Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nicholas And Alexandra

Nicholas and Alexandra is a 1971 film based on the life of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorvna. The movie was based on the book by Robert K. Massie.

Micheal Jayston - Nicholas II
Janet Suzman - Alexandra Feodorvna
Roderic Noble - Tsarevich Alexei
Tom Baker - Gregory Rasputin

Nicholas and Alexandra won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Costume Design

The movie begins with the birth of Tsarevich Alexei during the Russo-Japanese war. Although told by many of his advisers to back out of the war with Japan Nicholas is adamant to continue this war because he now has a son to fight for. Even his Mother suggest so!

When Alexei is diagnosed with hemophilia (that Alexandra, through her Mother's side, gave him), Alexandra is distraught. She seeks the help of A "saint" name Gregory Rasputin. He manages to "save" Alexei which gives Alexandra the idea that he is a holy man. Alexandra becomes dependent on Rasputin much the the hatred of nearly everyone around her and the Russian people, who no nothing of Alexei's disease. 

Russia is filled with civil unrest. The people do not want to continue in the war and the factory workers are hostile about their conditions. The people decide to petition to the Tsar (they do not know that he already left because Alexei was bleeding) but they are only met with gun fire. This day is known in history as "Bloody Sunday".

As Alexei grows up, he become rebellious against his condition. He wants to play and run but if he can't because it might trigger the bleeding if he merely bumped into something. The Tsar highers a sailor by the name of Nagorny to look after his son.

The movie also shows Russia's political instability. With the assassination attempt on Stolypin to the fall of the Duma. When World War I starts the reign of Nicholas II falls into the gutter. Nicholas decided to take charge of the army from his more experienced cousin, leaving Alexandra as regent. She is in the control of Rasputin who in fact has the REAL power. Rasputin is so hated that two men; Grand Duke Dmitri and Prince Felix Yusupov, lure Rasputin to a party and the precede to murder him. The troops are poorly armed and more men die each day. the people DEMAND that Nicholas abdicates. He does and also for his son. He wanted to protect Alexei. Thus the monarchy falls.

Lenin takes power and he places the royal family in Siberia. The Russian civil war begins and the royal family has to be transferred again; this time to Ekaterinburg. The royal family is seen optimistic all except for Alexei who has become quite pessimistic. With the White Army fast approaching to save the Tsar. The Bolsheviks order the family to be executed. To make the family happy, the guard sends the undelivered letters from Tsar family and friends.

The family is then lead to a quiet room where they think they are about to leave. As men enter the room, Alexei kisses his father on the cheek. The guards pulls out the rifles and aim it at the unsuspecting family. The girls scream and Alexandra tries to make the cross before a hail of bullets descend on the family. The final scene shows the bloody and bullet filled wall.              

I give this movie 4/5. I didn't like Janet Suzman as Alexandra. I thought her acting was marvelous (especially close to the end) but she just does not looked like Alexandra to me. I did however love the fact that they portrayed Nicholas not only as a Tsar but as a fool. Nicholas was a "fool" in a sense even though he had was still a good Tsar. It's rightly shows the mistakes that Nicholas makes in his reign. This movie represents a point of view that is indeed mostly truthful. At first when I watched it I didn't really enjoy it but when went back to watch ALL of it, I thought it was quite potent. The movie is a long one but still worth while. I tried to do my best on the plot summary but the movie is quiet in depth and has a lost more than I could write about in this "short" summary. It is a rich movie for knowledge. I would recommend this to most people but you would have to watch the movie more than once to appreciate it.

1 comment:

  1. The factual innacuracies bothered me (as always) but on the whole I thought it was a good movie (I absolutely agree about Alexandra though). I was *so* annoyed when I ordered it a few weeks ago and was sent a dvd with a European region code. !@#$%&*?