The Rise of Catherine the Great
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The Rise of Catherine the Great

The Rise of Catherine the Great
The Rise of Catherine the Great FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byPaul Czinner
Produced byAlexander Korda
Ludovico Toeplitz (uncredited)
Written byMarjorie Deans
Arthur Wimperis
StarringElisabeth Bergner
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Flora Robson
Narrated byAlexander Kerensky
Music byErnst Toch (uncredited)
Irving Berlin
CinematographyGeorges Périnal
Edited byStephen Harrison
Harold Young
Production
company
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • 9 February 1934 (1934-02-09)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

The Rise of Catherine the Great (also titled Catherine the Great) is a 1934 British historical film based on the play The Czarina by Lajos Bíró and Melchior Lengyel, about the rise to power of Catherine the Great. It was directed by Paul Czinner, and stars Elisabeth Bergner as Catherine, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., as Grand Duke Peter, Dorothy Hale as Countess Olga, and Flora Robson as Empress Elizabeth.

The movie was banned in Germany. On 14 March 1934 this matter invoked a question in the British Parliament (House of Commons): "Is it to be understood that no British film in which there is a Jewish actor or actress will be permitted to be shown in Germany in future?"[]

Plot

This historical drama recounts the events that led to the accession of Catherine the Great, Empress of all the Russias. The film opens with the arrival in 1744 of Princess Sophie Auguste Frederika - whose name would be changed to 'Catherine' - from her father's court of Anhalt-Zerbst (in modern Germany) to the court of the Empress Elizabeth. "Little Catherine" is to marry the Grand Duke Peter, nephew and heir presumptive of the unmarried and childless Empress Elizabeth.

Peter already displays signs of mental instability and a sharply misogynist streak. He rejects Catherine on their wedding night, reacting to something innocently said by his French valet, claiming that she used feminine tricks to win him over. In time, though, Peter accepts her and they have a happy marriage for a while. Meanwhile, Catherine gains important experience of government from working as principal aide to the empress.

The empress dies and Peter becomes tsar, but his mental illness is starting to get the better of him, along with sheer boredom in the job. Catherine still loves him despite beginning a very public love affair with one of her best friends - until one night when Peter goes one step too far in publicly humiliating his wife. She ceases to love him, which enables her to be clear-headed in supporting a planned coup d'état. The following morning, he is arrested and Catherine is made Empress of All the Russias.

The elevation is marred by Peter's murder that very morning, contrary to Catherine's command. Grigory Orlov explains that everything has a price, and the crown has the highest price of all. The film ends, with Catherine in tears on her throne, while the cheers of the crowds are heard outside.

Cast

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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