A Royal Scandal

Overview

Ernst Lubitsch was the original director for A Royal Scandal, but illness forced him to bow out; his replacement was Otto Preminger, who did his utmost to retain the "Lubitsch touch." Based on a play by Lajos Biro and Melchior Lengyel, the film dwells upon a fictional incident in the life of Russia's Catherine the Great, here played with blue-blooded bawdiness by Tallulah Bankhead. Catherine falls in love with a handsome young army officer William Eythe, who turns out to be an insurrectionist planning her ...
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Overview

Ernst Lubitsch was the original director for A Royal Scandal, but illness forced him to bow out; his replacement was Otto Preminger, who did his utmost to retain the "Lubitsch touch." Based on a play by Lajos Biro and Melchior Lengyel, the film dwells upon a fictional incident in the life of Russia's Catherine the Great, here played with blue-blooded bawdiness by Tallulah Bankhead. Catherine falls in love with a handsome young army officer William Eythe, who turns out to be an insurrectionist planning her downfall. At the last moment, Catherine relents, allowing the officer to escape with his true love, lady-in-waiting Anne Baxter. A bit too cute for its own good, Royal Scandal has some choice moments: Most notable are Tallulah Bankhead's pained reaction upon being hailed as "The Mother of All Russias," and supporting actor Grady Sutton's southern-accented reference to the "U-ral Mountains."
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Handsomely mounted -- as indeed any picture about the legendary Catherine the Great should be -- A Royal Scandal is a very entertaining film, despite some serious flaws. Doing a film in 1945 about an empress who was rumored to have an insatiable sexual appetite presents some sizable problems, and Scandal can be forgiven for not surmounting this particular obstacle. What is less forgivable is the unfocused story and the lack of dialogue that truly engages the audience. Under the circumstances, it's a tribute to the cast that they manage to take the material and weave it into something, if not magical, at least diverting. Scandal deserves applause for being one of the few films that allows the delicious Tallulah Bankhead a chance to flaunt her very distinctive personality. Her serious dramatic talents are not terribly taxed here, but her voracious comedic appeal is given a fine chance to shine. Her co-star, William Eythe, is also surprisingly effective. A not untalented actor, he nonetheless was somewhat limited in his abilities, but he handles his duties in Scandal with aplomb and demonstrates a small but definite flair for comedy. Charles Coburn is his usual dependable self, Anne Baxter is quite good and Vincent Price does quite well with a hideously small role. The direction is not of a piece, not surprising since two very distinctive directors had a hand in it, as Otto Preminger had to replace an ailing Ernst Lubitsch. One strong hand at the helm would been welcome, but the results are more than adequate.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/16/2013
  • UPC: 024543878735
  • Original Release: 1945
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Mod
  • Presentation: B&W
  • Time: 1:33:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 42,162

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tallulah Bankhead Catherine II the Great
Charles Coburn Chancellor Nicolai Ilyitch
Anne Baxter Countess Anna Jaschikoff
William Eythe Lt. Alexei Chernoff
Vincent Price Marquis de Fleury
Mischa Auer Capt. Sukov
Sig Rumann Gen. Ronsky
Vladimir Sokoloff Malakoff
Mikhail Rasumny Drunken General
Grady Sutton Boris
Donald Douglas Variatinsky
Egon Brecher Wassilikow
Paul Baratoff
Renee Carson
Harry Carter Footman
Feodor Chaliapin Jr.
Arno Frey Captain
Eva Gabor Countess Demidow
Wilton Graff
Friedrich Ledebur
Torben Meyer
Fred Nurney
Dick Ryan
Sam Savitsky
Dina Smirnova
Leonid Snegoff
Henry Victor
Michael Visaroff
Vernon Walker
Marek Windheim
Eugene Beday
Nestor Eristoff
Eugene Sigaloff Russian General
Ann Hunter Ladies in Waiting
Technical Credits
Ernst Lubitsch Director, Producer
Otto Preminger Director
Paul S. Fox Set Decoration/Design
Bruno Frank Screenwriter
Rene Hubert Costumes/Costume Designer
Mark-Lee Kirk Art Director
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Edwin Justus Mayer Screenwriter
Arthur C. Miller Cinematographer
Alfred Newman Score Composer
Edward B. Powell Musical Direction/Supervision
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Dorothy Spencer Editor
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
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