits rolled, I remember the small crowd of viewers applauding and even cheering.

Interesting you mention THE SCARLET EMPRESS. I feel RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS would make a great double-feature with the Dietrich film one evening on TCM. THE RISE OF CATHERINE THE GREAT (1934) is another film people should check out.

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Interesting you mention THE SCARLET EMPRESS. I feel RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS would make a great double-feature with the Dietrich film one evening on TCM. THE RISE OF CATHERINE THE GREAT (1934) is another film people should check out.

I can't say that I'm a big fan of The Rise of Catherine the Great.

 

However, when I once received a letter from Douglas Fairbanks Jr., he listed Czar Peter as one of his favourite film roles. I remember telling him about the very same Toronto film society where I had just seen one of his films (Dawn Patrol) and he felt pleased that people were still interested enough to watch the oldies.

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I can't say that I'm a big fan of The Rise of Catherine the Great.

 

However, when I once received a letter from Douglas Fairbanks Jr., he listed Czar Peter as one of his favourite film roles. I remember telling him about the very same Toronto film society where I had just seen one of his films (Dawn Patrol) and he felt pleased that people were still interested enough to watch the oldies.

That's interesting. I've said this before-- in the 'old' days of Hollywood the emphasis was sometimes on quantity rather than quality. A lot of stars and directors were in a rush to turn out the next film. And it was obviously before television rebroadcasts. They did not realize people would still be watching some of these productions years later.

 

I think THE RISE OF CATHERINE THE GREAT was Fairbanks' first British production, wasn't it?-- he would go on to make quite a few other pictures on that side of the pond. So it was a turning point for him.

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