Nicholas & Alexandra, the last of the Romanovs

I was watching the film "Nicholas & Alexandra" on Friday afternoon.

It just reminds me of the fact that I have never studied that period of history properly. My elder son is however; his History "A" Level course has spent three terms studying modern Russian ( & hence Soviet History). This is what attracted him, as the school has for many years visited Russia, sadly for his year, they decided to stop it. Actually the film was made in 1971 at the height of the cold war and is very dated in its production values, let alone its politics. The film is made after Massie's book of the same name and his story is told as a great personal drama. The film does better at trying to cover the social movements vying to modernise the Tsarist state, but its nearly 35 years old and was made only three years after the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia.

There are two great scenes I really enjoy! The first is at an editorial board meeting of "Iskra" (it might have been "Pravda"), the newspaper of the Bolshevik party prior to the 1st World War. Lenin says, "Who wrote this rubbish? Obviously you Trotsky?", thus distilling the fifty year argument that split the world's Left to one line of personal trivia. Secondly, Lenin arrives at the Finland Station, St. Petersburg (famously aided by the German Imperial Government) where in the film to the backdrop of (probably inaccurately) the Marseillaise, he calls for "Revolution!. Revolution Now!". Now there's a transitional programme! - You don't get writing like this any more. :). Here is a web site with sheet music and audio files for the Marseillaise.

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