Catherine the Great

Overview

This historical drama recounts the events that led up to the rule of Russia's 18th-century Catherine the Great. Arriving from Germany as a young woman who is to wed Grand Duke Peter, she soon becomes caught up in the court intrigue and marries the lit-fuse duke. As the Grand Duke's mother lays dying, she relates her fears about her son's mental states, leaving Catherine to contend with his irrational and cruel behavior. When he goes too far with his antics, he is overthrown and put to death, though not by her ...
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Flora Robson, Elisabeth Bergner, Douglas Fairbanks Jr DVD 1934 Run time: 93. BRAND NEW.

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Overview

This historical drama recounts the events that led up to the rule of Russia's 18th-century Catherine the Great. Arriving from Germany as a young woman who is to wed Grand Duke Peter, she soon becomes caught up in the court intrigue and marries the lit-fuse duke. As the Grand Duke's mother lays dying, she relates her fears about her son's mental states, leaving Catherine to contend with his irrational and cruel behavior. When he goes too far with his antics, he is overthrown and put to death, though not by her wishes. Soon, however, Catherine is made the new Czaritza and restores order to her country. Elisabeth Bergner stars with Douglas Fairbanks in this British production.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
As biopic, Catherine the Great is uneven and certainly plays loose with the truth (and certainly with the legend) surrounding one of Russia's most famous imperial rulers. Excusing the empress' supposed sexual insatiability by claiming it was all part of a plan to make her wandering husband jealous is but one of the liberties the screenwriters have taken with history (as is telescoping the time between Catherine and Peter's marriage and her assumption of the throne from seventeen years to two or three), but this wouldn't matter so much if the script had a dramatic life and vibrancy. Unfortunately, much of it is disjointed, with sections where it feels as if whole scenes have been cut. Catherine's transformation from shy waif to a towering ruler is totally missing, making the sudden appearance of a woman who wears military clothing and jokes and flirts with her soldiers seem odd, to say the least. Fortunately, Catherine has a trio of fascinating performers to help smooth over these bumps. Elizabeth Bergner, all saucer eyes and seemingly fragile as a bird, perfectly captures the young Catherine's vulnerability. More impressively, she is entirely believable as Catherine the supremely powerful ruler, summoning forth stores of anger and strength that one would not expect could come from such a small figure. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. has less to work with, but he handles the character's madness with aplomb, and Flora Robson is a delight as the elder empress, leavening her regal bearing with a sneer and a love of the commonplace. Though Paul Czinner cannot pull the disparate threads of the screenplay together, he handles the actors well and has a fair visual flair (helped immensely by the lavish sets and cos
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/18/2014
  • UPC: 842614106033
  • Original Release: 1934
  • Source: Traditions Alive
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Grand Duke Peter
Elisabeth Bergner Catherine II the Great
Flora Robson Empress Elizabeth
Gerald du Maurier Lecocq
Irene Vanbrugh Princess Anhalt-Zerbst
Diana Napier Countess Vorontzova
Joan Gardner Katuschenka
Griffith Jones Gregory Orlov
Dorothy Hale Countess Olga
Gibb McLaughlin Bestujhev
Clifford Heatherley Ogarev
Lawrence Hanray Goudovitch
Allan Jeayes Col. Karnilov
Technical Credits
Paul Czinner Director
John Armstrong Costumes/Costume Designer
David B. Cunyngehame Production Manager
Marjorie Deans Screenwriter
Stephen Harrison Editor
Alexander Korda Producer
Vincent Korda Production Designer
Robert Lapresle Camera Operator
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
Georges Périnal Cinematographer
Ernst Toch Score Composer
A.W. Watkins Sound/Sound Designer
Arthur Wimperis Screenwriter
Harold Young Editor
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