1934 / 104m - USA
Drama, Romance
The Scarlet Empress poster


May 21, 2023


A classic Dietrich film. She may have been a striking actress in her time, but her taste in films hasn't really convinced me yet. The Scarlet Empress is a pretty gaudy, sentimental drama that lives somewhere between silent cinema and the early talkies, failing to find a good balance.

Catherine, a young German princess, is forced to wed Peter, heir to the Russian throne. She reluctantly accepts her fate, but she vigilantly refuses to bear his child. When Russia finds itself in a conflict with Poland, Catherine sees her chance to get rid of Peter and seize control over the throne.

The cinematography has its moments, but the soundtrack is a real mood killer, and the acting is pretty terrible, relying on expressiveness as if Sternberg was still making silents. The plot isn't too interesting either unless you're interested in Russian history. Not my kind of film.