|The Rise of Catherine the Great|
|Directed by||Paul Czinner|
|Produced by|| Alexander Korda |
Ludovico Toeplitz (uncredited)
|Written by|| Marjorie Deans |
|Starring|| Elisabeth Bergner |
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
|Narrated by||Alexander Kerensky|
|Music by|| Ernst Toch (uncredited)|
|Edited by||Stephen Harrison|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
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?".
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.
Variety, in its original 1933 review, summed up the film as having numerous sequences with outstanding "direction, portrayal and dialog," particularly crediting performances by Fairbanks (whose performance they described as one of the best of his career) and Robson, while noting that Bergner was "altogether believable" as the young Catherine.
IMDB.com reports an average viewer rating (by 522 reviewers) of 6.4 points out of 10 possible.New York Times reviewer Dave Kehr described the film as "a handsome but conventional melodrama," but inferior to the contemporaneous rival Catherine biopic The Scarlet Empress (1934) by Josef von Sternberg.
The Guardian's historical films reviewer Alex von Tunzelmann credits the film with both entertainment value (grade: B-) and substantial historical depth and accuracy (grade: B-).
Catherine II, most commonly known as Catherine the Great, was Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796—the country's longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d'état that overthrew her husband and second cousin, Peter III. Under her reign, Russia grew larger, its culture was revitalised, and it was recognized as one of the great powers worldwide.
Peter III was Emperor of Russia for six months in 1762. He was born in Kiel as Charles Peter Ulrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp, the only child of Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, and Anna Petrovna.
Dame Flora McKenzie Robson was an English actress and star of the theatrical stage and cinema, particularly renowned for her performances in plays demanding dramatic and emotional intensity. Her range extended from queens to murderesses.
Zerbst is a town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Until an administrative reform in 2007, Zerbst was the capital of the former Anhalt-Zerbst district.
Orlov is the name of a Russian noble family which produced several distinguished statesmen, scientists, diplomats, and soldiers. The family first gained distinction in the 18th century through the achievements of five Orlov brothers, of whom the second eldest was Catherine the Great's paramour, and two younger brothers were notable military commanders.
The Scarlet Empress is a 1934 American historical drama film made by Paramount Pictures about the life of Catherine the Great. It was directed and produced by Josef von Sternberg from a screenplay by Eleanor McGeary, loosely based on the diary of Catherine arranged by Manuel Komroff.
Gommern is a town in the Jerichower Land district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated approximately 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Magdeburg. On January 1, 2005, the municipalities Dannigkow, Dornburg, Karith, Ladeburg, Leitzkau, Menz, Nedlitz, Vehlitz and Wahlitz have been incorporated into Gommern. On January 1, 2008, Prödel was incorporated, and on January 1, 2009, Lübs was incorporated.
Anhalt-Zerbst was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the House of Ascania, with its residence at Zerbst in present-day Saxony-Anhalt. It emerged as a subdivision of the Principality of Anhalt from 1252 until 1396, when it was divided into the principalities of Anhalt-Dessau and Anhalt-Köthen. Recreated in 1544, Anhalt-Zerbst finally was partitioned between Anhalt-Dessau, Anhalt-Köthen, and Anhalt-Bernburg in 1796 upon the extinction of the line.
Young Catherine is a 1991 British TV miniseries based on the early life of Catherine II of Russia. Directed by Michael Anderson, it stars Julia Ormond as Catherine and Vanessa Redgrave as Empress Elizabeth.
Catherine the Great is a 1995 television movie based on the life of Catherine II of Russia. It stars Catherine Zeta-Jones as Catherine, Jeanne Moreau as Empress Elizabeth and Omar Sharif as Alexis Razumovsky.
Johanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp was a German regent, Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst by marriage to Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, and regent of Anhalt-Zerbst from 1747 to 1752 for her minor son, Frederick Augustus. She is best known as the mother of Catherine the Great of Russia.
Frederick Augustus, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, was a German prince of the House of Ascania and the last ruler of the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst.
Prince Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov (1734–1783) was the favorite of Catherine the Great of Russia. He led the coup which overthrew Catherine's husband Peter III of Russia, and installed Catherine as empress. For some years, he was virtually co-ruler with her, but his repeated infidelities and the enmity of Catherine's other advisers led to his fall from power.
Princess and Margravine Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach was a German princess. She was the daughter of Frederick VII, Margrave of Baden-Durlach and his wife Duchess Augusta Marie of Holstein-Gottorp. She married Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin.
Friederike Auguste Sophie of Anhalt-Bernburg, was a princess consort of Anhalt-Zerbst. She was married to Frederick Augustus, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, and sister-in-law to the Russian Empress Catherine the Great. She was the regent governor of Jever from April 1793 until October 1806.
Catherine the Great is a 1920 German silent historical film directed by Reinhold Schünzel and starring Lucie Höflich, Fritz Kortner, and Fritz Delius. The film was an epic portrayal of the life of Catherine the Great of Russia. 4,000 extras and 500 horses were used.
Ekaterina is a 2014 Russia-1 historical television series starring Marina Aleksandrova as the eventual Russian empress Catherine the Great. The first season tells the story of princess Sophie Friederike Auguste, and her rise to power to become Empress of Russia, following a coup d'état and the assassination of her husband, Peter III. The second season portrays the challenges she faces at home and abroad during the early years of her rule, as she tries to revitalise Russia to become one of the great powers of Europe, and becomes titled "the Great".
Catherine The Great is a 2015 Russian television series starring Yuliya Snigir as Catherine the Great. It was released in November 2015 on Channel One Russia.
Shadow of the Eagle is a 1950 British-Italian historical drama film directed by Sidney Salkow and starring Richard Greene, Valentina Cortese and Greta Gynt. A separate Italian version The Rival of the Empress was released the following year.
Viva Gardes-Marines! or is a 1991 Soviet two-series television film (mini-series), the second of a series of films about Russian Gardes-Marines of the 18th century, directed by Svetlana Druzhinina. It was the sequel to Gardes-Marines, ahead! and was followed by Gardes-Marines-III.