Rasputin The Mad Monk (1966) 3/5
This film is a fictional account of the real life Grigori Rasputin.
Christopher Lee is commanding as the peasant-mystic who we first encounter when he uses his healing powers to save an innkeeper’s wife. He then heads for St.Petersburg, where he begins a campaign to gain influence over the Tsarina.
He uses her lady-in-waiting Sonia (Hammer favourite Barbara Shelley) to both satisfy his sexual appetite and gain access to the royal family, the latter he does by putting her in a trance and instructing her to injure the Tsar’s son and heir so he can then heal him.
Oh go on then, I like your beard.
Once ingratiated into the royal household (told you) having no more need of Sonia, he instructs her to commit suicide. Like an obedient girl she does.
She likes his beard.
As his influence and power grows, he begins to make enemies, and eventually two of these plan to murder him. After luring him to a meeting, they give him poisoned chocolates and wine. When these aren’t enough to kill him, there is a struggle, and he is pushed through a window to his death.
This was one film that I never really fancied, despite Lee and Shelley being in it, but it was okay. Probably wouldn’t watch it again though. Unless I should look into those eyes…
(I must add, that when I was writing this post, my autocorrect kept changing the title to Rasputin The Mad Mink. It amused me no end-filling me with a whirlwind image of fur and saliva and teeth. If Hammer did Natural History programmes…)