Sunday, February 1, 2009

Review: Rasputin and The Empress

Author: Kastle

-----in my pre-teen years, I caught a film that seemed to capture my attention for action, intrigue, mystery and adventure.... I kind of remember it having something like “The Mad Monk” in the title.

Good show, too. the main character was true nutter - a Mystic Monk who pretty much drank excessively, pillaged and terrorized his Russian village. It seemed to me that the town just let him do whatever the hell he wanted because they were so afraid of the guy and caved in to his frightful hypnotic stare... I think I did a history report on the original fellow “Gregor (Grigori) Rasputin- The MAD MONK! (holy crap! it's the same guy that was highly featured in hellboy1 says Norbert!!) but come to find out, the guy wasn’t even really a monk at all. Or a Mystic. just a drunk, delinquent crack pot with a super-mean temper. The funny thing to me is that there is a long standing bar in Burlington VT just off main street named Rasputin’s they had shirts for a while in the 80’s bearing this guys likeness. When I recently went back to rewatch this lost gem from the ‘30s I found an interesting side note. An actor I was semi familiar with (from being beat over the head with the movie each christmas since birth) played the main character. That’s right! None other than Lionel Barrymore himself! I know him best as that “Warped, Frustrated Old Man” mean old Mr. Potter from it’s a wonderful life. I like his style and see very few classically trained actors on screen these days. and it wasn’t just him in this film... turns out the entire “Royal Family” as they were known were cast in this picture. This was the first and only movie in which all three of the original Barrymore’s acted together. It was neat and quirky, so I dug a little deeper and found that Ethel Barrymore plays the lover of her real life brother Lionel Barrymore in this film. (ewwww)

Additionally, I was passively wondering how exactly Drew “firestarter” Barrymore was related to
_the_ Lionel Barrymore (if at all) because it seemed since Poison Ivy 1, her career went deep down the toily fastly. (though her appearance in Scary Movie 1 was kind of funny I suppose for obvious reasons). Anyhow, I was kind of thinking that Drew Barrymore has seriously tarnished the name of this family of actors forever and wiki was able to connect the dots with genealogy tree. looks something like this:

> Maurice Barrymore (not his real name!?!) married Georgiana Emma Drew, and had three children: Lionel Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, and John Barrymore.

>> John Barrymore married Dolores Costello his third wife, and had: Dolores Ethel Mae Barrymore and married Thomas Fairbanks, and had Hillary Klaradru Fairbanks and John Drew Barrymore (Jr.)

>>> John Jr. married Ildiko Jaid his fourth (and not final?) wife and had Drew Barrymore. (the young actress from E.T.)


So, with that said, go check out the 1932 classic:

Rasputin and the Empress
or “Rasputin the Mad Monk” as it was known in the UK release.
Rasputin and the Empress (Trailer)

or the several dozen other movies made before and since about this kooky cat.

he seems like one guy I’d definitely want on my team, but wouldn't want to meet up with in a dark alley!