(a.k.a. RASPUTIN, DAMON DER FRAUEN)
Article #1394 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-7-2005
Posting Date: 6-6-2005
Directed by Adolf Trotz
Featuring Conrad Veidt, Paul Otto, Hermine Sterler
This is the story of Rasputin’s rise to power and subsequent assassination.
With this, I’ve now seen four different biopics of Rasputin from four different countries; RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS from the U.S.A., RASPUTIN, THE MAD MONK from Great Britain, THE NIGHT THEY KILLED RASPUTIN was an Italian/French coproduction, and this one is from Germany. It’s also in German without subtitles, so I’m glad it’s far enough down the line that my familiarity with the story can help me to follow it. With all due respect to Christopher Lee and Lionel Barrymore, Conrad Veidt is probably the best actor to assay the role, and as far as I can tell given the language barrier, he does a fine job here. Still, it’s difficult to make any real evaluation of the movie. The fantastic aspects are even more muted here; Rasputin’s use of hypnotism isn’t obvious from the visuals, though the faith-healing aspect does play a role in keeping it near the realm of fantastic cinema. I do feel that Rasputin’s death scene here is the best of the many versions I’ve seen.