- Actors: christopher lee, barbara shelly, susan farmer
- Directors: roy ward baker
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Warner
- VHS Release Date: 1 May 2000
- Run Time: 92 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00004CL90
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 285,381 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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A Hammer horror classic starring Christopher Lee as Rasputin, the monk who the Russian Tsarina takes under her wing. The story begins with Rasputin, after using his powers to cure an innkeeper's wife, throwing a party, raping the innkeeper's daughter and cutting off the hand of her suitor. He then refuses to apologise to the Abbot of his monastery and leaves for St Petersburg, deciding to use his faith-healing powers for his own hedonistic ends. It is here that he eventually wangles his way into the Tsarina's court and she allows him more and more power.
Top Customer Reviews
That was the reason I wanted to see it, along with the fact it was the only film with all three Barrymores appearing together. However, I did expect watching it to be a chore, especially as the brief excerpts on youtube did not encourage one to expect much.
As it turned out, I put it on just to see whether it would play (of which more later) and wound up watching the whole thing, quite enthralled. This is a wonderful picture, one of the best I have seen for some time. It is all the more impressive when considered by the general standards of early talkies.
I believe this is actually all region, not region 1, although I cannot say for certain as I have a multi-region player. This warning, verbatim from the sleeve, is worth bearing in mind: "this disc is expected to play back in DVD video 'play only' devices, and may not play back in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives."
i am reviewing the "M.G.M" production with the barrymore actor family and the only occassion where all three of them appeared in one film. that fact alone, makes this film worth watching.
in the title role, lionel barrymore gives a good performance as the evil and meglomanical monk who will stop at nothing to sieze control of all russia, including the royal family. he tends to be a bit hammy at times though and this slightly spoils what is otherwise good acting.
john barrymore gives the best performance as one of the loyal and devoted royal subjects who plots and executes his plan of disposing of rasputin. he knows when to resist the temptation to "ham it up" as it were and therefore gives quite a restrained but brilliant performance. i can understand how he was considered a natural in front of the cameras, more so than his brother and sister.
as the queen of russia, ethel barrymore is perfectly watchable but i gather the impression that she wishes she were elsewhere as she sometimes has a somewhat faraway expression. apparently, she had to be convinced to accept appearing in this film as she had quite serious doubts about films in general. as a result, her scenes were often shot out of sequence and also to allow her the time to honour her theatre commitments.
i was quite startled at the quite graphic details in the scene where john and lionel barrymore engage in their final confrontation in the film's climax. for my taste, it was a rather violent scene but well made regardless.
in my opinion "rasputin and the empress" does not deserve to placed in obscurity and i am glad and relieved that it has finally surfaced on dvd.
clear copy and a perfect piece of 1930s film classic