33 thoughts on “WCW: Empress Alexandra of Russia

  1. Janet Suzman and Greta Sacchi are my favourites. Ingeborga Dapkunaite played Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna and probably has never played Alix. The Mathilde travesty movie had fairly good – B+ to A- range of Court gowns and actually cast a strawberry blonde as Alix. The Tsarina did gave that colour of hair.

  2. I watched The Last Czars and was shocked by what I saw. I wasn’t expecting scenes of full on orgies and Nicholas and Alexandra have sex basically anywhere and everywhere. I don’t think it really helped improve Alexandra’s image of her obsession with Rasputin.

    1. Nicholas and Alexandra had a passionate marriage, they were very much in love and stayed in love to the bitter end, but as far as we know they kept their sexy times in the bedroom.

  3. Re “Rasputin and the Empress” (1932), while Lionel plays Rasputin, the elegant man in the first photo is their brother John Barrymore, who plays Prince Chegodieff.

    1. Was about to say something. Lionel loved chewing scenery, so he was a natural for Rasputin. John liked playing against his good looks, but he’s definitely Prince Paul here, a composite figure who helps assassinate Rasputin. Ethel was a good choice for Alexandra; she did dignity well. (Alexandra always struck me as a depressive who would have been better off moving to England to be with her mother’s family.)

      All these Alexandras! I hadn’t realized there were so many tragic-Romanov productions. I still like the “Fall of Eagles” Romanov family best. Kind of static but absorbing.

    1. Before it was used by the Nazis, the swastika was used by American Indigenous people and it’s also an ancient Christian symbol.

      1. It was also fairly commonly used throughout Europe and in the U.S. right up until the point Nazis started making it an infamous symbol of hatred and genocide.

        About 30 years ago, I saw an article on an artist who had researched the pre-Nazi use of the symbol and I was stunned at pictures of mundane things like girl’s school sports teams wearing matching swastika sweaters.

        It then had no negative connotations and was frequently used simply as a “good luck” symbol, and it was pretty widespread, even on greeting cards and the like.

        At the time the film was being made, a woman in the U.S. could apparently still wear a swastika pendant like that without anyone blinking.

        1. As a fellow Eastern European I can confirm the symbol dates back to ancient times. It’s meaning has to do with the sun and its developing powers, but again there is a trick – whether it’s going clockwise or counter-clockwise it can either be a symbol of creative energy or destruction. It was used since Tracians in our lands, and it’s origin may date even before this.
          Given the age of the movie – why not, they couldn’t foresee the future. Who knows in a few years which symbol will become obsolete and inappropriate and unintendingly we are wearing it right now.

    2. If I remember correctly, Alexandra took to the clockwise symbol and had many iterations of it displayed in her mauve room for reasons likely due to her deep religious or superstitious beliefs. I give that necklace an A+ for accuracy, though I do not blame more modern filmmakers for omitting the symbol postwar.

    3. The swastika has a long and interesting history in mysticism and many religions. In India you will see it painted and carved into furniture and door frames and temples, etc.

  4. Did you know that Tom Baker (the Forth Doctor) was Rasputin in the stage version of Nicholas and Alexandra when he was added to the short list for Jon Pertwee’s replacement?
    …it always seems so incongruous to me
    .
    And I’ve seen the Alan Rickman Rasputin (because Alan Rickman, obvs). It was solidly done, but I wasn’t watching the costuming in it….alas

  5. In addition, the swastika was an ancient religious symbol used by many religions in Eurasia. I’m sure in this case it has something to do w/ rasputins mysticism and influence over her.

  6. That big honking crown bears a strong resemblance to a real imperial diadem but I I’m pretty sure it’s out of proportion.
    Alexandra had some issues, her shyness verged on pathological and while there seems to have been some organic disease her ill health was definitely related to stress. Both she and Nicholas were introverts and being very much in love they preferred to cocoon with their children isolating themselves.
    Rasputin was neither mad nor a monk. In today’s language he was Alexandra and Nicholas’s personal guru. All indications are he was genuinely loyal to the imperial couple but completely unfit to be a political advisor. His sexual morals were definitely peccable but there is no evidence he ever misbehaved with Alexandra or the children. The grand duchesses confided their adolescent crushes to Rasputin and he gave them some very sensible advice. His influence was immensely destructive but only because Nicholas and Alexandra let him.

  7. I have no great love for the Romanovs. They’re the reason my great-grandparents came to America. Think “Fiddler on the Roof” without the music but a happier ending. And yes one could say Alexandra wasn’t exactly the best spouse for a monarch on the brink of revolution. But honestly I don’t know who could have pulled Nicholas’s head out of his butt. Eleanor Roosevelt, maybe? I do admit, the “court dress” is pretty.

    1. Not even Eleanor, and I love E.R. Re. Roxana’s comment: I think she sums up the Rasputin-Romanov situation very well.

  8. “The Last Tsars” was one of the weirdest things I’d ever seen. The bearskin rug scene? Did NOT need.

  9. The lighting and set for “The Tsar’s Conspiracy” looks like the one from the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

  10. I observe that ‘Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny’ is currently on youtube. I may watch it, because Alan Rickman.

  11. You left a few out like Isa Miranda in Raspoutine (1954) and Isabel Dean in Rasputin 1971 and Fanny Ardant in Rasputin 2011 also in I Killed Rasputin I suppose you didn’t find much right? Therefore you put some young Geraldine Chaplin in the place
    I’ve been waiting for this for quite a long time did a terrific job Kendra, had some I didn’t even heard about

  12. I studied in Darmstadt, Alexandra’s birthplace. There is a Russian Orthodox chapel in the city, that the couple had built for when they were in the city visiting family. The rumor is that it’s built on “Russian soil”, as in imported dirt, transported from Russia.

    1. She was christened “Alix”. Her mother Alice, daughter of Queen Victoria, felt that the locals mangled her name, so she chose a variant where the proniunciation was clear in the local German dialect.

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