Russia's Last Tsar
1989 | DOCUMENTARY
It is a fairy tale and a horror story all at once, and remembering it was all but forbidden...until now. The fabled Romanovs, led by handsome Nicholas II and the devout Empress Alexandra, ruled imperial Russia in high splendor, despite the disintegration of their divided, war-torn country. In 1918 the rise of communism violently collided with the rule of royalty when the tsar, his beloved wife, and their children were murdered and buried in a secret grave. In the new Soviet Union, history was rewritten and the gilded trappings of the Romanovs erased.
Now Robert Kenner tells the magnificent, tragic story of the Romanovs, using newly discovered photographs and rare film footage long locked away in official archives. Joyful scenes of Grand Duchess Anastasia winking at the camera on the royal yacht and doomed heir Alexei twirling in the snowy palace garden are juxtaposed with chilling, once secret footage of the family's bones being unearthed by Soviet authorities. The public majesty, private joys, and terrible fate of Romanovs are highlighted in extraordinary interviews with those who never stopped searching for the true story of Russia's Last Tsar.
"There have been a number of TV specials on Nicholas and Alexandra, but even if you've seen the others, don't miss this one-hour documentary brilliantly narrated by Jeremy Irons. Award-winning producer Robert Kenner has assembled a stunning and dramatic collection of film clips, interviews and Romanov family photographs. Grade: A."
"This spellbinding hour on the Romanovs gains immediacy from recently discovered photos: you can almost see the food in Rasputin's beard. Jeremy Irons adds his patented elegance as narrator, and subtle special effects make Tsar as equally glorious visual experience."