I Killed Rasputin (1967)

aka J’ai tue Raspoutine
Article 3364 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-17-2010
Posting Date: 10-30-2010
Directed by Robert Hossein
Featuring Gert Frobe, Peter McEnery, Robert Hossein
Country: France / Italy
What it is: Another take on the Rasputin story

Prince Felix Yusupov recounts the tale of his meeting with and subsequent assassination of Grigori Rasputin, the faith healer that held great sway over the royal family in Russia prior to the revolution.

I’m rather surprised that I’ve seen so many versions of the Rasputin tale, largely because I didn’t know so many were made. This one takes an interesting approach; it tells the story from the point of view of Prince Yusupov and deals with his relationship with Rasputin, and his plan to have the man assassinated. As such, many of the scenes usually associated with the Rasputin story are omitted, as the focus is more on the Prince. It’s based on the book co-written by the Prince himself, and the opening of the movie features an interview with him and his wife; unfortunately, my print seems to be missing this scene. Considering the involvement of the Prince himself, it’s no real surprise to discover that (according to some user comments on IMDB) his character has been somewhat whitewashed; apparently, the Prince considered some of the other versions of the story to be slanderous. The movie is a little slow and dull on occasion, though it does give a clearer picture of why Rasputin was a threat to the country than some of the other versions, and Gert Frobe gives a good underplayed spin on Rasputin. As usual with this story, the fantastic aspects include the use of hypnotism, faith healing, and the near indestructibility of Rasputin in the final scenes. It’s not my favorite version of the story, but it has its uses.

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