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The Rise of Catherine the Great
Directed by Paul Czinner • 1934 • United Kingdom
A quick-witted and compelling dramatization of the troubled marriage of Catherine II (played by German actress Elisabeth Bergner, in her English-language debut) to Peter III (a randy Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and her subsequent ascension to the throne as Empress of Russia. With its luxurious renderings of the eighteenth-century St. Petersburg royal court and its nearly screwball evocation of Catherine and Peter's teasing relationship, THE RISE OF CATHERINE THE GREAT was a wise and worthy follow-up to HENRY VIII.