The Rise of Catherine the Great (February 9, 1934)
Released on February 9, 1934: Catherine the wife of Peter, demented Czar of Russia will either die at his hand or become Empress of Russia by military coup.
Produced by Alexander Korda
Directed by Paul Czinner
Written by Lajos Biro, Melchior Lengyel, Marjorie Deans and Arthur Wimperis
The Actors: Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (Grand Duke Peter), Elisabeth Bergner (Catherine), Flora Robson (Empress Elisabeth), Gerald du Maurier (Lecocq), Irene Vanbrugh (Princess Anhalt-Zerbst), Joan Gardner (Katushienka), Dorothy Hale (Countess Olga), Diana Napier (Countess Vorontzova), Griffith Jones (Grigory Orlov), Gibb McLaughlin (Bestujhev), Clifford Heatherley (Ogarev), Laurence Hanray (Goudovitch), Allan Jeayes (Colonel Karnilov), Heron Carvic (unknown), William Heughan (unknown), Arnold Lucy (unknown)
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Still in Love with that Crazy Husband
On the skin of it this is a historic tale of the rise of Russian Empress Catherine the Great in the mid 1700's to become the longest ruling female Empress of the great Russian empire. But you will enjoy the story more if you forget about the history of the thing and enjoy the story of the women against the men . . . two crazy smart women verses a crazy paranoid man. Great British actress Flora Robson is the Russian leader Empress Elisabeth, and her nephew Grand Duke Peter, played by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. must marry and provide a son to insure that the royal line continues. The gal selected to become the mother of future Russian leaders is Catherine, but Catherine has a problem . . . a big problem . . . she falls in love with Peter . . . but Peter loves every young woman in Russia as often as he can while Catherine is home alone . . . beginning on their wedding night. Peter is also a bit looney . . . did I say a bit looney? . . . he is absolutely bonkers . . . paranoid and delusional crazy . . . but Catherine still loves this rogue. Catherine and Aunt Elisabeth conspire to make Peter fall in love with Catherine, but alas Peter is still looney even when he finally falls in love with Catherine . . . if only for a night. Now the worst thing in the world happens . . . . Aunt Elisabeth, Empress of Russia is dying and demented mad-man Peter is about to become the ruler of the land and Catherine will lose her mentor and best friend. What to do, what to do . . . Is the new Emperor Peter powerful enough to make Catherine's life a living hell . . . is Catherine smart enough to handle the new demented Czar? Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Diana Napier
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Elisabeth Bergner
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Gerald du Maurier
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as Peter the Great, in a mad rage
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Flora Robson and Elisabeth Bergner
Gerald du Maurier
Gibb McLaughlin and Flora Robson