33 thoughts on “WCW: Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia

  1. The Grand Duchesses had to shave their heads because of measles, apparently. Olga and Alexei were outside playing in the snow with a young cadet in January 1917, who unknowingly had measles. The two siblings contracted it, which then spread to the rest of the sisters. The medicine used for treatment caused their hair to slowly fall out. In spring of 1917, they decided to shave all of their head in order to help it regrow faster, and was down to their shoulders by the time they were murdered.

  2. I never connected with Ingrid Bergman in anything. I liked Fall of Eagles due to being a history buff…also N&A. Seems like the Silent Era was a bit “too soon” lol to be filming their story…unless it was before the massacre. Never liked any of the fake Anastasia takes,,,

  3. Tovarischi, I do not watch cinema about traitors to the Russian people. Well, no, it’s just that the only one I’ve seen is the Bergman-Brynner one, and Yul was always worth watching.

  4. I don’t know if a “Man Crush Monday” is appropriate for Rasputin, but can you do a feature about the films about him? He is much more fascinating, both in myth and fact, than the last Czar.

    1. I was thinking this too! His portrayals are really varied too, from the pretty grounded and sympathetic Alan Rickman incarnation to the cartoon which straight-up made him an evil sorcerer.

      1. Of course, Tom Baker played him in Nicholas and Alexandra. I believe that the showrunners of some British science-fiction show saw him in that and thought he’d be good for the lead. Wonder what became of that?

  5. The only one of these I’ve seen is “Rasputin, Dark Servant of Destiny” because…Alan Rickman. I’d like to watch the Amy Irving one; maybe I can catch it on youtube.

  6. Random observations:

    That “ethereal white thing”! Looked great c. 1810, and 1910 as well, especially in formal portraits of the grand duchesses.

    As for “Fall of Eagles,” the DVD format isn’t bad, if a bit faded. Slow paced, in the ’70s manner, but well produced (the costumes!), acted, directed, etc. Patrick Stewart is Lenin, and scary good.

    Kokoshniks: Are they the Russian equivalent of French hoods?

          1. As am I. Somewhere in storage I have some porcelain dolls from Russia… all with kokoshniki and glorious gowns.

  7. By all accounts Anastasia could be a right brat, controllable only by her father. But can one entirely blame her for it? She was growing up in near isolation with constant worry about her sick brother and her sick mother. And Rasputin added a new level of tension since they were supposed to keep his visits secret from the entourage.
    In justice to Rasputin there is NO evidence of any impropriety with the imperial children. Going by their letters to him and their Aunt Olga’s first hand witness the girls and their brother regarded Rasputin as a trusted friend and confidant. The older girls even confided their crushes to him and he gave them very sensible advice, he had two daughters of his own after all.
    Rasputin did a lot of harm but his intentions seem to have been to support the tsar and tsarina.

  8. I just think of the fear the family would have felt, particularly at the end. No one deserves what happened to them. Perhaps that is why there was a desire that one should have survived.

    1. What happened to those children is too tragic to bear. Nicholas and Alexandra didn’t deserve to die but at least they’d actually done something. Their children hadn’t.

  9. I’m glad I’m not the only one who never warmed up to the Bergman film. The costumes are nice, and Bergman and Helen Hays’ scenes together are well acted. It’s just never been a favorite. I should probably see N&A again, although my initial first impression was…not great. I think part of my reservations about it is just how 1970s the girls’ hair is. Rasputin with Alan Rickman was very good, if memory serves. Not a flick, but you should also check out the costumes from the (sadly recently closed) Broadway production of Anastasia. It’s based on the animated movie with more of a historical twist. The costumes were by Linda Cho, and they are gorgeous, even if the red dress Anastasia wears at the end looks more 1950s than 1920s.

  10. Dang, Anastasia the cartoon isn’t the least accurate of the bunch? I’ll ignore the time travel one, thanks for the heads up.

  11. You should review the animated movie and the new Rebecca movie. Also, The Spanish Princess season 2.

  12. The Romanovs also pop up very briefly in the American Horror Story Apocalypse serial (Anastasia and/or some of her sisters are supposedly witches who are trying to save themselves and their family but it all goes wrong when a time travelling witch buggers it all up). It’s quite distressing on several levels, especially the tasteful level one.

    1. Wow, your description sounds like the inspiration for the awful time travel one which apparently came out earlier this year. Yikes.

  13. Hair and make up are often hideous in N&A…never will understand why hair is not presented accurately on film…audiences would have learned to appreciate realism. But especially in the Golden Age, so called, it was all about making the big stars look their best rather than accuracy, even if the hairstyles of that era were pretty awful as we see it now. Eyeliner and blue eye shadow kill me equally to flowing locks and bouffants…

  14. Anastasia and her entire family are now saints of the Russian Orthodox Church making fantasies about her ever so slightly blasphemous.

  15. I have a soft spot for Depardieu that I’ve never quite understood but I think I’ve worked it out – he reminds me very much of fish from Marillion, not to look at so much but also how they move, and I adore Marillion. Wow, deep!

  16. And now I have that awful Rasputin song stuck in my head again… Damnit. My vote goes for the 1996 Rasputin. Rickman and Ian McKellen, for the win.

  17. There is a series on Amazon Prime called The Romanovs, and one episode focuses on the last days of the tsar and family.

  18. Some of these sound fascinating. I’m in the zone affected by the power outage so I am on data and can’t load all the pictures.

    Your remarks on the taste factor of this year’s are right on. Of course I doubt most people have seen it, but apparently Russian internet found out about it and was (quite understandably) offended. Americans trying to tell Russian stories often get things wrong, but this one struck a nerve.. someone said it’d be like making a light time travel fantasy of 9/11, and given how seared into the national consciousness the tragedy is, I don’t blame them.

  19. Also, I do like Russian Ark, but you have to go in not expecting much plot. Just think of it as like a song or a painting trying to capture something, but not like an essay or a story. I think it’s easier to grasp for Russians, because it’s hardening to elements of their history and culture they know but also have a barrier reaching due to the effects of time, the revolution, etc.

  20. I’d like to see the story behind why King George V first offered them refuge in England but then turned around and refused. Was it purely his decision, was it political pressure or something else.

    1. Given the nature of the English constitution and it’s limits on the monarch the decision was definitely not George’s alone. Nicholas had a terrible reputation as an oppressive ruler among the liberal and enlightened, who weren’t in fact wrong. The government and king came to believe offering the Imperial Family asylum would offend a large swath of english opinion and endanger the monarchy. In fact it’s unlikely to the point of impossible that Nicholas and family would have been allowed to leave under any circumstances.

    2. There were definitely political reasons why the offer was refused in the end. The book “King Kaiser Czar – Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War” by Catherine Clay makes that clear.

  21. I was expecting someone to point that the dapper guy from 1928 is Walter Pidgeon in Much Pre-Greer Garson time hehe
    The 1956 Lilli Palmer is more commendable for acting and even storyline but i don’t think it’s very costume wise it is supposed to pass through the early 1920’s (when Anna tries to commit suicide) to the 1930’s (i guess) and a prologue in 1956, i like it i watched it with subtitles after a extensive search but it’s far from being very glamourous interestin Ivan Desny was in both 1956 movies kkk
    Also isn’t the actress playing Empress Alexandra in Lost Prince and Grigory R the same??

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