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  1. #1
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    I've always been very impressed with the 1971 Oscar winner, Nicholas and Alexandra, which I've always regarded as a British film (even though it was filmed in Spain, it has an all British cast).



    I received my DVD of the film this morning, beautifully re-mastered in its original 2.35:1 CinemaScope / Panavision format and it's stunning to look at and listen to, a vast improvement on the old Cinema Club pan and scan video release of some years ago, which was cut by twenty minutes from the original running time of the film. Happily, the DVD restores the original footage missing from that video release.



    However, this is the Region 2 version received from amazon UK and does not contain the extras that I believe are on the Region 1 release available from amazon in the States, such as the original trailer and the making of documentary. Nevertheless, this will do me fine and I'm not going to send all the way to America for another copy just to get the extras that, let's face it, should be on both Region 1 and Region 2 releases anyway.



    A visually stunning; superbly acted film with some fine performances. Child actor Roderic Noble, who plays the young Crown Prince Alexei, is an absolute standout and I can't understand why this was his only film. Does anyone know how he came to be chosen for the role of Alexei and what became of him. He looks about 12 years old in the film, which was shot in late 1970 / early 1971, so he would be around 46 years of age by now. Even allowing for the presence in the film of such stalwarts as Laurence Oliver; Michael Redgrave and Eric Porter, you'll still come away remembering Roderic Noble's performance.



    However, Jack Hawkins, as a member of the Russian royal court, keeps calling people Mon Cher, which sounds positively French to me.



    For those not aquainted with this epic, it concerns the last 13 years of the Russian royal family, the Romanovs and covers the First World War and the Russian revolution, which led to Czar Nicholas the Second's abdication; the exile of the royal family (Czar and Czarina, their four daughters and invalid young son, Alexei), who we see going from living a life of luxury into poverty and degradation and final execution in the basement of a house in Ekaterinberg at the hands of Lenin's Bolsheviks. This final scene is as disturbing to watch today as it was 33 years ago and was a terrible and completely unnecessary act of cold-blooded murder. King George V was the cousin of Nicholas 11, but refused to grant the Czar and his family exile in England. A refusal to help that led to the murder of the Russian royal family.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    DAVID RAYNER:



    However, Jack Hawkins, as a member of the Russian royal court, keeps calling people “Mon Cher�, which sounds positively French to me.


    David - I saw the film when it first came out, haven't seen it since but I do remember how visually beautiful it looked. Re Jack Hawkins: there were many links between France and Russia - France and all things French were immensely fashionable - so I don't find the language surprising.



    Thanks for the reminder about the film



    rgds

    Rob

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: Wales David Challinor's Avatar
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    David - I too love this film and saw it at an early age. It's a shame Michael Jayston hasn't done more in the cinema... I'm sure you have, but have you read the book of the same name by Robert K Massie? Though I'm NOT one of those people who often say ''the film's OK but the book is better'' but in this case it's neck and neck! I holidayed in St Lucia four years ago and bought it before I flew out - I read it within a few days, and no, it wasn't due to bad weather.

    A question - I'm SURE the video, which I own, cut out a scene I worry I imagined when I was a teenage lad viewing on broadcast tv (in the good old 1970 when things were less cut). One of the beautiful princesses (FF?) reveals herself to one of the guards when the family is captive. Please tell me it's in the DVD version.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for putting me right, Rob. I don't know how far Jack Hawkins cancer had progressed by the time the film was being made, but it does seem to me that his voice was dubbed on this film...probably by Charles Gray.

  5. #5
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    Hi, David. No, I haven't been able to read a copy of the book yet, but I intend to try and get hold of a copy.



    I've just finished playing the DVD and the scene you mention where Tatiana (Lynne Frederick) exposes herself to the soldier is included in the DVD version. Although you don't see much, as, when she sees him oggling her and asks him if he wants to see her body, she opens her robe and then we see a view of her from behind, holding her robe open and him staring at her. I think this scene was included in a BBC late night transmission many years ago. But the BBC only ran the film once and the scene was cut from the video release.

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by DAVID RAYNER@Feb 2 2005, 01:05 PM

    Thanks for putting me right, Rob. I don't know how far Jack Hawkins cancer had progressed by the time the film was being made, but it does seem to me that his voice was dubbed on this film...probably by Charles Gray.
    Jack Hawkins had his voice box removed by the time he appeared in 'Great Catherine (1968)' so he was certainly dubbed after that (although I do have his final performance on DVD in the TV miniseries 'QB VII (1974)' and it seemed to me that he used his own gutteral burping speech for that based on the archive appearnce I've seen of him doing so on Simon Dee's BBC chat show).

  7. #7
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    I was doing some research on this film, came upon your site, and decided to join.



    I finally got around to trying to watch this excellent film again--I can't fault it, but it's really depressing for me. I became acquainted with the Romanovs when I read Richard Halliburton's 'Seven League Boots' when I was twelve or so. I think the story has haunted me ever since then.



    One of my favorite British stars (stars, in general, as a matter of fact) is the late Dirk Bogarde. I had forgotten he was in this film. I guess he didn't make that much of an impression on me as Trotsky when I saw it originally. Funny, although he's one of my favoites, I don't always like him in everything, this film included.



    My sister has always been a fan--she likes him in anything. I, on the other hand, much prefer his villains. He probably took more 'fun' in playing them. I'm speaking of 'Damn the Defiant' (or 'H.M.S. Defiant' in the U.K.). I particularly like him in 'The Damned,' which I have seen over and over.



    Has anyone ever discovered what happened to Roderic Noble? I think he was excellent as Alexis.



    There were some inaccuracies in this film, of course, as have been pointed out. At least, it was more factual than 'Rasputin and the Empress' in 1931 with John, Ethel, and Lionel Barrymore.



    Gary

  8. #8
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    name='Gary D.']



    One of my favorite British stars (stars, in general, as a matter of fact) is the late Dirk Bogarde. I had forgotten he was in this film. I guess he didn't make that much of an impression on me as Trotsky when I saw it originally. Funny, although he's one of my favoites, I don't always like him in everything, this film included Gary


    Sir Dirk is not in this movie, dear Gary, and Trotsky according to my memory was played by Brian Cox! A desperately worthy and turgid movie in my view.

  9. #9
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    Adrian --



    Now, that's embarrassing! Brian Cox, not Dirk Bogarde. Thanks for enlightening me. My sister recorded this movie together with 1938's 'Marie Antoinette' off TCM on the 'tragic royals' week. So, I didn't peruse the list of credits. On a cursory glance, Trotsky looked like Sir Dirk in poor make-up. A relief, because I don't like to not appreciate any of his performances.



    Thanks again. I shall be more careful in the future before commenting.



    Gary

  10. #10
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    I am rather curious, now that it has come out that the British Secret Service murdered Rasputin, I have to ask are you related to Oswald Rayner his assassin?



    And I too am curious as to what happened to Roderic Noble who played Alexei. He, as much as Tom Baker(who hands down was the best performance of all, as Rasputin), Michael Jayston and Janet Susman were the standouts in the movie. And, then, "poof" he was gone.

    I really curious what hand he was dealt by life. It would be understandable if he didn't have any talent but his performance here proves that's can't be it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    This film has just finished on BBC2. I missed it, yet again, but caught the end credits. An excellent cast. Apart from Michael Jayston, a great favourite, I was particularly interested to see Katharine Schofield and Man In The Suitcase actor Gordon Gostelow. How did they do in this film and were they in it for long?

  12. #12
    GRAEME
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    name='DAVID RAYNER']I've always been very impressed with the 1971 Oscar winner, Nicholas and Alexandra, which I've always regarded as a British film (even though it was filmed in Spain, it has an all British cast).




    Some credit should go to the fine American director Franklin Schaffner - of Planet of the Apes, Papillon and Patton fame...

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