Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)

Article #1267 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-2-2004
Posting Date: 1-30-2005
Directed by Don Sharp
Featuring Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Richard Pasco

Rasputin uses his healing powers and his mastery of hypnotism to gain prestige with the czarina in Moscow.

One problem I often have with Hammer films is that I often find the actual scripts and stories to be somewhat perfunctory and weak, and this one is no exception. It pretty much does what you’d expect they would do with the Rasputin story; they forego any of the epic sense that could underlie the story and play up the horror aspects. I think their strengths consisted in their ability to make their movies look much classier than they might have done otherwise, and they used the best actors they could afford. In this case, the casting of Christopher Lee in the title role was inspired, and you can tell that Lee knew he had a great role in this one; he gives one of his finest performances, and he looks like he’s having a lot of fun as well. As far as I’m concerned, it is his performance that makes this movie work, and the movie is worth catching simply for him.


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