Nicolas and Alexandra

Posted on 16th May 2018  in List of historical films

Nicholas and Alexandra ( Nicholas and Alexandra ) is a British film directed in 1971 by Franklin J. Schaffner that tells the story of Nicholas II , the last Tsar of Russia , and his wife Alexandra from 1904 to 1918 .

Synopsis

In 1904 , Nicholas II, who has just had a son, is concerned about the Russo-Japanese war , which has just begun, and by the increasingly insistent claims of his people who want a representative government. The Count Witte and the Grand Duke Nicolas advised him to end the war as quickly as possible and liberalize his regime somewhat, but the tsar wants to remain faithful to the autocracy bequeathed by his father.

The young heir Alexis is soon diagnosed with hemophilia . Her mother Alexandra , a hysterical empress who is not loved by her husband’s family, falls under the spell of a Siberian peasant, Rasputin , who convinced her that he alone was able to heal the child. Even Nicholas II begins to believe in his powers.

While Lenin , Trotsky and Stalin are founding the Bolshevik Party in London , a workers’ demonstration led by pope Gueorgui Gapon and demanding a liberalization of the regime, is harshly repressed by the soldiers who shoot at the crowd. Nicolas is horrified when he learns of the massacre, but that does not convince him to accede to the requests of his people.

Eight years later, on the eve of the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty , the imperial family is on holiday in Livadia, Crimea . Nicholas II received his new Prime Minister Stolypin , who told him that it was necessary to remove Rasputin, who is leading a life of debauchery in St. Petersburg and to discredit the entire monarchy. Despite the protests of Alexandra, the tsar consents to remove Rasputin. Shortly after the celebrations of the Tricentennial, Stolypin is assassinated during a performance at the opera. Nicolas reacts by dissolving the Duma and sending the police to terrorize the peasants and burn their homes.

During a stay in Poland , Alexis has the worst hemophilia crisis since birth. Doctors can not or do not dare to do anything. Alexandra demands the recall of Rasputin and decides to call her herself to her rescue. The fake monk managed to calm Alexis’s illness by talking to him on the phone.

1914 , the First World War begins. The Germany declares war on Russia . The Grand Duke Nicholas is appointed supreme commander of the troops. A year later, after terrible defeats, Nicolas II decides to take the command himself. Left in St. Petersburg, Alexandra governs the Empire in her place under the influence of Rasputin, and she does it very badly. Two decadent princes, Grand Duke Dimitri and Prince Yusupov , finally murdered Rasputin in December 1916 .

February 1917 is the Revolution . The soldiers refuse to fire on the thousands of demonstrators who invade the capital. In the train that brings him back to Petrograd, Nicholas II is forced to abdicate. Kerensky , the new head of government, exiles the Romanovs in Siberia , where they spend the winter of 1917-18. A Bolshevik , Yakovlev , arrives from Moscow in the spring of 1918 and is tasked with bringing the tsar back to the new capital where Lenin’s new government is apparently trying to bring him to trial. The train bringing the imperial family is however obliged to stop in Yekaterinburgwhere the local Soviet decides to take charge of it. When taken to Villa Ipatiev , the Romanovs are subjected to many annoyances. Their jailer, Yurovski , was ordered to execute them. The Romanovs are finally murdered in a room on the ground floor of the villa.

Technical sheet

  • Title: Nicolas and Alexandra
  • Original title: Nicholas and Alexandra
  • Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
  • Scenario: James Goldman and Edward Bond (from Robert K. Massie’s book )
  • Photography: Freddie Young , assisted by Ernest Day (cameraman)
  • Sound: Winston Ryder
  • Special Effects: Eddie Fowlie
  • Music: Richard Rodney Bennett
  • Editing: Ernest Walter
  • Production: Sam Spiegel
  • Production Company: Columbia Pictures
  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Format: Color
  • Shooting: November 30, 1970 to April 17, 1971 .
  • English language
  • Genre: Historical Movie
  • Duration: 183 minutes
  • Release date : 

Distribution

  • Michael Jayston : Nicholas II
  • Janet Suzman : Alexandra
  • Roderic Noble : Alexis
  • Ania Marson : Olga
  • Lynne Frederick : Tatiana
  • Candace Glendenning : Maria
  • Fiona Fullerton : Anastasia
  • Harry Andrews : Grand Duke Nicolas
  • Irene Worth : Maria Fedorovna
  • Tom Baker : Rasputin
  • Jack Hawkins : Count Fredericks
  • Timothy West : Dr. Botkin
  • Katherine Schofield : Tegleva
  • Jean-Claude Drouot : Pierre Gilliard
  • John Hallam : Nagorny
  • John Wood : Colonel Kobylinski
  • Laurence Olivier : Count Witte
  • Eric Porter : Stolypin
  • Michael Redgrave : Sazonov
  • Maurice Denham : Kokovtsov
  • Ralph Truman : Rodzianko
  • Gordon Gostelov : Goutchkov
  • John McEnery : Kerensky
  • Michael Bryant  (en) : Lenin
  • Vivian Pickles : Krupskaya
  • Brian Cox : Trotsky
  • James Hazeldine : Stalin
  • Stephen Greif : Martov
  • Steven Berkoff : Pankratov
  • Ian Holm : Iakovlev
  • Alan Webb : Yakov Yurovsky
  • Leon Lissek : Aleksandr Avdeiev
  • Roy Staff : Alekseev
  • Martin Potter : Felix Yusupov
  • Richard Warwick : The Grand Duke Dimitri
  • Vernon Dobtcheff : Dr. Lazovert
  • John Shrapnel : Petya
  • Alexander Knox : The American ambassador
  • Guy Rolfe : Dr. Fedorov
  • Curd Jürgens : the German consul

Soundtrack

The soundtrack of the film was written by the British composer Richard Rodney Bennett .

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Original Sound Track

Awards

Nicolas and Alexandra won two Oscars in 1971 .

  • Oscar for Best Costume Design : Yvonne Blake and Antonio Castillo
  • Oscar for best artistic direction : John Box, Ernest Archer, Maxsted Jack, Gil Perrondo and Vernon Dixon.

He was nominated for four other Oscars the same year.

  • Oscar for the best film
  • Oscar for Best Movie Music : Richard Bedford Bennett
  • Oscar for best actress : Janet Suzman
  • Oscar for best photography : Freddie Young

Around the film

  • The film was shot in Spain and Yugoslavia .
  • Several actors were considered for Rasputin’s role before Tom Baker got it. We asked Laurence Olivier but we finally preferred to give him that of Count Witte. Peter O’Toole and Marlon Brando were also invited to play it and it seems that Yul Brynner has been actively asking for it.
  • Roderic Noble was chosen because of his resemblance to the Tsarevich Alexis.
  • Sam Spiegel entrusted Gilliard to Jean-Claude Drouot on the recommendation of Kirk Douglas .
  • There are many historical inaccuracies in the film. Neither the author of the book, Robert K. Massie , nor the directors can be held responsible. It seems that the Soviet government at the time demanded that only the facts then recognized by the Soviet Union be shown .

Historical inaccuracies in the film

  • Stalin was not present at the Founding Congress of the Bolshevik Party, which took place in 1903 and not in 1905 .
  • In the film, it is Stolypin who organizes the Romanov Tercentenary Feasts which took place in 1913 . He was murdered in 1911 , that is, two years ago.
  • According to the recollections left by Felix Yusupov and MP Pourichkevich (who is not mentioned in the film), responsible for the assassination of Rasputin , the circumstances surrounding the murder of Rasputin were singularly transformed in the film.
  • In the film, it is Guchkov and Rodzianko who come to ask for the abdication of Nicholas II in the imperial train. In fact, Guchkov was accompanied by Monarchist deputy Basil Shulgin .
  • The place of detention of the Romanovs in Tobolsk in Siberia is located in the countryside in the film. In fact, the building was in the city center.
  • In the film, Yakovlev brings all the Romanovs back to Yekaterinburg . In reality, he only brought Nicolas II, Alexandra and their daughter Maria. Alexis stayed with his other three sisters in Tobolsk because he was too sick to travel. They joined their parents a few weeks later.
  • At Villa Ipatiev, the Romanovs share their fate with Dr. Botkin. In fact, there were also three other prisoners in the house, the good Demidova, the cook Kharitonov and the footman Troupp who were all murdered with the Tsar and his family.

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