The Rise of Catherine the Great

Synopsis: In 1745 a German princess, renamed Catherine, arrives to marry Grand Duke Peter of Russia, whom she initially likes. But his suspicious, unstable nature gradually estranges them, and Peter finds solace with pretty courtiers. Catherine invents her own (fictitious) lovers, temporarily improving matters. Alas, accession to the throne brings out the worst in Peter, and loyal Catherine is urged to assume power.
Genre: Biography, Drama
Production: Criterion Collection
95 min

I won't marry her, and you can do

whatever you like about it!

- Peter! Peter!

- Your heart. Your Majesty!

Quick, the doctor!

Bring some vinegar.

- What is it?

- I think I'd better inquire, madam.

- What happened?

- The empress fainted.

- The grand duke doesn't want to marry the girl.

- A family scandal.

He doesn't want her.

Her Majesty has fainted, and His Highness

has retired to his apartment.

I'll, uh... I'll try to find out

what has happened.

Excuse me.

It's all over.

We can pack our bags.

- Why?

- The grand duke doesn't want you.

- Why?

- I don't know.

Perhaps you're not

good-looking enough.

But, Mother,

he's not even seen me.


Go to the grand duke...

and tell him he either marries

the Princess Anhalt-Zerbst at once...

or he thinks it over in a fortress.

In six months time

I will ask him again.

I'll see the empress.

This marriage is her idea.

- She must bring this young man to reason.

- Oh, no, Mother.

You won't do that.

You can't force him to marry me.

Oh, no. Please, let's go home.

Let's go home immediately, I beg of you.

- I'll see the empress.

- Mother. Mother, please!

I won't stay, Mother.

Offiicer! Offiicer!

Please show me the way out.

- Out where?

- Out! Out of the palace.

Out of the town.

Out of the whole barbarian country.

- Why? What's happened?

- He insulted me!

- Who?

- The Grand Duke Peter.

- Oh, that fellow.

- You know him?

- Oh, yes, I know him.

- Oh, then perhaps you know

why he refuses to marry me?

Why he refuses even to see me?


Well, perhaps they suggested

some other German princesses to him.


Maybe he prefers one of them.

- Which one?

- Well, there's the Mecklenburg princess.

- Oh, that's impossible.

- Why?

Because she has a cavalry mustache

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Lajos Biró


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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Rise of Catherine the Great" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 11 Apr. 2021. <>.

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