The young Katharina

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German title The young Katharina
Original title Young Catherine
Country of production USA , Soviet Union , Canada
original language English
Publishing year 1991
length 186 minutes
Age rating FSK without
Director Michael Anderson
script Chris Bryant
production Michael Deeley
Neville C. Thompson
music Isaak Schwartz
camera Ernest Day
cut Ron Wisman

Young Catherine ( Young Catherine ) is a two part, produced for television American-Soviet-Canadian biopic of Michael Anderson from the year 1991 . Julia Ormond can be seen in the main and title role .


The film tells the early years of the future Tsarina Katharina II , the German Princess Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg. She is invited to Russia, where she is supposed to marry the heir to the throne. On the way there, the princess and her mother stop in Berlin , where they are received by King Friedrich II . The king is hoping for more influence in Russia. The young Count Orlov accompanies the princess.

The reigning tsarina pleases the young princess and finds a loyal friend in the English ambassador Sir Charles. With their intervention, she barely escapes a poison attack initiated by Count Vorontsov. She adopts the Russian Orthodox religion and is called Ekaterina Alexejewna. In 1745 she married the Russian heir to the throne Peter Fyodorowitsch . He has a predilection for everything Prussian-military and behaves in the highest degree childish. He hates Russia, all the more since he suffers from the leaves that disfigure him physically and cause a change of mind that makes him bitter and puts an end to his childish behavior. If he was as happy as a child when the tsarina allowed him to set up a detachment of troops at his own expense, which would exercise under his orders, and if he kills trapped insects in the presence of his friends on the charge of high treason , his goal is now "to pay back" to the country.

The marriage initially remained childless for years, since the Grand Duke did not go to Katharina's bed. On the occasion of a private retreat of the Grand Dukes, ordered by the Tsarina, Katharina takes Count Orlov as a lover, with the Tsarina’s tacit approval. Soon the hoped-for pregnancy will occur. Peter's phimosis is treated while drunk. In the soldier's costume, the Grand Duchess succeeds in achieving the physical consummation of the marriage.

The Tsarina takes her son Paul into her care. Count Vorontsov brings his niece Deshkova to Grand Duke Peter, who becomes his mistress. After the death of Empress Elisabeth , Peter becomes the new tsar. With the help of Orlov and the church, Katharina organizes a plot, in which she can count on the support of the people. Here Katharina faces the enemy soldiers herself at the head of a guard, who then overflow. Vorontsov seeks support from Prussia. Peter III is ousted and killed by Orlov. Katharina becomes Tsarina.


  • The lexicon of international films said the film was a "two-part costume film focused on elaborate outward appearances" and "a picture sheet that was more concerned with show values."
  • Cinema described the film as an "opulent star cinema in a magnificent setting."
  • Prisma magazine praised the cast of the roles.


Vanessa Redgrave and costume designer Larisa Konnikova were nominated for Emmy Awards in 1991 . The two-part TV movie was in 1992 as Best Miniseries of the genre drama with the Gemini Award excellent. Larisa Konnikova, Julia Ormond, the production design and the camera work were nominated for the Gemini Award.


The film was shot on original locations in what was then the Soviet Union ; the production company on the Soviet side was Leningrader Lenfilm . For the scenes that take place in Anhalt-Zerbst , locations in and around what was then Leningrad were also used .


  1. The young Katharina. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. ^ Cinema
  4. ^ Film awards for Young Catherine

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