7.6/10
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47 user 48 critic

The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Passed | | Drama, History, Romance | 7 September 1934 (USA)
A German noblewoman enters into a loveless marriage with the dim-witted, unstable heir to the Russian throne, then plots to oust him from power.

Writers:

Catherine II (based on the diary of), Manuel Komroff (diary arranged by)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlene Dietrich ... Princess Sophia Frederica / Catherine II
John Lodge ... Count Alexei
Sam Jaffe ... Grand Duke Peter
Louise Dresser ... Empress Elizabeth Petrovna
C. Aubrey Smith ... Prince August
Gavin Gordon ... Capt. Gregori Orloff
Olive Tell ... Princess Johanna Elizabeth
Ruthelma Stevens ... Countess Elizabeth 'Lizzie'
Davison Clark Davison Clark ... Archimandrite Simeon Todorsky / Arch-Episcope
Erville Alderson ... Chancelor Alexei Bestuchef
Philip Sleeman Philip Sleeman ... Count Lestoq (as Phillip Sleeman)
Marie Wells ... Marie Tshoglokof
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ... Ivan Shuvolov (as Hans von Twardowski)
Gerald Fielding Gerald Fielding ... Lt. Dmitri
Maria Riva ... Sophia as a Child (as Maria)
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Storyline

Young Princess Sophia of Germany is taken to Russia to marry the half-wit Grand Duke Peter, son of the Empress. The domineering Empress hopes to improve the royal blood line. Sophia doesn't like her husband, but she likes Russia, and is very fond of Russian soldiers. She dutifully produces a son -- of questionable fatherhood, but no one seems to mind that. After the old empress dies, Sophia engineers a coup d'etat with the aid of the military, does away with Peter, and becomes Catherine the Great. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Reigning Beauty of the Screen!

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 September 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Catherine the Great See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,299
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. This was released on DVD 8 May 2001 as part of the Criterion Collection, and, since that time, has also enjoyed occasional airings on cable TV on Turner Classic Movies. See more »

Goofs

Catherine II is a woman of the 18th century, yet Dietrich depicts her with the depilated eyebrows and cupid-bow lips that were fashionable in 1934. See more »

Quotes

Grand Duke Peter: I want to play with my toys!
See more »

Connections

Version of The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Walküre (The Valkyries)
(1856)
Written by Richard Wagner
Excerpts incorporated into the score often
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wow
9 August 2002 | by jimi99See all my reviews

The equine theme running through this bizarre, campy, creepy, cynical, disturbingly beautiful bio-pic is quite significant, given the facts of the life and death of Catherine the Great, culminating in the wildly over-the-top final shot. This movie just drips with European social and sexual decadence, and also with incredibly lavish and languid imagery throughout. Dietrich and von Sternberg seem determined to prove that they could make the transformation of a naive romantic girl into a lascivious power-mad monarch somehow heroic, and also that American audiences would lap it up while denying the depth of the depravity they were embracing. This movie succeeds on every level, especially the subversive one...


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