Rasputin, the demon of Petersburg
|German title||Rasputin, the demon of Petersburg|
|Original title||L'ultimo tsar|
|Country of production||
|Age rating||FSK 16|
Robert de Nesle
Rasputin, the demon of Petersburg (original title: L'ultimo zar , French Les nuits de Raspoutine ) is an Italian-French fictional film from 1959. It depicts the rise and bloody end of the Russian traveling preacher and “miracle healer” Grigori Efimovich Rasputin , but does not take the historical truth very seriously. Directed by Pierre Chenal . The leading roles were cast with Edmund Purdom , Gianna Maria Canale and Jany Clair . The director wrote the script together with André Tabet and Ugo Liberatore . It is based on a manuscript by Damiano Damiani . In the Federal Republic of Germany, the strip was shown for the first time on August 5, 1960.
The Russian Crown Prince Alexej Nikolajewitsch suffers from hemophilia . After none of the treating doctors could help the child, his parents put their last hope in the abilities of the monk Rasputin, although he is notorious as a drunkard and womanizer. Rasputin subjects the boy to "magical" treatment and, to the amazement of the court, the child is cured. The tsar then appoints the monk to be the "lamp lighter". This title means that he has free access to the imperial apartments at any time of the day or night. The Tsarina's feelings, however, go beyond mere admiration for the healer.
Rasputin is assigned a splendid apartment. There he received not only high officials, but also all sorts of people of dubious reputation. His influence at court is growing. Soon all of Russia will know of its importance for the royal family. When a soldier whose wife cheated on him with Rasputin takes his own life, more scandals become public. The Tsarina already fears that Rasputin will have to be removed from court. Therefore she tries to minimize the incidents.
A group of nobles wants to get rid of the faith healer. She lures him into a trap in which he is stabbed by a young woman. Although Rasputin was seriously wounded, he survived the attack. The tsarina ensures that he receives the best possible medical care. The recovery is making rapid progress, and Rasputin will soon regain his former position of power.
Against Rasputin's advice, the tsar decides to enter the First World War. However, this fact only benefits the Russian demon; because he favors war speculators and arms dealers and thereby becomes immensely rich. The nocturnal orgies in Rasputin's villa are increasing. Princess Jusupoff finally becomes the fatality of the grief. She is young and beautiful, but married. It doesn't take long before her husband realizes what Rasputin is up to. The prince invites the charlatan into his apartment and entertains him. The poison contained in food and wine only causes the demon to sink into sleep. Even a shot cannot harm him. Only when Jusupoff has fired the entire magazine of his pistol at him does the guest collapse dead.
“Superficially simplifying the script [...] decided to portray a life rich in scandals in a cinematic way. The action […] always proceeds with a noticeable jolt, in sequences of scenes that seem to be sewn together as if with rough stitches. There is no trace of the power of the "demonic" in Edmund Purdom either. In addition to the many Russian film décor, the badly treated German dialogue version has some banality to swallow. "
Program for the film published by Das Neue Film-Programm , Mannheim, without number
- rororo-Taschenbuch No. 6322 (1988), p. 3055