6.8/10
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A Royal Scandal (1945)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, History | 1 October 1945 (Sweden)
In 18th century Russia,the naive and idealistic lieutenant Chernov meets Empress Catherine the Great who becomes infatuated with him and appoints him Chief of the Imperial Guard.

Directors:

Otto Preminger, Ernst Lubitsch (uncredited)

Writers:

Edwin Justus Mayer (screenplay), Bruno Frank (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Tallulah Bankhead ... Catherine the Great
Charles Coburn ... Chancellor Nicolai Iiyitch
Anne Baxter ... Countess Anna Jaschikoff
William Eythe ... Lt. Alexei Chernoff
Vincent Price ... Marquis de Fleury
Mischa Auer ... Capt. Sukov
Sig Ruman ... Gen. Ronsky
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Malakoff
Mikhail Rasumny ... Drunken General
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Storyline

In 18th century Russia,a naive and idealistic lieutenant,Alexei Chernoff, deserts his unit and rushes to the Imperial Palace to warn Empress Catherine the Great of great dangers.Lieutenant Chernoff's fiancée,Countess Anna,is one of the ladies-in-waiting of the Empress.Upon forcing his way into the palace, lieutenant Chernoff meets Chancellor Nicolai Iiyitch who promises to convey Chernoff's warning to the Empress but Chernoff wants to meet the Empress in person.His fiancée is also surprised to see Chernoff inside the palace.When Chernoff finally meets the Empress,he's mesmerized by her personality and swears to give his life to protect her.Catherine is impressed by his sense of sacrifice,innocence,sincerity,loyalty and also by his good looks.Infatuated with him,she makes him her boy-toy,to Anna's dismay.Overnight,Chernoff is appointed Chief of the Imperial Guard and his rank is raised to captain,to major,to colonel,according to Empress Catherine's romantic mood. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Saucy! Naughty! Delicious!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1945 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Ernst Lubitsch's A Royal Scandal See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film of John Russell. See more »

Quotes

Chancellor Nicolai Iiyitch: I beg your majesty not to waste your precious energy. We have these minor revolutions every day.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This picture is about Catherine of Russia. Her people called her the "Mother of all all the Russias". Her biographers called her "the Great". Our story takes place at the time of her life when she was not so much of a mother but when she was especially great. See more »

Connections

Remake of Forbidden Paradise (1924) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A ROYAL SCANDAL (Otto Preminger and, uncredited, Ernst Lubitsch, 1945) **1/2
2 June 2011 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This was begun by Ernst Lubitsch (who also produced) but, after suffering a heart attack, handed over the directorial reins to Preminger (who eventually received sole credit for it!) – as would happen all over again 3 years later when Lubitsch died early on during the production of the Ruritanian Technicolor musical THAT LADY IN ERMINE (1948)! The film under review is actually a Talkie remake of Lubitsch's Silent success FORBIDDEN PARADISE (1924; which seems to be available solely via an incomplete print boasting Czech intertitles!). It is yet another movie dealing with the reign of Catherine II of Russia, known as "The Great"; however, this was made at Fox instead of Paramount (Lubitsch had been Head Of Production there at the time of Josef von Sternberg's magnificent THE SCARLET EMPRESS {1934}). The tone is very different, too: being a comic romantic soufflé as opposed to a flamboyant epic (even if the Queen's various dalliances were still a major plot point of the Sternberg movie), this one ostensibly offered pure wartime escapism…but the result is so flat as to be insulting (depicting potentates as fickle figures concerning themselves with frivolities and rewarding soldiers over their bedroom antics rather than military tactics was hardly wise under such precarious circumstances!), much more so in fact than the accusations of bad taste levelled at Lubitsch's satirical – but not unfeeling – masterpiece TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942)!

Despite the typical studio gloss, a most able cast (led by Tallulah Bankhead as a not-so-young Catherine, Charles Coburn as her wily Chancellor, William Eythe breaking into the Palace bearing old news{!} but remaining to become the Queen's new favorite, Anne Baxter in an ALL ABOUT EVE {1950} dry-run as her lady-in-waiting and catty rival for the latter's affections, Vincent Price as the fey French ambassador who spends almost the entire running-time waiting to be received by Catherine{!}, a typically pompous Sig Rumann as the high-ranking officer planning a coup d'etat, Mischa Auer as a flustered sentry and Vladimir Sokoloff as a Palace adjutant) and a script by Edwin Justus Mayer (who also wrote the afore-mentioned Nazi lampoon), the film looks decidedly claustrophobic, is filled with deliberately overstated performances, and comes across as distinctly heavy-handed. Whether all this is the humorless Preminger's doing, however, is hard to determine – since, it must also be said, the famed "Lubitsch Touch" is barely in evidence throughout! Mind you, the picture is not unamusing per se (though hardly as witty as one would have expected given some of the people involved!) and it clearly gets by on sheer professionalism alone: what I find inexcusable is that such money and talent were squandered on an essentially silly, empty charade – and an incessantly verbose one at that!


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