Rasputin the Mad Monk (1966)

UK, USA, 1965
91m
35mm, Cinemascope, color by DeLuxe, 2.35:1
mono, English

A British/American historical drama with horror overtones directed by Don Sharp. It was made back to back with another Hammer film, Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966), and released on a double bill with The Reptile (1966).

Plot Summary

Manipulative monk Grigori Yefimovitch Rasputin, blessed with the gift of healing, inveigles his way into the household of the Tsar by hypnotising Sonia, one of the Tsarina’s ladies-in-waiting. After healing the gravely ill heir to the Russian throne, Rasputin’s grip on the household tightens…

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Don Sharp
© MVMLXV [1965] Hammer Film Productions Ltd
A Seven Arts – Hammer production
Produced by: Anthony Nelson Keys
Screenplay by: John Elder [real name: Anthony Hinds]
Director of Photography: Michael Reed
Supervising Editor: James Needs
Editor: Roy Hyde
Music Composed by: Don Banks
Sound Recordist: Ken Rawkins
Wardrobe: Rosemary Burrows
Make-Up: Roy Ashton
Hair Stylist: Frieda Steiger
Production Designer: Bernard Robinson
Produced at Bray Studios, England

Cast
Christopher Lee (Rasputin)
Barbara Shelley (Sonia)
Richard Pasco (Dr Zargo)
Francis Matthews (Ivan)
Suzan Farmer (Vanessa)
Dinsdale Landen (Peter)
Renee Asherson (Tsarina)
Derek Francis (innkeeper)
Joss Ackland (Bishop)
Robert Duncan (Tsarvitch)
Alan Tilvern (patron)
John Welsh (abbot)
John Bailey (court physician)
Bartlett Mullins [wagonner] *
Michael Ripper [voice of wagonner] *
Mary Barclay [superior lady] *
Michael Cadman [Michael] *
Helen Christie [1st tart] *
Lucy Fleming [wide eyes] *
Michael Godfrey [doctor] *

Alternative Titles

Raspoutine, le moine fou – France
Rasputin – Der wahnsinnige Mönch – Germany
Rasputin Il monaco folle – Italy
Rasputin – riivattu munkki – Finland
Rasputín – Spain
Rasputin, der wahnsinnige Mönch – Germany (DVD)
Rasputin, o daimon tis Rossias – Greece

Extracts included in
The Many Faces of Christopher Lee (1995)
The World of Hammer: Hammer Stars: Christopher Lee (1994)

Press

1966
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.33 no.387 (April 1966) p.63
The Rasputin legend is enough of a blend of historical fact and embroidered myth to merit something more than this undistinguished melodrama has to offer. Don Sharp’s direction makes little attempt to capture the essence of the crumbling splendour of the Tsarist court, and Christopher Lee’s towering presence is at odds with the ordinariness of the script. Only in the final sequence, with Rasputin pacing restlessly round a room picking at a box of poisoned chocolates while his assassins cower in the shadows, has any life injected into the proceedings. For the most part the film moves at a determinedly leisurely pace, never getting anywhere near the real Rasputin. And we are reminded that this is a Hammer production by gratuitous shots of a hacked-off hand and a face scarred by acid burns. The sets have an artificial gloss, the interiors are shot in garish colours, and with the exception of Richard Pasco, who lends some depth to his performance as Rasputin’s drunken doctor colleague, the players parade round the settings like a row of sore thumbs. – from an uncredited review

References

Periodicals

  • British National Film Catalogue vol.4 (1966) – credits, synopsis
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.12 p.7
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.24 p.53
  • Cinefantastique vol.1 no.1 (Fall 1970) p.20 – credits, review
  • The Daily Cinema no.9180 (16 February 1966) p.6 – review
  • Dark Terrors no.3 p.16 – note
  • Dark Terrors no.4 (July/August 1992) pp.22-28 – illustrated credits, production notes
  • Flesh and Blood no.5 (September 1995) p.18 – illustrated credits, article
  • Hammer Horror no.2 (April 1995) pp.16-20 – illustrated interview
  • Hammer Horror no.4 (June 1995) pp.22-33 – illustrated credits,article, review
  • Kine Weekly no.3047 (24 February 1966) p.14 – review
  • Mad Movies no.1 (June 1972) p.unpaginated – credits, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.33 no.387 (April 1966) p.63 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Shivers no.18 p.15 – review
  • Sight & Sound vol.5 no.6 (June 1995) p.62 – note
  • Variety 27 April 1966 – credits, review
  • Video Watchdog no.42 pp.33-34 – review

Books

  • The Christopher Lee Filmography by Tom Johnson and Mark A. Miller pp.152-155
  • The Cult Films of Christopher Lee by Jonathan Sothcott pp.102-111
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.145, 150, 382
  • The Films of Christopher Lee by Robert W. Pohle and Douglas C. Hart pp.108-109
  • Good Versus Evil in the Films of Christopher Lee by Paul Leggett pp.77-86; 168
  • Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company by Howard Maxford pp.668-670 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Lord of Misrule (new edition) by Christopher Lee pp.222-223, 305
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.393 – credits
  • Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark and Bryan Senn pp.339-341
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith p.184