Sunday, April 18, 2021

GRIGORI RASPUTIN In Motion Pictures: Conrad Veidt, The Barrymore's, Christopher Lee, Tom Baker, Alan Rickman and Others

An interesting personality prior to the Russian Monarchy's fall was Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin and his seemingly mystic control of the Empress Alexandra. Over the years there would be many motion pictures on the subject of the Monk who held sway over the most powerful woman in Russia. This is a look at a few of those films, but starting with a little background on the real Rasputin.

Above a very rare color photograph of Григорий Ефимович Распутин (Gigori Yefimovich Rasputin)


Rasputin was born in the peasant village of Pokrovskoye, located along the Tura River, in the Tobolsk Govemorate, present day Thymen Oblast, in Siberia. The date under the old style Russian calendar was January 9, 1869, but under the present day calendar, the date becomes January 29, 1869. The boy was Christened and named for "Saint Gregory of Nyssa" on January 10, 1869, old style calendar.

The above photograph was taken in 1912. 

His father was Yefim Rasputin, a peasant farmer, born in 1842 in Pokrovskoye, and was also a church elder. His mother was Anna Parshukova and she married Yefim in 1863. The couple had another seven children, but all died in childhood. Stories persist that there may have been a ninth child, a girl named Feodosiya. Whom Grigori became the Godfather to her children. However, according to historian Douglas Smith, in his 2016 work, "Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanov's", although there are many stories of Grigori's youth. No real records exist of this period to actually confirm them. 

What we do know as fact, is that in 1886, Rasputin traveled to the town of Abalak, a rural settlement, located now in the Tobolsky District, Tyumen Oblast. There Grigori courted for several months a peasant girl named, Praskoyva Dubrovina. They would be married in February 1887, and have seven children, but only three survived into adulthood. Praskoyva would remain faithful to her husband throughout his travels, while in the Romanov court, and until his death. The family lived with Grigori's father.

Above a photo of Grigori Rasputin with three of his children. Which of the seven these are, I could not locate.

In 1897, Rasputin developed a renewed interest in religion and left his wife of ten years, one child and one on the way, and made a spiritual pilgrimage. There are many stories about his reasons and none can really be confirmed. Although, several revolve around the mythos that was to develop later in life and after his death.

Whatever the true reason, when he returned home, Grigori was a changed man. He had sworn off alcohol, was now a vegetarian, and prayed more than anyone ever saw him do.


The next few years saw Rasputin leaving his family for more religious pilgrimages. Again, there are stories within stories and speculation around the facts, but, what those facts are is another question altogether.

What is confirmed, is that by 1900, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin had a small religious following. One of the persistent rumors was that he had joined the "Khlysts". An underground religious sect that had split from the Russian Orthodox Church back in the 1600's and survived into the beginnings of the 1900's. Again, this was never truly proven, but added to Rasputin's mystical story.

At some point in either late 1904, or early 1905, Grigori Rasputin traveled to the city of Kazan, the capitol city of the Republic of Tatarstan. At this time, he developed a very high reputation as an "Elder of the Eastern Orthodox Church". Even though the stories of him having sex with his female followers was spreading. Whatever, the truth, the Archbishop Andrei recommended Grigori to Bishop Sergei, the rector of the "St. Petersburg Theological Seminary", located within the Alexander Nevsky Monastery", and paid his travel expenses to go there. At the Seminary, Grigori Rasputin was introduced to the powerful Archbishop Theofan. Who became his mentor and introduced the Monk to Russian society. 

Above, Archbishop Theofan, in the center, and Grigori Rasputin, to his right. Rasputin was involved with the alternative religious movements of spiritualism and theosophy (occultism).

On November 1, 1905, Rasputin was first introduced to Tsar Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov II, at the "Peterhof Palace". The Tsar's diary  contains the following entry:

made the acquaintance of a man of God – Grigory, from Tobolsk province

Below the "Peterhof Palace". 


Rasputin would return to his home in Pokrovskoye in July 1906.

As to when Grigori Yefimovitch Rasputin was introduced to the Tsar and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna as a healer is debatable. Some sources state it was also on November 1, 1905. Others, July 18, 1906, and some speculate it wasn't until October of the year

Whatever, the correct date, at some point Rasputin became aware of the Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaaevich Romanov's hemophilia. The boy was born on August 12,1904, on the new calendar, or July 30, 1904, on the old style. Alexi was the youngest of the five Romanov children and the only boy. Making him the heir to the throne. The disease came from Alexi's mother's side of the family and only affecting the males, It had been past to the Tsarina from Alexandra's maternal grandmother, Queen Victoria of England.

It would be Alexi's parent's belief that faith healing could cure their son. That would lead to Grigori Rasputin's control of the Empress and, through her, the Royal family.

Above, Tsar Nicholas II and below Tsarina Alexandra.

Below, Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaaevich 

On July 12, 1914, new calendar, a 33 years old peasant woman, Khioniya Kuzminichnna Guseva, attempted to assassinate Rasputin by stabbing him in the stomach. She was a follower of another monk, who had taken the name of Iliodor, see the first motion picture below. 


In December, 1916, a major plot to assassinate Grigori Rasputin was hatched by Prince Felix Yusupov, the Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich and a right-wing politician, Vladimir Purishkevich. The plotters believed Rasputin had too much influence over Tsarina Alexandra and was detrimental to the Russian Empire.

Above, Prince Felix Yusupov, below, Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich

Below, Vladimir Purishkevich

On December 30, 1916, the new calendar, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, was murdered at Prince Yusupov's home. He died from three gun shot wounds, one. was a close-range shot to his forehead.

On March 8, 1917, the Russian Revolution began! According to Chief Executioner and Bolshevik Officer, Yakov Yurovsky. On the night of July 17, 1918, the new calendar, the royal family was executed.

Above, Yakov Yurovsky, and below, the Royal Family.

Left to right, Olga, Maria, Nicholas II, Alexandra, Fyodorovna, Anastasia, Alexi and Tataina in 1913. The rumors, that somehow Anastasia survived the execution, made an interesting tale and I will address that later. 



The titles of the Royal Family and other persons names. Are presented as a particular motion picture screenplay has them.

THE FALL OF THE ROMANOV'S that premiered, in New York City, on September 23, 1917

This was the first motion picture about Rasputin and the Romanov's. Two interesting points about this feature film. The first is it included Sergei Michailovich Trufanov as himself. In 1903. Trufanov was ordained in the Russian Church under the name of "Iliodor". During 1906, Iliodor and Rasputin were close friends and traveled together.

Left to right, Rasputin, Bishop Hermogen and Iliodor.

In 1912, Ilidor renounced the Russian Orthodox Church and was defrocked. In 1914, after Khioniya Kuzminichnna Guseva's assassination attempt upon Rasputin, Sergei Trufanov fled to Norway, because Grigori Rasputin, rightly, believed he was involved in the assassination attempt. In June, 1916, Trufanov came to New York City.

The other interesting thing about this picture, is that its Producer and Director, Herbert Brenon, wanted to keep his film up to date. So, even after its initial release. Brenon kept adding footage and eventually in October, 1918, added scenes of the execution of the Romanov family.

Above, Alfred Hickman as "Tsar Nicholas II", Nance O'Neil as "Empress Alexandra" and Edward Connelly as "Rasputin".

The story takes place prior to the start of the Russian Revolution and the end of Rasputin's influence on the Empress. As I mentioned, the story line kept changing, and the film's running time expanding, as events in Russia actually took place. In any form, this motion picture is considered a "Lost Film". 

Nance O'Neil had a relationship with "40 whacks" murderess Lizzy Borden. According to the gossip they were also lovers.

Next came two German motion pictures from 1928.


The motion picture turned Rasputin into a sympathetic peasant. Who was being exploited by the "boorish upper classes". The Tsar and Tsarina learn of Rasputin's "miracles" and elevated him to their spiritual adviser. His control over Nicholas and Alexandra grows and members of the Russian hierarchy plot his assassination. As a means of freeing the Royal family from Rasputin's control.

The role of "Rasputin" was portrayed by Nikolai Malikoff, seen in the above poster. Of note is that Max Schreck cast as the fictional "Nikolai Nikolajewitch".  Schreck will always be known for his portrayal of the vampire in 1922's "Nosferatu". An unauthorized version of Bram Stoker's "Dracula". Apparently, per the cast listing, there was no actor playing either the Tsar or the Tsarina.


What makes this film interesting, is that it was a German and Russian co-production. Because of this, the film was shot in, or close to the actual places the events took place. The portrayal of Rasputin was completely opposite the earlier German release. 

Members of what had been the Russian Royalty under the Tsar Nicholas, but who were still living in Russia. Became the main financiers of the feature. The screenplay reflected their own hatred of Grigori Rasputin. He becomes a sexually promiscuous alcoholic with other abhorrent manners.  

As the earlier film, the cast listing does not indicate any actor portraying members of the royal family.

Next came a third German motion picture.

RASPUTIN, DAMON DER FRAUEN (RASPUTIN, DEMON WITH WOMEN) released in Germany on February 19, 1932

Immediately, lovers of silent German Horror films recognize the name Conrad Veidt, on the above poster, portraying "Rasputin". Veidt portrayed the somnambulist "Cesare" in the 1920 classic "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari". He was also seen in Universal Pictures, 1928 production, of Victor Hugo's "The Man Who Laughs", and 1942's, "Casablanca", starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart.

In this feature, Hermine Sterler portrayed the "Zarin Alexandra" and, Paul Otto portrayed "Zar Nikolaus II, Romanov".


Above Conrad Veidt with Kenny Rieve as "Zarewitsch Alioscha" (Alexi)".

In the tradition of Hollywood fiction based upon real people came:

RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS that premiered in New York City, on December 23, 1932. The year of the films release is often moved to 1933, because the General Audience released wasn't until March 24, 1933

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer big budgeted release was Directed by Richard Boleslawski. Beside this picture were his 1935, "Clive of India", starring Ronald Coleman and Loretta Young. The same years, classic, "Les Miserables", starring Fredrick March and Charles Laughton. Along with the original 1936 version, prior to John Ford's classic, of "The Three Godfathers", starring Wayne Morris, Lewis Stone and Walter Brennan.

The screenplay was by Charles MacArthur. MacArthur turned a Rudyard Kipling poem into a story outline that became the screenplay for the Cary Grant, Victor McLagen and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., classic 1939 motion picture, "Gunga Din". Also, in 1939, was his screenplay for the Lawrence Olivier, Merle Oberon  and David Niven version of Emily Bronte's, "Wuthering Heights", Directed by William Wyler. 

However, Charles MacArthur's screenplay led to a major lawsuit against MGM. This was over the inaccurate portrayal of Prince Felix Yusupov, as the renamed "Prince Chegodief", and his wife, the Princess Irina, as the renamed "Princess Natasha". The result of the lawsuit, besides monetary, was from that decision forward. Motion pictures would have to inform the audience that the feature contained: 
All persons fictitious

 or a variation of those words.

The Main Cast

As stated, on the above poster, the MGM Publicity Department had a field day with the first, and only, motion picture to feature the three Barrymore siblings together. All three were known stars of the legitimate stage, silent, and now sound motion pictures.

Ethel Barrymore portrayed the "Czarina Alexandra". Ethel first appeared on the motion picture screen in 1914, but by 1932, she was still appearing mainly on her first love, the legitimate stage. It wouldn't be until 1944, that Ethel Barrymore made her next motion picture, "None But the Lonely Heart", co-starring Cary Grant and Barry Fitzgerald. Then it would be another two years, before the Horror Mystery, 1946's, "The Spiral Staircase", starring Dorothy McGuire and George Brent, and her actual motion picture career began in earnest.

Lionel Barrymore portrayed "Grigori Yefimovitch Rasputin". Lionel started his motion picture career in a 1905 short and really never returned to the legitimate stage. In 1928, he co-starred with Lon Chaney, Sr. in Director Tod Browning's "West of Zanzibar". In 1929, he portrayed Jules Verne's "Prince Dakkar" aka: "Captain Nemo" in "The Mysterious Island". It was partially filmed in color and started in 1926 as a silent film, but would have sound scenes added to make it a transitional hybrid. I look at that picture and others in my article, "Captain Nemo Motion Picture Star" at:

John Barrymore portrayed "Prince Paul Chegodieff". Among "The Great Profile's" movies are, 1920's, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", 1922's, "Sherlock Holmes", 1926's, "The Sea Beast", as "Captain Abhab" and the sound remake, 1930's, "Moby Dick".  Then another classic, 1931's, "Svengali".

Ralph Morgan portrayed "Czar Nicholai Alexander".  Morgan had been acting since 1911, and was always getting confused with his brother Frank, 1939's, "The Wizard of Oz". Ralph was a solid character actor and while his brother was in "Oz". Among seven 1939 features, saw Ralph portray "Stephen F. Austin" in Richard Dix's "Man of Conquest". In 1940, Morgan was in the Basil Rathbone, Ellen Drew and John Howard, Thriller, "The Mad Doctor", and in 1942, Ralph Morgan was "The Night Monster".

Diana Wynyard portrayed "Princess Natasha". Wynyard was one of the major British legitimate stage actresses at the time. "Rasputin and the Empress" was her first feature film. In 1937, she starred as "Desdemona" in an early U.K. live television production of William Shakespeare's "Othello". Portraying the title role, was the future Sir Ralph Richardson. In 1940, Diana Wynyard was in the overlooked and forgotten original U.K. version of "Gaslight", co-starring Anton Walbrook. The movie would be forever, overshadowed, by the 1944 version, staring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman.

Above, Diana Wynyard and John Barrymore.

Returning to that lawsuit. It was filed by the real Princess Irina Yusupov, one of the actual murderers of 
Grigori Rasputin, at the time living in France. Her lawyer was the legitimate stage and motion picture pioneering female lawyer, Fanny Holtzmann.

Above, the real Princess Irina Yusupov.

The motion picture implied that she was a rape victim of Rasputin, which never happened. There were two monetary settlements. In an English Court, the Princess was awarded $127,373, and there was an additional out-of-court settlement with MGM of $250,000. The total at the time of this writing would equate to $7,244,845. Additionally, MGM had to remove the scene of the rape from the all prints and this caused audience confusion over the character as the story progressed.

The Story:

The "Czar" and the "Empress" are unaware that a revolution is brewing, but "Prince Paul" knows and is very concerned over the plight of the common people. The heir to the throne, "Prince Alexi", played by Tad Alexander, is beloved of the people, but has hemophilia and falls causing a life threatening emergency. The royal physician, "Dr. Remezov", played by Edward Arnold, can't stop the bleeding. "Prince Paul" and his wife, "Natasha" suggest the monk "Rasputin", a known healer, to the royal couple. "Rasputin" is sent for and out of sight of "Nicholas" and "Alexander", he hypnotizes the young "Czarevitch" and stops his pain. 

"Rasputin" next convinces "Alexandra" he was sent by God to heal the boy. 

What is not known, is that over these sessions, "Rasputin" is bending "Alexi's" will to his control.

With a false sense that "Rasputin" is helping their son cause "Alexandra", or "Nicholas" not to believe otherwise. "Grigori Rasputin" starts to replace those in the court actually loyal to the Royal Family with his own followers. Thereby, consolidating his control over the unsuspecting Czar and Czarina, and by them, Russia itself.

"Prince Paul" fears what "Rasputin" is attempting to do will lead to the downfall of Russia and the Monarchy. However, even his wife "Natasha" believes in "Rasputin". but even so. "Paul" attempts an assassination, but it fails. As the monk was wearing a steel breastplate that stops the bullet. "Nicholas", believing fully in the good of "Grigori Rasputin", forces "Prince Paul Chegodieff" to resign his position at the Royal Court.  

Germany now issues an ultimatum to stop building up the Russian army over the crisis between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. Over this issue, "Nicholas" and his Advisors are divided, but enter "Rasputin". He convinces "Nicholas" to reject the Germans and on July 28, 1914, the First World War starts.

"Rasputin" now makes advances toward the "Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov", played by Jean Parker.  Below, "Alexi" and his sister "Maria" in "Rasputin and the Empress".

Below, the real "Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov" in 1914. At the time of the scene in the motion picture, she would have been 15 years old,

"Natasha" become furious at "Rasputin" and threatens to go to the Empress about his advances toward the "Princess Maria". Before she can do this, "Rasputin" over powers her. He starts to put "Natasha" in a hypnotic trance, but the Empress enters the room. Her entrance breaks the trance and allows "Natasha" to tell her what she has seen.

"Rasputin" cannot break the faith the Empress has in "Natasha" and brags that he is now, effectively, the real Russian Czar. "Alexandra" and "Natasha" leave and the Empress goes to "Prince Paul". She informs him about "Rasputin" and the other states he knows what to do.

A big party takes place with "Grigori Rasputin" as the guest of honor. However, he recognizes one of the servants, who brought him his favorite small cakes, as being "Paul's" servant and becomes suspicious. The Monk now orders his men to search the house and they find both "Prince Paul" and "Dr. Remezov". At gunpoint, "Rasputin" takes "Prince Paul" to the cellar so that he can personally kill his "greatest enemy". 

In the cellar, "Prince Paul" starts to taunt "Grigori Rasputin", by telling him the cakes he ate were full of poison. "Paul" leaps at "Rasputin" and a struggle begins, but the Monk just refuses to die. 

Covered in blood, "Rasputin" gets up from the floor shouting that if he dies, Russia will die. "Paul" grabs the Monk, drags him outside in the snow, and tosses "Rasputin" into the river watching him drown.

The film ends with "Rasputin's" prophecy to "Prince Paul" coming true. As the Russian Revolution breaks out and the Bolsheviks execute the entire Romanov family.

One would think that the story of Grigori Rasputin would be a very serious subject. However, one overlooks Rudolf Carl Ising who was both the Director and main animator to Warner Brothers studios "Merrie Melodies" cartoon series.

WAKE UP THE GYPSY IN ME released May 13, 1933

The black and white cartoon opens in a happy Russian village with the villagers dancing and singing. 

However, there is the Mad Monk "Rice-Puddin", a very obvious caricature of Grigori Rasputin.

"Rice-Puddin'" eyes an underage village girl and has her kidnapped. 

"Rice-Puddin'" starts to force himself on the girl, but the villagers revolt and save her.

Returning to live action was:

LA TRAGEDIE IMPERIALE (THE IMPERIAL TRAGEDY) aka: RASPUTIN released in France on January 28, 1938

Above, Harry Bauer as "Rasputine (Rasputin)" and Carine Nelson as "Ania Kitina".

I could not locate a specific story line other than its follows "Grigori Rasputin's" rise and his fall. The following are stills from the motion picture. The first still, far right, shows co-star Marcelle Chantal as "Tsarine Alexandra" and Jean Worms as Tsar Nicholas II".

The following still has a sailor holding "Alexi", but looking on several cast lists. I could not locate the name of the young actor portraying him.

There is a website, "", that has incorrectly stated the above stills are from the 1954 French motion picture I will mention next. I make this statement with confidence, because all the stills have the names of the two leading actors, on them, from the 1938 motion and neither is in the 1954 feature.

RASOUTINE (RASPUTIN) released in France on July 19, 1954

Once again all I could locate about the screenplay was that it's about Rasputin's rise to power and fall. However, in this version, it is the fictional, "La Princesse Dikvona", played by Denise Grey, that introduces "Gregory Lefimovich Raspoutine", played by Pierre Brasseur, to the "La Tsarine Alexandra", played by Isa Miranda, and "Le Tsar Nicholas II", played by Robert Burnier.

The next version of the "Rasputin" story was a French and Italian co-production that featured another member of the Barrymore family. The feature had four titles, one for France, one for Italy and two for the English language countries.

For Italy the film was entitled:

L'ULTIMO ZAR (THE LAST TSAR) released in Italy on May 12, 1960

For France the film was entitled:

LES NUITS DE RASPOUTINE (RASPUTIN NIGHTS) released in France on July 29, 1960

For the English language release the title, like many French and Italian movies of the period, depended upon where you lived, because there were three basic ones.

Edmund Purdom portrayed "Grigori Rasputin". Purdom was a British actor and among his work were Joseph L. Mankiewicz's, 1953, version of William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", starring Louis Calhern, Marlon Brando and James Mason. Director Michael Curtiz's, 1954, "The Egyptian", starring Victor Mature and Jean Simmons, 1955's, "The King's Thief", co-starring Ann Blyth and David Niven, 1959's, "Herod the Great", and 1960's, "The Cossacks", with John Drew Barrymore and Giorgia Moll.

Gianna Maria Canale portrayed "Czarina Alexandra". Canale was a popular Italian actress in Peplum (Sword and Sandal) films and Historic features. Among her work is the three hour and ten-minute, 1955, French epic, "Napoleon". 1n 1960, the actress co-starred with Rod Taylor in "Colossus and the Amazon Queen". 1961, Gianna Maria Canale co-starred with Gordon Scott in "Goliath and the Vampires" and she co-starred in 1962's, "The Slave: the Son of Spartacus", starring Steve Reeves.

John Drew Barrymore portrayed "Prince Felix Yousoupoff". He was the son of John and father of Drew, but to me he was one under appreciated actor. He made Westerns with Robert Preston and George C. Scott, appeared in forgotten motion pictures with Russ Tamblyn and Steve McQueen. However, it were those 1960's Peplum and Historical films, like this one, from Italy, that I loved in my teens. My article, "A Fan Remembers the Films of JOHN DREW BARRYMORE", is available to read at:

Above left to right, Jany Clair, Edmund Purdom and John Drew Barrymore

Jany Clair portrayed "Irina Yousoupoff". Among Clair's films are 1959's "Legions of the Nile", starring Linda Cristal as "Cleopatra". The Italian Science Fiction film, 1962's, "The Planets Around Us", 1963's, "Conquest of Mycene", starring Gordon Scott, and the 1964 Spaghetti Western, "The Road to Fort Alamo"

This is actually a superior version of the events compared to the two French productions that proceeded it and 1932's, "Rasputin and the Empress". The picture concentrates on the plot to murder Rasputin and "Prince Felix Yousoupoff (Yusupov)". Rather than attempting to give a history of "Grigori Rasputin's" life and basically starts when it appears "Alexi" is cured.

Now came the United Kingdom's "House of Hammer" to tell their version of the story.

RASPUTIN THE MAD MONK released in the United Kingdom on March 6, 1966

The screenplay by Anthony Hinds, if he wrote it at all, was loosely based upon Prince Felix Yusupov's own account and than fictionalized. Other than the Royal Family, the main people involved are left out including the Prince, but in typical Hammer Films fashion. This is a very good motion picture.

I said, if Hinds, son of Hammer Films founder William Hinds, wrote it, because he was known to pay others to write a screenplay and then place his name, or Tony Hinds and John Elder, on the screenplay and film credits. He used John Elder on this picture.

The picture was filmed immediately after, 1966's, "Dracula: Prince of Darkness", using the same sets, and starring the four stars of the "Dracula" feature film.

Christopher Lee portrayed "Grigori Rasputin". He would appear in two more 1966 releases, "Circus of Fear" aka: Psycho-Circus" and ""The Brides of Fu Manchu". In the November 2002 issue of "Fangoria", Lee said of this role:

The only way you can present him is the way he was historically described. He was a lecher and a drunk, and definitely had healing powers. So he was a saint and a sinner... There were very few good sides to him. Rasputin is one of the best things I’ve done.

Barbara Shelley portrayed the fictional "Sonia". Besides, "Dracula: Prince of Darkness", in 1966, Shelley was seen on the American television programs, "The Donna Reed Show" and "The Wackiest Ship in the Army". Along with three British television shows.

My article, "BARBARA SHELLEY: Hammer Pictures Horror Queen". will be found at:

Francis Matthews portrayed the fictional "Ivan Kesnikoff". Matthews other films, besides the 1966, "Dracula", included Hammer's sequel to 1957's "The Curse of Frankenstein". 1958's, "The Revenge of Frankenstein" co-starring with Peter Cushing and that same years. "Corridors of Blood", starring Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee. However, Matthews main work was on British television between 1958 and "Dracula: Prince of Darkness".

Suzan Farmer portrayed the fictional "Vanessa". Farmer split her work between British television and motion pictures. Besides "Dracula: Prince of Darkness", Farmer was in 1964's, "The Scarlet Blade", starring Lionel Jeffries and Oliver Reed, the same years "633 Squadron", starring Cliff Robertson and George Chakiris and 1964's, "The Devil Ship Pirates", starring Christopher Lee and Andrew Keir. In 1965, Susan Farmer co-starred with Boris Karloff and Nick Adams in H.P. Lovecraft's, "Die Monster, Die!".

Above left to right, Suzan Farmer, Francis Matthews and Barbara Shelley

The film opens with "Grigori Rasputin" healing the "Wife", played by Mary Quinn, of an "Innkeeper", played by Derrek Francis. Rasputin is brought before an "Orthodox Russian Abbott", played by John Welsh, and claims he acts sexually immoral to give God more sins to forgive. The innkeeper defends the Monk, who claims he can heal people with his hands. The Bishop claims, "Rasputin's" power must come Satan.

Next, "Rasputin" heads for St. Petersburg and forces his way into the house of "Dr. Boris Zargo", played by Richard Pasco, and begins his campaign to gain influence over the "Tsarina Alexandra", played by Renee Asherson.

Above, Richard Pasco, and below, Renee Asherton

"Rasputin" now manipulates "Alexandra's" lady-in-waiting, "Sonia", using their sexual desires to get close to the Tsarina.

There is no hemophilia for "Alexi", played by Robert Duncan, but an accident the hypnotized "Sonia" causes. Allowing "Rasputin" being brought to the court to heal the boy.


"Rasputin" now comes to control "Czar Nicholas II", the actor in the role is not even listed on the official credits list as "uncredited". So I could not locate his name. Next, "Sonia's" brother, "Peter", played by Dinsdale Landen, convinces "Ivan" to help bring down "Rasputin".

They confront the Monk, but "Peter" has acid thrown in his face and will die a slow death.

This is followed by "Ivan" tricking "Rasputin" into thinking his sister "Vanessa" is interested in the monk and arranges a meeting. There's a box of chocolates, that "Dr. Zargo" has poisoned, and "Rasputin", as planed, eats them. However, "Rasputin" has not died and "Dr. Zargo" manages to stab him and "Ivan" to throw the monk out of the window to his final death.

A year after the Hammer Films Production was released. There was another French and Italian co-production.

J'AI TUE RASPUTINE (I KILLED RASPUTIN) first shown at the Cannes Film Festival on April 12, 1967

Gert Frobe, as Gert Froebe, portrayed "Grigori Rasputin". Although, German actor Frobe, had been appearing in German motion pictures since 1942. Although the actor was in the American made, 1953, "Man on a Tightrope", starring Frederic March, Terry Moore and Gloria Graham. Had a small role in Darryl F. Zanuck's, 1962 World War 2 epic, "The Longest Day". It was Frobe, in the title role and as a "James Bond" villain, in 1964's, "Goldfinger". Which brought him Worldwide recognition.

Above, Geraldine Chaplin and Gert Frobe

Geraldine Chaplin portrayed "Mounia Golovine". Chaplin was the daughter of Oona O'Neil Chaplin, making her the granddaughter of playwright Eugene O'Neil, and the "Little Tramp", himself, Charlie Chaplin. Her first role was as the little girl on the steps, in her father's classic 1952, "Limelight". She had 3rd billing in Director David Lean's, 1965, "Dr. Zhivago", co-starring with Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. Then some minor, non-credited roles until this feature.

Peter McEnery portrayed "Prince Felix Yusupov". McEnery had just starred in Walt Disney's, 1966, "The Fighting Prince of Donegal"

In the above scene as the plotters prepare to murder "Rasputin", Peter McEnery is second from the left.

Princess Virginia von Furstenberg portrayed "Irina Yusupova". Yes, the German actress, jewelry designer and socialite, is a real Princess. She's seen with Peter McEnery below.

With the exception of three roles, including Geraldine Chaplin's, all the other main roles are the actual named  people involved in the assassination of "Rasputin". The screenplay revolves around "Prince Felix" and concentrates on him rather than either the Royal Family, or the Monk. The stated purpose to assassinate "Rasputin" is the upcoming First World War and the need to get him away from the Czar and Czarina.

Historian and biographer Robert K, Massie wrote the massive biography, 1971's, "Nicholas and Alexandra". His work would be turned into a three hour epic.

NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA had a Royal Premiere in London, on November 29, 1971


The massive screenplay was written by James Goldman, In, 1968, Goldman turned his successful play, "The Lion in Winter", into a screenplay for the Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn feature film about King Henry II. In 1971, he turned his successful play into a screenplay for, "They Might Be Giants". It's about a modern-day man in a psychiatric hospital believing he's "Sherlock Holmes". Whose doctor, a woman, just happens to be named "Watson". The movie starred George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. Immediately, after this picture, Goldman created the story and screenplay for 1976's, "Robin and Marian". Which envisions "Robin Hood" in old age and the never married "Maid Marian" a nun!

Goldman's screenplay for "Nicholas and Alexandra", with mostly historical accuracy, names Thirty-eight actual people. Who are divided up into Four Groups per Robert K. Massey's work:

"The Royal Family", "The Royal Household", "The Statesmen" and "The Revolutionaries". Which include, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.

Some of the Main Roles:

Michael Jayston portrayed "Tsar Nicholas II". Jayston was a British television actor prior to this motion picture. He was in the Richard Harris and Sir Alec Guinness, 1970, British biography motion picture, "Cromwell" and appeared in a television production of William Shakespeare's, "Macbeth", in the title role that same year.

Janet Suzman portrayed "Tsarina Alexandra". Suznan also came from the World of British television dramas and portrayed "Lady Macbeth" opposite Michael Jayston. She would return to those Historical and Literature based television dramas.

Above, Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman.

Harry Andrews portrayed Nicholas' cousin, "The Grand Duke Nicholas (Nikolasha)". Andrews was a familiar face in British television and motion pictures. Just in 1956, Andrews was seen as "Hector" in Robert Wise's "Helen of Troy", "Darius" in the Richard Burton feature, "Alexander the Great", and "Stubb" in John Huston's version of Melville's, "Moby Dick".

Above, Michael Jayston and Harry Andrews. Below the real "Grand Duke".

Tom Baker portrayed "Grigori Rasputin". Baker is probably best known as the "Fourth Doctor", from 1974 through 1984, on the BBC television series, "Dr. Who". In 1973, Tom Baker, portrayed the evil magician "Koura", in Stop Motion Animator Ray Harryhausen's, "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad". In 1982, Baker portrayed "Sherlock Holmes", in a British mini-series of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Hound of the Baskervilles".

For the lover of "Sherlock Holmes", my article covering the complete history of "The Hound of Hell", from conception, "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES on the Motion Picture and Television Screens 1914-2016", may be investigated at:

Jack Hawkins portrayed "Count Adolf Andreas Woldemar Freededreicksz, Minister of the Imperial Court". Hawkins was another familiar face in British motion pictures. Although, he portrayed the builder of the "Great Pyramid", the "Pharaoh Khufu" in Howard Hawks', 1955, "Land of the Pharaohs". In 1957, he was in David Lean's, "The Bridge on the River Kwai", he was "General Allenby" in David Lean's, 1962, "Lawrence of Arabia" and was in the cast of the Sean Connery, Euro-Western, 1968's, "Shalako", based upon a Louis L'Amour novel.

Above Jack Hawkin with Ann Barass, in the uncredited role of a "Courtier".  Below the real "Count Freededreicksz".

Martin Potter portrayed "Prince Felix Yusupov". In 1969, Potter was in Italian Director Federico Fellini's controversial "Satyricon". In 1975 he was seen in another British mini-series version of "Robin Hood". In 1983, Potter was seen with Peter Davidson's "Fifth Doctor" in the series "Dr. Who".

Richard Warick portrayed the Cousin of the Tsar, the "Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich".  Warick started out in the cast of Franco Zeffirelli's, 1968, "Romeo and Juliet". He was in Director Lindsay Anderson's, 1968, "...If..", starring an unknown Malcolm McDowell. Richard Warick portrayed "Uncas" on the BBC's, 1971, mini-series of James Fennimore Copper's "The Last of the Mohicans".

Overview of the Screenplay:

The story opens in 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War and the birth of the "Tsesarevich Alexi", played by Roderic Noble, in one of his only two on-screen appearances.

The political situation has the "Grand Duke Nicholas" and the current Prime Minister, "Count Sergei Yulyevich Witte", played by Laurence Olivier, telling "Nicholas" that the war is futile and the people want a representative government, health care and workers rights. However, "Nicholas II", wants to keep the status quo, but there are three different political groups being formed. The three leaders are, "Vladimir Ilyrich Ulyanov" known simply as "Lenin", played by Michael Bryant, "Joseph Vissarionobivh Stalin", played by James Hazeldine, and "Lev Davidovitch Bronstein" known as "Leon Trotsky", played by Brian Cox.

Switch to January 1905, "Alexandra", who is German, is disliked by the majority of Russians and especially those in the court. "Alexi" is diagnosed with hemophilia and the Russian doctors can not deal with it properly. The Tsarina hears of a healer Monk, a Serbian peasant, named "Grigori Rasputin". She has "Rasputin" brought to court and he claims he can heal her son. 

While, "Alexandra" is coming under "Rasputin's" spell, an incident occurs outside the Winter Palace on Sunday, January 22, 1905. Led by Russian Orthodox Priest "Georgy Apollonovich Gapon", played by Julian Glover, a large group of factory workers go to the Winter Palace to present a petition to "Tsar Nicholas".

The factory workers are met by hundreds of soldiers, who fire upon them, in what became known to Russian history as "Blood Sunday". While in the somewhat fantasy world of the Romanov's, "Nicholas II" tells his advisors that he would not have granted the peasants requests. 

Move forward to 1913, "Rasputin" has the trust of "Alexandra" completely as he treats "Alexi". "Nicholas" is also trusting the monk blinded by his love for his son.

The audience now sees the Royal Family and Household at the Livadia Palace in the Crimea. From a political point of view, "Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin, the current Russian Prime Minister", played by Eric Porter, has been able to keep the Empire together by addressing and correcting some of the grievances going back to "Bloody Sunday".

"Stolypin" now presents "Tsar Nicholas" with police reports about the immoral behavior of "Rasputin".

"Nicholas" dismisses "Rasputin" from the court, but  "Alexandra" demands he be returned. She is concerned about "Alexi" and believes only "Grigori Rasputin" can help him, but her husband stands firm on his decision.

The "Romanov Tercentenary", a country-wide celebration of the "House of Romanov", takes place in February 1913. Which includes a lavish Royal Tour of the Empire, that had been done since 1613, but the crowds are very thin from decades past. The change is directly related to the Tsar not honoring the petitions of the workers he has been ignoring. "Nicholas II" still does not read the signs of growing unrest.

At the Royal Hunting Lodge in the town of Spala, "Alexi" falls and starts bleeding heavily. "Alexandra" writes to "Rasputin" and he responds with a letter of comfort as her son recovers.

July 28, 1914, the First World War begins, but Russia is not involved. However, "Czar Nicholas II" in fear of invasion by Germany, mobilizes the "Imperial Russian Army" on the German border. This prompts Germany to declare war on Russia. 

In 1915, the war appears to be going badly for Russia and "Nicholas" decides to take charge of the troops himself. He goes to the front, bringing his experienced cousin the "Grand Duke Nicholas". He leaves the "Czarina Alexandra" in charge of Russia's Home Front. 

"Alexandra" reinstates "Grigori Rasputin" at court and he becomes her main advisor. As a result the Czarina starts making bad decisions creating more unrest for the working class. 

The "Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna", played by Irene Worth, calls "Alexandra" incompetent and unfit to rule Russia. She goes to the front and meets with "Nicholas". The "Dowager Empress" informs "Nicholas II" of  "Rasputin's" influence over "Alexandra" and that she is ignoring her duties as Tsarina. "Maria Feodorovna" implores "Nicholas" to eliminate "Rasputin", send "Alexandra" to Livadia in Crimea and return to St. Petersburg.

Concerned about "Rasputin's" influence over "Alexandra", the "Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovitch" and "Prince Felix Yusupov" plan to assassinate "Grigori Rasputin". They invite the Monk to a party and on December 30, 1916, succeed in murdering him.

"Nicholas" stays at the front leaving "Alexandra" to rule. Even with "Rasputin" dead, she continues to make bad choices including not properly suppling the army and causing starvation to spread among the workers and peasant families. Now, "Lenin", "Trotsky" and "Stalin's" groups unite under "Lenin's" leadership. The Russian Revolution begins in St. Petersburg on March 8, 1917.

"Czar Nicholas II" is forced to abdicate on March 15, 1917. Events would take over and the British Government that had originally offered the Royal Family asylum reversed their offer. On July 17, 1918, the Royal Family would be executed by Bolshevik leader "Yakov Yurovsky", played by Alan Webb.

Above the "Romonov Family" in happier times and below, the family in July 1918 with the family physician "Yevgeny Sergeyevich Botkin aka: Dr. Eugene Botkin", played by Timothy West. Botkin would also be executed with the Romanov's.

Below, the real "Dr. Eugene Botkin".

Ten years after the release of "Nicholas and Alexandra", was the next motion picture about "Grigori Rasputin".

 Агония (AGONY) first shown at the Moscow Film Festival on July 21, 1981

"Agony" was also known as "Rasputin".

The picture was Directed and Produced by Elem Klimov. He would direct 14 motion pictures between 1959 and 1985 in the Soviet Union.

Aleksey Petrenko portrayed "Grigori Rasputin".

Anatolly Romashin portrayed "Nicholas II".

Velta Line portrayed "Alexandra". 

The story starts during the final months of 1916, the First World War rages, as hunger and police jointly rule Russia. While, "Alexandra" ignores the people and enjoys the luxurious life of the Imperial court. Which stands in stark contrast to the life of the Russian worker and peasant. The screenplay follows the final days of "Rasputin's" control and his very brutal murder.

It should be noted that Elem Kimov fought the Russian government over the release of this motion picture. In September 1982, the film was an entry in the Venice, Italy Film Festival, on January 14 1983, the picture opened in East Germany and on February 19th, was shown in the Berlin Film Festival on the Western side. It would slip into the United States as "Rasputin", on October 1985, at the Chicago Film Festival.

RASPUTIN: DARK SERVANT OF DESTINY made by HBO Pictures and first shown on March 23, 1996

Alan Rickman portrayed "Grigori Rasputin". In 1995, Rickman was seen in a production of authoress Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility". In 1999, Rickman was in the very often overlooked "Dogma". This beautiful comedic attack on religious dogma starred Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. The picture was written and directed by Kevin Smith. Most of my readers probably know Alan Rickman as "Professor Severus Snape", from the seven "Harry Potter" motion pictures, starting in 2001.

Greta Scacchi portrayed "Tsarina Alexandra". Scacchi is a British-Italian actress, her mom was English, dad was Italian. Among her work prior to this picture was, 1984's, "Camille", co-starring Colin Firth and Sir John Gieguld, 1994's, "The Browning Version", with Albert Finney and Matthew Modine, and afterwards, in 1997, the mini-series based upon Homer's "The Odyssey", starring Armand Assante.

Above Greta Scacchi with Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen portrayed "Tsar Nicholas II". Back in 1966, the actor starred in a British mini-series as Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield". In 1995, McKellen stared in a reimaging of William Shakespeare's, "Richard III", set in 1930. In 2000, Ian McKellen would become "Eric Lehnsherr: Magneto" in "X-Men". In 2001, McKellen portrayed "Gandalf" in the first of Director Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Ring's Trilogy".

This made for television movie had a very interesting and unusual beginning. It starts with the discovery in 1991 of the remains of both "Tsar Nicholas II", "Tsarina Alexandra" and their family except "Alexi" and "Maria". Then the voice of the "Tsarevich Alexi Nikolaevich", played by Freddie Finlay, starts to narrate the events.

Note: The actual remains were located in 1979, but this was not revealed until 1991. In 2007, the remains of "Alexi" and "Maria" were discovered. The total identified were the seven Romanov's and four servants. As to the legend that the 17 years old "Grand Duchess Anastasia" escaped I mentioned earlier. The person mostly associated with the tale was Anna Anderson. However, after her death, DNA evidence proved she was not related to the Romanov's. For those interested, the following link takes my reader to an article about the discovery of the remains of the Royal Family.

Returning to the screenplay:

The story switches to 1883 in Western Serbia, as "Rasputin's" father asks the "Young Rasputin", played by Tamas Toth, to perform magic. He has a vision that one of the on-lookers is a horse thief, his father slaps him for such a statement, but the man turns out to be a horse thief.

Switch to 1903, and "Rasputin" has a vision of the "Virgin Mary". She tells him to become a priest, "Rasputin" becomes famous in Serbia and even a Bishop asks for the new Priest to bless him. 

Now, advance again, to the household of "Tsar Nicholas II" and his wife, "Tsarina Alexandra". Their young son the "Tsarevich Alexi" is confined to his bed with severe bruising of the legs and is diagnosed with hemophilia.   

The court physician, "Dr. Eugene Botkin", played by David Warner, is unable to help the boy.

"Alexandra" asks to see a spiritual healer to possibly help "Alexi" and "Grigori Rasputin" arrives in St. Petersburg. At "Alexi's" bedside, "Rasputin" startles "Nicholas" and "Alexandra" by asking "Alexi" about his leg, because no one has told him of "Alexi's" exact illness. "Rasputin" places his hand on the boy's leg and makes him relax by seeing images of boats sailing. The Tsarevich is now resting easy as the Tsarina watches the healer limp away. She is given the impression that the Priest has absorbed her son's pain into his own body. 

When "Nicholas" asks "Rasputin" how he knew about "Alexi's" leg? He receives the response that the Virgin Mary spoke to the Priest and told him to come to St. Petersburg to heal the Tsar's son.

The next day "Alexi" awakes in perfect health and claims that "Rasputin" has cured him. While, "Dr. Botkin" claims it was the result of the treatment he began the week before.

This starts "Alexandra's" belief in and trust of "Grigori Rasputin". She visits him and he questions her faith in God and puts the blame of her son's weakness on her. "Rasputin" is invited to move into the palace.

"Rasputin" starts seeing "Alexi's" four sisters, causing alarm for "Nicholas". Who has become familiar with "Grigori Rasputin's" womanizing and flings with prostitutes. The Tsar asks the Priest to leave the palace.

In 1913, "Alexi" has a severe nose bleed and "Alexandra" begs her husband to bring "Rasputin" back. "Rasputin" stops the nose bleeding, but "Dr. Botkin" is now convinced that the Priest is just using hypnosis on the boy.

"Dr. Botkin" tells "Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin", played by John Wood, what he believes is happening and "Stolypin" orders detectives to investigate "Grigori Rasputin". The detectives report back, confirming the stories being told about the Priest. "Stolypin" now goes to "Nicholas" with his findings and the stories that are circulating throughout Russia about "Rasputin's" closeness to the Imperial Family and especially "Alexandra". That same night, a drunken "Grigori Rasputin" is brought before "Tsar Nicholas", after being heard to be making obscene comments about the Imperial Family. "Nicholas" banishes him, but before he leaves. "Rasputin" prophesizes a terrible future for Russia and the assassination of "Prime Minister Stolypin". A month later, "Stolypin" is murdered during the "Romanov Tercentenary" and "Nicholas" is informed of the start of the First World War.

Fact Check: 
Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin was actually killed, September 18, 1911, after the second act at the Kiev Opera House.  

"Alexi" now suffers another major bleeding spell and "Alexandra" begs "Nicholas", whose leading his troops, to bring back "Rasputin". This is done, while millions of Russian soldiers are dying in the war.

Suddenly, "Grigori Rasputin" stops having visions of the "Virgin Mary" and seems lost. This causes "Alexandra" and his follow Priests to stop believing in him. The war goes on and with "Nicholas" at the front and "Alexandra" and seemingly, "Rasputin", in charge of Russia. More and more members of Russian society, along with the peasants, blame the two for their hunger and run-a-way corruption.

A group of men led by "Prince Felix Yusupov", played by James Frain, decide to murder "Grigori Rasputin". They invite the Priest to "Yusupov's" palace for a party on December 30, 1916. During the party, the Priest is given his favorite cakes laced with poison, but it seems he has a resistance to it.

"Yusupov" shoots "Rasputin", but he still doesn't die. "Grigori Rasputin" leaves the house, stumbles through the courtyard and is shot another four times. The Priest finally collapses, dies and his body is thrown into the Malaya Nevka River.

"Alexandra" is given a note written by "Rasputin". In it he states his knowledge that he would be killed and warns her, if it was by Nobles. Then within the next two years the Imperial Family will also be killed.

In 1917, "Tsar  Nicholas II" is forced to abdicate and the Imperial Family, "Dr. Botkin", and some servants are sent into exile.

On July 17, 1918, the Imperial Family is executed as predicted by "Grigori Rasputin".

RASPUTIN released September 4, 2010 at the Venice Italy film festival

The movie was Produced, Written and Directed by Louis Nero. No relation to the narrator of the story, Italian actor Franco Nero. The two starring roles are Francesco Cabras as "Grigorij Efimovic Rasputin", and Daniele Savoca as "Principe Feliks Jusupov".


What I could locate about the screenplay is that it starts with the murder of "Rasputin" and in flashbacks tells the story. Apparently, Louis Nero, claims that the Monk was the greatest occultist of the 18th and 19th Centuries and his 85-minute movie tells the "Truth Behind the Legend".

Below is the one scene from the film I found, and it is obviously from a gun history page. It's apparently "Jusupov" shooting "Rasputin".

Next was a French and Russian co-production.

RASPOUTINE was released in France on December 20, 2011. The Russian release date was June 29, 2013 at the Moscow Film Festival. The motion picture never came to the United States.

Gerard Depardieu portrayed "Grigori Raspoutine". French actor Depardieu would be voiced by 
Russian actor Sergei Garmash in the Russian language release.

Fanny Ardant portrayed "Imperatrice Alexandra". French actress Ardant was voiced by Russian actress Marina Neyolova in the Russian language release.

Vladimir Mashkov portrayed "Nicolas II"

Above front row, Fanny Ardant and Vladimir Mashkov

Above, is Russian actor Filipp Yankovskiy as "Prince Felix Youssoupova".

Above, is Ukrainian actress Natalya "Natasha" Shvet as "Irina Youssoupova" and below, is Russian actress Irina Alfyorova as "Felix's" mother, "Zinaida Youssoupova".

Below the real Zinaida Yusupova.

The story takes place in 1916 with Russia having been fighting the First World War. That war has impacted on both the Society revolving around the Imperial Court and the peasantry by the rule of "Imperatrice Alexandra", influenced by "Raspoutine". "Princess Zinaida Youssoupova" is attempting to get "Alexandra" to understand the harm her friendship with "Raspoutine" is causing Russia, but to no avail.

"Princess Zinaida" convinces her son to murder "Raspoutine" for the good of "Mother Russia" and the film concludes with that event.

As of this writing the above are all the films I could locate about Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin.


Before the DNA Evidence, there would be several women coming forth to claim to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romonav. Based upon the ever present rumors of her escape going through the late 1960's.

Anastasia in 1914 at age 13.

Her birth name was Franziska Schanzkowska, or was it? Over the years she would be known as Fraulein Unbekannt, Anna Tschaikovsky, Anatasia Tschaikovsky, Anatasia Manahan, from a 1968 marriage, and Anna Anderson. She was the most popular impersonator of Anastasia Romonov.

On February 27, 1920, a young woman attempted suicide in Berlin by jumping off the Bendlerstrasse bridge. A police sergeant rescued her and she was admitted to the Elizabeth Hospital in Lutzowstrasse.
As she had no identification papers and refused to tell her name. The woman was admitted as Fraulein Unbekannt (Miss Unknown). She would be transferred to a mental hospital in Dalldorf, now Wittenau, Germany. She remained there for two full years.

In early 1922, another patient, Clara Peuthert started claiming that "Miss Unknown" was in reality the Grand Duchess Tatiana of Russia, the second daughter of "Czar Nicholas" and "Czarina Alexandra", seen below.

Upon her release, Clara Peuthert, told Russian émigré Captain Nicholas von Schwabe that she saw Tatiana alive. Schwabe visited the unknown woman and apparently accepted her as Tatiana Romanov. He passed on the news to the Russian émigré community and Baroness Sophia Buxhoeveden visited the women in question, but stated she was too short to be Tatiana. The subject was closed, but a nurse at Dalldorf claimed that in 1921 the young woman claimed her first name was Anastasia.

Apparently, in May 1922, Peuthert, von Schwabe and another émigré, Zinaida Tolstoy, no relation to the author, now believed the young woman was actually the Grand Duchess Anastasia. While, Buxhoeveden, again, claimed otherwise, and made her views known to the Russian émigré  population.

So began a small battle between the Russian émigré society including Prince Felix Yusupov and his wife Irina. Who took the position that the woman noww known as Anna Tschaikovsky, was not Anastasia.

In 1927, a private investigation into the woman know calling herself,  Anna Anderson, was started by "Tsarina Alexandra's" brother, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse.  His investigation identified Anna Anderson as Franziska Schanzkowska. 

At the conclusion of that investigation it should have been acknowledged that Anna Anderson was a fraud. Franziska Schanzkowska was found to be a Polish factory worker that had documented mental illness, but most of all. Franziska was born on December 16, 1896, FIVE YEARS prior to Anastasia, on June 18, 1901.

However, even with the findings of Alexandra's brother's investigation. The story couldn't be stopped that the youngest daughter of Nicholas and Alexandra survived. In 1952, French playwright Marcelle Maurette wrote her play, "Anastasia". British playwright Guy Bolton translated the play into English the same year. In 1956 a motion picture version of the play was released on December 13, 1956.

Ingrid Bergman portrayed "Anna Koreff". Bergman had just been seen in the 1956 French Comedy, "Elena and Her Men" and would follow this picture with 1958's, "Indiscreet". co-starring Cary Grant.

Yul  Brynner portrayed "General Sergei Pavolovich Bounine". Brynner had just been seen as "Ramases" in Cecil B. DeMille's, 1956, "The Ten Commandments". He would follow this feature in 1958, with Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brother Karamazov", Directed by Richard Brooks.

Helen Hayes portrayed "Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna". At this time Helen Hayes was appearing on several dramatic television productions.

The play and screenplay are based upon key elements of the life of Anna Anderson I have just mentioned.

The year is 1928, the setting is Paris, France, and the rumors fly that somehow, "Anastasia Romanov" survived the execution of her family. "General Bounine", who owns a successful Russian-themed-café, learns of a young woman who resembles the "Grand Duchess" as she would be now. While in a mental hospital being treated for amnesia, the girl is said to have revealed to a Nun that she was "Anastasia". 

Every Russian émigré knows that there is ten million English pounds being held in a bank in England in Anastasia's name. Bounine has his associates locate the young woman and when he approaches her. Calling the young woman the Grand Duchess Anastasia. She eludes him and attempts to kill herself in the River Seine and he saves her from drowning. 

The General has been scamming other Russian emigres over the possibility of sharing in the ten million, but now he plans to turn "Anna Koreff" into "Anastasia". Then go to Copenhagen to convince the "Dowager Empress Marie Fedodorovna" that she is really her granddaughter.

When the two women first meet the "Dowager Empress" shuns the fake "Anastasia" as another imposter.

Also, in Copenhagen, is another fortune hunter, "Prince Paul von Haraldberg", played by Ivan Desny. "Prince Paul" is broke and a fake, but has convinced "Anna" to marry him. At the Grand Ball, that is to be attended by the "Dowager Empress", and the marriage enouncement is to be made.

Two things happen:

First, "Anna" and "Bounine" realize they love each other.

Second, "Anna" meets in private with "Anastasia's" grandmother. As the two talk, "Anna" reveals things that only the real "Anastasia Romonov" would know and no way could "General Bounine's" teaching have taught her. 

In the end the "Dowager Empress" believes "Anna Koreff" is really her granddaughter, but helps "Anna" and "Bounine" run away together. The "Empress" than makes it known to those around her that "Anna" was not "Anastasia". 

There was another version of the Anna Anderson story, but this was an animated musical from Producers and Directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman.

ANASTASIA released November 14, 1997

The screenplay for the animated feature started out in late 1994 as a very adult and fact based story, but Bluth and Goldman decided that the history of the Romanov's was too dark. In 1995, changes began to be made with the first of five writers, including a non-credited Carrie Fisher, toward a more family oriented story. However, the two producers still needed a villain and didn't want to use Lenin. They decided to use Grigori Rasputin and change his history as they would do with Anastasia's.

The story starts out in 1916, in Petrograd, aka; St Petersburg, Russia, at the Romanov Tercentenary. Anastasia is supposedly 8 years old at the time. However, having been born in 1901, she should have been 15 years old, and two years prior to her death in reality. 

During the Romanov Tercentenary, the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, gives her granddaughter, Anastasia, both a music box and a necklace inscribed "Together In Paris". The ball is interrupted by the appearance of Rasputin, who has sold his soul for power. Later, the palace is attacked by revolutionaries, but no Lenin.  Anastasia and her grandmother escape through a secret passageway aided by the 10 years old servant boy named Dimitri she had played with most of her young life. 

The three are being pursued by Rasputin. Who accidently falls into the river and drowns. At the train station, Marie makes it onto the leaving train as revolutionaries approach, but Anastasia falls, hits her head, causing amnesia and she ends up in an orphanage.

Ten years later, Dimitri is a conman, and hears about the 10-million-ruble reward for finding Anastasia offered by the Dowager Empress. In a variation of the 1956 motion picture, he meets a girl named Anya and turns her into Anastasia. Neither realizing that's who she is, but again the historical problem with the screenplay, is that it's now 1928. Anastasia is 18 years old, Rasputin didn't drown as thought, or was murdered back in 1916. In this story he's back and out for revenge, but true love conquerors all.

Anastasia and Dimitri elope and she sends a letter to her grandmother, promising to return some day.

There was another motion picture, a Horror Film with Science Fiction touches, that had an obvious version of Rasputin.


HORROR EXPRESS first shown on September 30, 1972 at the Catalonian, Spain, Film Festivial

This is a true version of John W. Campbell, Jr's novella, "Who Goes There?", made in Spain. As the above poster indicates, the motion picture stars British actors Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Along with American actor Telly Savalas.

The story takes place in Czarist Russia in 1906 and mainly on-board "Trans-Seberian Railroad". One person the alien takes possession of, is a Rasputin-like monk. 

At the time of this writing, the complete English language dub was available on YouTube and I highly recommend this forgotten motion picture for fans of Science Fiction and Horror.

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