Monday, 30 September 2013

Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)

Rasputin is a humble monk, but he has a special gift: he is able to convince people to do as he says and carry out his wishes.  Oh, and he can drink anyone under the table.  So, by virtue of his ability to essentially hypnotise others, Rasputin leaves his monastery, and tries to make a name for himself in St. Petersberg, with eventual designs on ingratiating himself within the Royal Court.  Of course his rise to power makes enemies, some of which want him dead.

This is a fairly forgettable film, doubtlessly historically inaccurate, which is remarkable for only two things as far as I see it.  One: it was filmed back to back with Dracula: Prince of Darkness, using some of the same sets and cast.  Two: Christopher Lee.  He is completely mesmerising in this film, you really can’t take your eyes off him.  In the riotous role of Rasputin, Lee shows a confidence and bravado that never lets up, even to his final scene.  Whether he was directed to play the character like this or whether he just allowed his personality to shine through it doesn’t really matter - he is superb.  I don’t think I’ve seen him in another role where he just lets rip as much as he does here.

Erm, I think that’s about all there is to say.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.