18 March 2012 | ma-cortes
Biopic shot in Spain about the last Russian Czar with historical detail , luxurious sets and outstanding acting
Historical film correctly based on real events about Russian CZar Nicholas II (Michael Jayston , though press reports at time of pre-production said that Rex Harrison) , wife (first cinema film of Janet Suzman , and Audrey Hepburn and Vanessa Redgrave considered to play Alexandra) and sons Aleksey Nikolaeyvitch Romanov (Roderic Noble was chosen due to his resemblance) , Anastasia (Fiona Fullerton who had an interesting career as teen) , Tatiana (Lynne Frederick who subsequently married and inherited to Peter Sellers but she died early) . Czar Nicholas II, the inept monarch of Russia , insensitive to the needs of his country , is overthrown and exiled to Siberia with his family . In the film appears several historic personages as Kerenski (John McEnery) , The Queen Mother Marie Fedorovna (Irene Worth) , Trostki (film debut of Brian Cox) , Lenin (Michael Bryant) , Stalin (Hizeldine) , Rasputin (it was Laurence Olivier who first suggested Tom Baker to be cast and Peter O'Toole was asked to play Rasputin) , he was killed by Prince Yussoupov (Martin Potter)
This overlong film contains drama , emotion and notorious deeds dealing with the over-detailed depiction of happenings preceding Russian Revolution until the deaths of Czar and family . Gorgeous sets and spectacular production design by John Box and Gil Parrondo ; being mostly filmed in Spain , as the Royal Palace of Madrid . It's marvellously photographed by Freddie Young in magnificence color . Evocative and sensitive musical score by Richard Rodney Bennnett . The picture is well directed by Franklin J. Schaffner . He directed excellent motion pictures as "The Planet of the Apes", "Patton," "Papillon", ¨"Nicholas and Alexandra", after the flop of his film titled " Islands in the Stream ", in which went on to coincide with the actor of "Patton," George C. Scott, decided to embark on a project more commercial and successful as "The Boys From Brazil" , however ¨Sphinx¨ ,¨Lionheart¨, ¨Si Giorgio¨were others flops . Rating : Better than average , worthwhile watching
The picture based on facts , it begins when Japan's own territorial ambitions on the Chinese and Asian mainland. Russia is involved in a costly war with Japan over the Korean peninsula and the Czar rejects all recommendations that he bring the war to an end. War began in 1904 with a surprise Japanese attack on the Russian fleet in Port Arthur, without formal declaration of war and Russia is defeated by Japan . The Romanovs (Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman) are absolute rulers, among the last of their kind in Europe, living in luxury while the vast majority of Russians live in absolute poverty and take place revolts . As on January 1905 , Gapon (Julian Glover) began his march . Locking arms, the workers marched peacefully through the streets. Some carried religious icons and banners, as well as national flags and portraits of the Tsar. As they walked they sang religious hymns and the Imperial anthem, 'God Save The CZar'. All of the converging processions were scheduled to arrive at the Winter Palace . Throughout the city, the marchers found their way blocked by lines of infantry, backed by Cossacks and Hussars; and the soldiers opened fire on the crowd . The official number of victims was 92 dead and several hundred wounded. By the time of Stolypin (Eric Porter)'s assassination by Dmitry Bogrov, a student in a theatre in Kiev on 18 September 1911, Stolypin had grown weary of the burdens of office . Because of the fragility of the autocracy at this time, Nicholas and Alexandra chose not to divulge Alexei's condition to anyone outside the royal household. In fact, there were many in the Imperial household who were unaware of the exact nature of the Tsarevich's illness. At first Alexandra turned to Russian doctors and medics to treat Alexei; however, their treatments generally failed, and Alexandra increasingly turned to mystics and holy men . One of these was an illiterate Siberian , Grigori Rasputin (Tom Baker) , appeared to have some success. Rasputin's influence over Empress Alexandra, and consequently the Tsar, had grown stronger ever since 1912, when the Tsarevich nearly died from an injury while the family was on vacation at the hunting lodges at Bialowieza and Spala ,now part of Poland . The Czar's decision, against advice, to authorize a general mobilization in 1914 leads to disaster on the front . As the government failed to produce supplies, there was mounting hardship creating massive riots and rebellions. With Nicholas away at the front in 1915, authority appeared to collapse , while Empress Alexandra ran the government from Petrograd from 1915 , and the capital was left in the hands of strikers and mutineering conscript soldiers . At the end of the "February Revolution" of 1917 , Nicholas II chose to abdicate . He firstly abdicated in favour of Tsarevich Alexei, but swiftly changed his mind after advice from doctors that the heir-apparent would not live long apart from his parents who would be forced into exile .The abdication of Nicholas II and the subsequent Bolshevik revolution brought three centuries of the Romanov dynasty's rule to an end. The fall of autocratic Tsardom brought joy to Liberals and Socialists in Britain and France and made it possible for the United States of America, the first foreign government to recognise the Provisional government, to enter the war early in April fighting in an alliance of democracies against an alliance of empires. In Russia, the announcement of the Tsar's abdication was greeted with many emotions . However , revolutionaries abound and the rise of the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin (Michael Bryant) and Trotsky (Brian Cox) , slowly begin to gain an advantage . Before the year is out the Bolsheviks will be in power and the Romanovs in custody. In Siberia takes places the eventual execution of the entire family - the Czar, Czarina, four daughters and one son - in July 1918.