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Catherine the Great [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Catherine Zeta-Jones , Paul McGann , John Goldsmith , Marvin J. Chomsky    DVD

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.7 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Plea Against Editing! 11 Mar 2002
By A Customer - Published on
My main problem with this A&E production was the fact that they cut about half of the original mini-series that this "presentation" was taken from. As a result the film as A&E showed it is EXTREMELY choppy (particularly the ending, where you can tell they skipped about an hour of the action). The only redeeming thing about this is that at least they kept a lot of Paul McGann (Potemkin), who is one of the best English actors of his generation. Look for the scene were the Orlov brothers beat Potemkin; the Orlovs are played by Paul's real-life brothers, Mark & Stephen McGann. Great if you are a McGann fan; stay away if you have any real interest in Russian history.
62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Catherine the Not-So-Great: Wooden, dull, and confusing 6 Mar 2001
By R.L. Holly - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I had high expectations for this film before release, but now I expect to sell my copy and return to the far superior 1991 film "Young Catherine" starring Julia Ormond (particularly the unedited 180+ minute version). THAT film was well acted, well cast, well scripted, and convincing in the details. This piece of hackneyed, romance novel-level schlock isn't worth the time it takes to watch. If it was any more cardboard, it would be on the grocery shelves holding cornflakes.

Zeta-Jones can't do anything with the lines she's given, and I expect the chief reason guys might enjoy this is to watch Catherine happily hop from bed to bed with a succession of hard-to-distinguish lovers (generally in pursuit of some political gain). But even this grows joyless very quickly. CZJ's boy toys are so drab, listless, and ugly that one wonders what the producers were thinking. Even the bodice-buster elements in "Young Catherine" at least featured a more attractive male lead.

The so-called battle scenes are pathetic: a tiny handful of extras milling about in confusion. The Turks are beaten several times in inexplicable affairs (all fought in the woods, no less) that last about thirty seconds each. A subplot involving a rebellious Cossack chieftain (capably played by John Rys-Davies -- the Welsh are taking over Mother Russia!) should have added drama but instead only adds to the confusion regarding Catherine's true motivations. Earlier in the movie, when she's casually seizing power (coups were never so clean and easy as presented here), she announces her desire to free Russia's serfs; by movie's end, she is blithely executing her enemies in defence of the status quo. No explanations for this apparent sea-change are given. And we're supposed to find this character sympathetic? It's typical of this film's confused treatment of real history and people. There's no depth of characterization or feel for the intrigues and struggles of the times. And several scenes have been shamelessly stolen from other movies such as "Young Catherine" and "Waterloo".

It's a lazy, unengaging movie that offers little. Seek out the witty, intelligent, and lavish "Young Catherine" (which was actually filmed IN Russia) instead if you want to see a genuinely entertaining historical drama.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A&E Has Cut this offering on DVD by at LEAST HALF 18 Dec 2005
By Geoffrey Moore - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I agree with another writer who was the only one who noticed that the A&E Production on DVD IS INDEED MISSING around HALF of the Mini Series that was shown on Sydney's Channel Nine a few years ago.

I am glad we still have the old version on Video and if anyone has that version (ie THE COMPLETE Mini Series) with NO great missing Chunks, I would be keen to buy it.

I liked Catherine Zeta Jones and most of the acting although I did notice some that was very obviously "pretend" fighting.

If I can get a refund from "overman" from whom I bought this DVD or from INCLUDING the horrible postage we have to pay to get things from USA to Australia OR EVEN A REPLACEMENT BEING THE FULL VERSION I would be happy to return the shortfalling A&E DVD.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Andrew Davies Script here 21 Sep 2005
By B. Berdahl - Published on
Format:VHS Tape
"He loves me. He loves me. He really loves me," is just one example of this melodrama's inferior dialogue. This may be A&E, but it's no Andrew Davies production. Regardless of the presence of some very good names in the cast, the acting is incredibly superficial. "Catherine the Great" is merely a spectacle to dazzle its viewers with Zeta-Jones' beauty and a series of ornate sets and costumes. There is no time or depth committed to relationships between characters or important events. Battle scenes show comical swordfighting choreography . This film is an insult to fans of historical period dramas. I'm about ready to sell this one back. Not recommended.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Coulda, shoulda been better 5 Nov 2001
By Irreverent - Published on
Okay, I probably liked watching CZJ more that I would have the real CTG, but surely there must be actresses who could have played the role better. It's a shame we couldn't peel (sorry, I couldn't resist) a few decades off of Diana Rigg, or CZJ's co-star Jeanne Moreau, or better still, Francesca Annis. Get "Lillie" and watch Annis and a much better supporting cast (and direction and production) put CTG to shame (and they did it a quarter-century earlier) in a MUCH better costume show about a young woman who starts as an unsophisticated teen and conquers a man's world, royalty and all. Annis is a lot more believable as she charms, beguiles, teases, scorns, tolerates, manipulates, and sometimes frostily discards kings, princes, artists, ministers, captains of commerce, seemingly whatever men she chooses -- all this without being a princess, czarina, or empress. The boss ladies in "I Claudius" and Lindsay Duncan in "Traffik" likewise showed how it should be done. The fake duchess in "Hornblower" and the perfect cast of "Pride and Prejudice" show that A & E can find great actresses now. Why didn't they do it here? For instance, the actress who played CTG's lady-in-waiting could probably have done a lot more with the lead role.

The one star performance is by Jeanne Moreau as the aging / dying Empress Elizabeth. Too bad she's gone before the movie's half over. Ian Richardson is satisfactorily sly and slimy, but Omar Sharif helps prove that actors, like wines, do not all age well (sorry to say that about a fellow bridge freak). The role of Potemkin could have been so much greater than the hardly believable boy-toy play it got.

This movie is worth watching because it depicts highly significant times and events often ignored in the US as we focus on our late colonial and early revolutionary events occurring about the same time. Also, for the guys, sure, CZJ is definitive delicious brunette yumminess (but Sophia was better), and we get lotsa good cleavage shots, but in a skin flick, I want more skin.
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