The Scarlet Empress (1934) Script

How often do I have to tell you that Sophia Frederica is no longer to play with toys?

She's almost seven now. Don't smoke in here. The child's sick.

I work and I scheme day and night to arrange an advantageous marriage someday, and you undo everything.

How am I to make it clear to you that Sophia might one day become a queen?

I don't want to be a queen, Mother. I want to be a toe dancer.

Be quiet, Sophia. You're going to marry a king if I have anything to do with it.

Stick out your tongue, Your Highness, and say "ahh."


Not as bad as I thought.

We'll build her a nice harness, and she'll have to wear it for about a year.

Put those toys away. I don't want to see them again.

And you'll grow up to be a tall and beautiful woman someday.

Now I must be off on one of my operations.

Don't let them frighten you, darling.

"A nice harness." What is he, a horse doctor?

You flatter him. Our learned medico is going to perform one of his operations with an ax.

He's the public hangman. Hangman?

What's a hangman? Can I become a hangman someday?

Your Highness, a hangman is an executioner, the man who takes heads off skillfully.

Sometimes that curious profession becomes the sport of tyrants.

As a matter of fact, I was about to read to you of Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible, and other Russian tsars and tsarinas who were hangmen.

Stop walking, August. You make me nervous.

Your Highness! Your Highness!

Your Highness!

Your Highness, a letter from the king.

Your father wishes to see you at once.

Sit down, my child.

We have been honored with a communication from His Majesty which concerns you principally.

"We, by divine grace, Frederick, King of Prussia, have, after a series of negotiations, decided to honor your family by selecting your daughter, Sophia Frederica, to forthwith set out for Russia and there to become the bride of His Serene Highness, Peter Fyodorovich, grandson of Peter the Great, nephew of Her Imperial Majesty, and heir presumptive to the throne.

Within the week, an emissary will arrive to escort your daughter and her mother, Princess Johanna Elizabeth, to the court at Moscow.

Please inform her that she is to follow dutifully the advice of Her Majesty's ambassador and extend to her, as well as to your entire family, my fond greetings and affections.

Fredericus Rex."

Grand duchess of Russia.

Not bad for this family.

I wonder what he looks like.

That unimportant detail can be settled when the Russian ambassador gets here.

Come, August. We shall reply to the king at once.

One must strike while the iron's hot. You're coming with me.

This is the countess Cecilia, a cousin on my mother's side.

And this, her sister, Maria.

And this...

Your Highness may now come down.

This is Count Alexei, field marshal of the Russian army, grand master of the hunt, lord of the chamber and ambassador extraordinary from Her Divine Majesty, Elizabeth of Russia.

This is my daughter Sophia.

Although for a long time we've heard a great deal about your beauty, Your Highness, I must confess, I was not quite prepared to see such a vision of loveliness.

Her Majesty instructed me to present a few gifts as evidence of her graciousness.

Come here.

This pipe is for you, Prince August.

These sables are to keep your shoulders warm.

These gloves are to keep your hands warm.

This robe is to keep your feet warm.

These hot-water bottles, to keep Mother warm.

Is it then still so cold in Russia, Your Excellency?

Indeed, Your Highness, the rivers are still frozen, and will be until some time after we've arrived.

Her Majesty also asked me to give you this token of her esteem.

Convey to her my profoundest thanks.

Isn't Her Imperial Majesty beautiful. How long will the journey take?

If weather permits, we should reach Moscow in seven weeks, where Her Majesty is impatiently awaiting us.

And when does Your Excellency require that the journey be begun?

I should like to start the day after tomorrow, unless it is the desire of this charming young lady to leave at once to meet her anxious bridegroom.

Did you bring me a portrait of the grand duke? I'm sorry, I did not.

Would you like him to be handsome? Isn't he?

Would you like him to be better-looking than all other men, and tall, and gracious?

Yes, I think I would. Well, he is all that and more.

He's the handsomest man in the Russian court, tall and formed like a Greek god, a model in fashion and deportment which all of us strive to follow.

Are you eager to see him? Yes.

His eyes are like the blue sky, his hair the color of ebony.

He is stronger than a team of oxen, and sleepless because of his desire to receive you in his arms.

And he can also read and write.

So can my daughter. She can also cook and sew and make her own bed if she has to.

Can't you, Sophia? But I don't like to make my own bed, Mother.

Don't speak unless you're questioned. You did question me, Mother.

Say good night, my child, and go back to your room and go to sleep.

Good night, Father.

Good night, Sophia.

Good night, Your Excellency. Good night, my little princess.

Good night, Mother. Good night.

Good night, Auntie. Good night.

Good night. Good night.

Good night.

Well, this is unexpected.

Your daughter is extremely charming and will be by far the most beautiful woman at Her Majesty's court.

I'd be grateful, Your Excellency, if you were not to turn her head.

She's been brought up carefully and is unspoilt, and I've also taught her not to flirt.

You're going on a far journey, Sophia, and I may never see you again.

I want you to remember what I've taught you.

Always to be honest and truthful, to be a faithful wife and a loyal subject of your new country.

Be kind to those who are in your service and obedient to your husband and your superiors, and strive at all times to be worthy of your glorious destiny.

Another day like this, and I'll fall apart.

When I return, I'll complain to the king about the state of his roads.

Yes, the roads are pretty bad, aren't they?

When we reach the border, there will be snow and we shall change to sleds.

Your rooms are ready, Your Royal Highness. Can I show them to you?

Yes, you may. I'm prepared for the worst.

Is the journey proving too much for you too?

Oh, no. It could go on forever, if Mother didn't mind.

Be careful with that knife. You'll cut your beautiful hand.

Your hand is beautiful, isn't it?

Why did you do that? Because I've fallen in love with you.

And now you may punish me for my effrontery.

I deserve punishment far more than you do.

We must never do this again. It's disloyal to my future husband.

Disloyal? It's treason, and I must be careful in the future.

But you must help me by not exciting me with your beautiful eyes.

I told you not to look at me.

What are you two doing down there? Don't answer me. I don't want to know.

Sophia, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You will instantly follow me to our rooms.

Incidentally, our rooms are beneath all contempt, Your Excellency.

I want you to know that the stables are probably better than the quarters that you've assigned to us.

I'm sorry, Your Highness. The horses are tired.

But if you prefer the stables, I can arrange to have the horses quartered in your bedroom.


You're going to sleep in my room tonight.

It is cold. At least you have something to warm you when you get to Moscow.

That is, if your husband isn't completely made of ice.

A basket of fruit with Her Majesty's compliments, and these flowers from His Imperial Highness, the grand duke, who instructed me to ride day and night for a week to be here in time.

Welcome home, Your Excellency. We've missed you.

So, this is Little Sophie. Sophia Frederica.

Hardly a name for a future empress. You don't like your name, do you?

I do, Your Imperial Majesty.

You will be called Catherine Alexina, a good Russian name.

We've arranged a special ceremony next week to receive you into our church.

Haven't we, Simeon? Yes, little mother, we've arranged a ceremony.

Come here.

So, this is the mother. You've raised a pretty child.

Your Imperial Majesty, I've come to lay at your feet feelings of the deepest gratitude for the benefactions which your bounty has heaped upon my house, and of which many instances are given me at every step I take into Your Majesty's realms.

Tush, tush! A pretty speech.

What I have done is nothing in comparison with what I shall do.

My own blood is no more dear to me than yours.

Is that the grand duke? Shh.

This is the order of Saint Catherine.

May you both wear it in good health. Be careful it doesn't scratch you.

Don't stand around here doing nothing. Pin this on Catherine. Get up.

What do you think of Catherine? I can only admire your judgment, Your Majesty.

That's the chancellor.

Steals more money from me in a week than I can collect in taxes in a year.

Doctor, come here.

What do you think of my taste in women, Doctor? Looks healthy, doesn't she?

Just what we need to breed sons for Russia.

With your permission, Your Highness.

How was the journey? Comfortable? Yes, Your Majesty.

Are you happy to be here?

Yes, Your Majesty.

Are you going to love your new country? Yes, Your Majesty.

Do you promise to be a loyal subject? Yes, Your Majesty.

Don't make too many new friends, and no intrigue and gossip.

I have my hands full now.

Perfect, Your Imperial Majesty. She will give us no trouble.

Your Highness.

Someday I'll have every doctor thrown out of the country.

And now, Catherine, before you go to your rooms, is there any wish I can grant you?

I would like to see the grand duke.

His Imperial Highness, Grand Duke Peter.

That's a fine way to receive your bride. I suppose you had more important things to do.

I told you to be here on time. Now go on. Kiss each other.

Now remember, Catherine, the first child must be a boy.

That's why we had you brought here... to provide Russia with an heir to the throne.

A fine, bouncing, healthy heir.

You understand me, Catherine?

These are your ladies-in-waiting.

They represent illustrious houses of our most important domains.

Step forward, Natacha.

She is the daughter of Prince Dolgoruki. Natacha, come here.

This is your mistress of the wardrobe. She has charge of the beds and of the laces.

I must show her my new invention.

I'm in a hurry. I must witness an execution.

I suggest that you wait in the next room.

Perhaps I shouldn't have lied to you.

Forgive me, won't you?

His Imperial Highness sent me for his soldiers.

I hope I haven't disturbed you.

That's Countess Varonsoff.

She's always picking up the grand duke's soldiers, which I'm beginning to suspect he leaves intentionally.

Don't bother. Don't bother. Go on with your work.

Doesn't Sophia... I mean, Catherine... look beautiful?

I always forget the new name.

And just see what's being done to her hair.

That's exactly what I'm looking at.

How's she going to wear the headdress? Where is the headdress? Where is the headdress?

Where is the headdress?

We must make you very beautiful, Catherine, very, very beautiful, so that my nephew will fall in love with you.

I expect you two to behave like lovebirds so that Russia will have an heir to the throne.

And remember, Catherine, I want a boy, not a girl.

Nothing less than a boy will do.

We don't want any more women on the throne.

But, Your Imperial Majesty, what would we have done if you had been born a boy?

I would have had less trouble in Russia if I'd been born a man instead of woman.

We women are too much creatures of the heart. Aren't we, Catherine?

Yes, Your Majesty.

"Grant them of the fruit of their bodies fair children, concord of soul and body.

Exalt them like the cedars of Lebanon.

Like a luxuriant vine, give them seed in number like full ears of grain that they may abound in every work that is good and acceptable unto thee.

And let them behold their children's children, like a newly planted olive orchard, round about their table that, obtaining favor in thy sight, they may shine like the stars of heaven."

Blessed be this bed.

Your Imperial Majesty, before the bridal pair retire, I wish to propose a toast to Her Imperial Highness, the Grand Duchess Catherine.

May our new bride from far away be forever happy and learn to know the love we have in our Russian hearts for her and the hope this vast, imperishable empire has for an heir to the throne.

You have made me very happy today, Catherine, and I hope you will continue to make me happy.

Now I'm going to bed. I'm very tired.

And I know that most of you... are...

are also very tired.

May I inquire how Her Imperial Highness deigns to feel this morning?

Her Highness feels as well as can be expected... after her romantic marriage.

And how is His Excellency?

His Excellency is very distressed because you've been avoiding him for an eternity.

I haven't been avoiding you. You have.

I've tried again and again to see you alone and you've made it impossible.

If you must know, I haven't had enough time to quite recover from the shock of finding my husband a trifle different than you described him.

I had a duty to my country and a loyalty to my sovereign.

Had I described the grand duke... correctly, you might not have come here.

I would have obeyed my mother even if you had told the truth.

How could I have known of such a degree of filial respect?

Anyway, I would have taken no chances, because from the moment I saw you, I wanted you to come to Russia.

Please, be careful. My husband will be told.

Your husband doesn't mean a thing to you.

He does. I'll always be faithful to him.

Don't be absurd. Those ideas are old-fashioned. This is the 18th century.

But I'm not a Russian. I'm going now.

I told you I wanted to see you alone, and I won't wait any longer.

I'll be at the stables tomorrow morning when you go for your ride.

Maybe I won't care to ride anymore.

In any event, I'll be there, and you'd better be there too.

I will not. And furthermore, I'm going to tell my mother all about you.

One moment more, Your Imperial Highness.

On the reverse side of this miniature is a diamond. Don't lose the diamond.

What are you doing here, sneaking around like a ghost?

I hate my wife. You hate your wife?

You've only been married for a week. Why?

You'll make a fine emperor someday, you idiot.

You don't even know that you can't force a woman to be sweet to you.

She's only a child. Be patient with her.

You know our people are waiting for you to raise a family.

They don't care whether you like her or not. I don't want her.

I picked her for your wife, and your wife she will remain as long as I live.

Get that into your skull. You're man enough to manage your own affairs.

I don't want to hear any more about it. Do you understand me?

Her Majesty is waiting for you in the council chamber.

War with Finland? Yes, Your Excellency.

How is Her Majesty? The last few days she's turned sour.

Like milk that's been standing too long.

Your Highness is so happy this morning. You can't be going to see your husband.

Dear me, my husband. I'd forgotten I have a husband.

No, I'm not going to see my husband.

If Your Highness were not so new to our court, I'd suspect you were going to see your lover.

Lover? And what may a lover be?

A lover's a man, not a husband, who loves you with all his heart and whom you love in return.

But, Marie, that's wicked.

Don't tell me that yo u have a lover. I wish I had.

Here, everyone has a lover. Everyone but me.

Oh, Marie, not everyone. Her Exalted Majesty can't possibly have a lover.

What about the young man who's always with Her Majesty?

Why do you suppose she leans on him so heavily? Because she's weak in the knees?

Oh, how shocking. If anyone should hear us! Go on, get my dress.

Your Highness won't tell anyone. The empress is an old devil when she's angry.

Of course I won't tell anyone. Nor do I believe such nonsense.

And neither have I a lover. I'm happy because I'm going to see my mother.

Your mother? I thought that you knew. Knew what?

Your mother left for Germany. Her carriage set out at midnight.

But that's impossible. You must be joking. I'm not joking.

Her Majesty ordered her to return immediately.

But she didn't say good-bye to me.

That's not possible.

Her Majesty's in council. No one's allowed to enter.

No order in this palace is intended for me.

Why did you send my mother away? What wrong had she done?

I don't remember sending for you.

I want to know why you sent my mother away.

You presume to question me?

Exactly who do you think you are, bursting into a conference as though the palace were on fire?

So you want to know why I sent your mother away.

Well, I'll tell you why.

I sent your mother away because she didn't bring you up properly.

I was told that you were an obedient and respectful child.

Well, you're nothing of the sort!

Why do you think I had you brought from Germany? To give you these pearls?

Or to make you a grand duchess of the Holy Russian Empire?

I had you brought here to be an obedient wife and to supply my country with a much-needed heir to the throne.

Take Her Imperial Highness, the grand duchess, and turn her over to my mistress of the robes with the instructions that from this minute on she's to be attached to my personal staff where I can keep her under my eye, where I can educate her and teach her what it means to be a Russian wife and how to accept the embraces of a husband like a Russian wife!

Now, get out, both of you. I have a war on my hands.

Looking for someone?

Oh, you frightened me.

I've only a minute. I ran away.

I came down to tell you not to wait.

I must go now.

Is that all you came to tell me?

What else is there to tell?

If you come closer, I'll scream.

It will be easier for you to scream without a straw in your mouth.

Get up! Get up!

Why are there six places here tonight? What's the occasion?

You asked me this morning to arrange a dinner for the French and Austrian ambassadors and their wives.

Send them home and tell them to come for breakfast.

I never did like these diplomatic functions. They lead to nothing.

I quite agree, Your Imperial Majesty.

Don't any of you think I'm going to eat with a lot of dried-up mummies every night.

Boris, sit down there.

Alexander, sit over there.

You, sit there.


Your Majesty. Catherine.

Take his toys.

Michael, sit there. Paul!

Your Majesty. Oh, go on. Sit down.

Now, the rest of you get out. Get out! Get out!

The pig, Your Majesty.

Put it down and don't make so much fuss about it.

The way you handle that pig, you'd think it was the only one in Russia.

The wine, Your Majesty. Fill up the glasses and get out.

What are you pouting for? You're not jealous of Paul, are you?

He isn't jealous of you, is he?

You look exhausted, Paul. What's the matter?

I'm sorry, Your Majesty. I'm tired. My wife gave birth to a child yesterday.

Boy or girl? A boy, beloved empress.

What the wife of a guard can do should certainly be easy for a grand duchess.

Remind me to give you a purse of gold tomorrow.

Those of you who have boys in your families, raise your hand.

Exactly what I thought!

A few more like you, and Russia need never worry about her enemies.

What's this, Alexei? Sending notes to the grand duchess?

Do you want me to send you into exile?

Or shall I tell the grand duchess that you're a notorious heartbreaker and have broken every woman's heart in this court, including mine?

You're very flattering tonight, Your Imperial Majesty, but the note contains nothing of importance.

Then suppose you read it.

"We are all very much disturbed over your conduct and wish you would change your behavior so that Her Gracious Majesty might forgive you."

Who else can read here?

You read it, Catherine.

I know you can read because my reports say you foolishly spend your time in bed reading books!

"We are all very much upset at, uh... at... and hope you will behave better, so that you may be forgiven by the empress."

Send for the chancellor!

Your Imperial Majesty? Read this for me.

"You must help me to see you alone again.

You are being watched so closely that all my efforts to meet you for a few precious seconds are in vain."

So, you're up to your old tricks again.

And right under my nose too. Well, forget about her.

She's reserved for my nephew and being taught how to earn his love first before wasting her favors on others.

Go back to your dinner. It's the first time you've been of use to me in a year.

And as for you, look after my friends and see that they're fed well.

Did you hear what I said?

Sit down, you fools, or I'll send you to Siberia.

She may be a grand duchess to the rest of the world, but in here she's being taught how to be a Russian wife!

Catherine, where are you? Take off my boots!

Go outside and send the others away. Everybody!

I want to be alone tonight.

Her Majesty wishes to be alone tonight.

You wouldn't think that once I had skin like velvet.

Empress! Bah! I haven't even the power to iron out a single wrinkle.

What are you looking at?

That must be Peter.

Go see if it is, and tell him to come here at once.

Your Imperial Highness, Her Majesty wishes to see you at once.

What the devil do you mean, poking holes in my bedroom?

I... I wanted to watch my wife.

Watching your wife won't give you an heir to the throne.

The next time I catch you providing my rooms with needless ventilation, I'll have you flogged.

I'll catch my death of a draft someday!

Go back to your rooms and wait for your wife. Go on!

This is all your fault.

I had hoped by bringing you to Russia to make a man of that half-wit!

I'm sorry to intrude, Your Imperial Majesty, but I think the grand duke dropped one of his soldiers in here.

Thank you. Good night.

Wait a minute. Come here.

How long have you been at this court picking up soldiers?

Two years and a half, Your Imperial Majesty.

I fail to recall your exact duties here, Countess Elizabeth.

I'm in charge of the entertainment for His Imperial Highness, the grand duke.

And exactly how far is it to your home, Lizzie?

My ancestral home is in the province of Astrakhan, about two weeks' journey from Moscow.

Not as far as I had hoped.

I think His Imperial Highness has been entertained long enough.

Do you understand me? I don't want to see you around here again. Now get out.

She won't snoop around here anymore.

I should have thrown her out before I had you brought here.

Come here, Catherine. Sit down.

Haven't you given me trouble enough?

Are you going to behave like an obedient wife, or must I continue to treat you like a stubborn child?

I don't care what you do with me.

You might change your mind about that.

You're in love with His Excellency, Count Alexei, aren't you?

No, Your Majesty, I'm not.

I'm not.

It's a good thing you're not. I wouldn't advise you to become my rival.

Rival? What does Your Majesty mean?

You will find out soon enough. In the meantime, you can blow out the candles.

Before you retire, you can be of one more service.

Behind my mirror, a concealed passage will lead you down a flight of stairs to another door.

Behind that door you will find someone waiting to come up.

I don't want him to see you, so be careful.

Good night, Your Majesty.

Good night, Catherine.

And you don't need to report for duty until late tomorrow.

Halt! Who goes there?

Nobody. Just a minute, my little hen.

That's not the password for tonight. You'd better think up another one.

Come along to the guardhouse, and we'll find out who you are.

You're entirely too good-looking to be running around like this.

What are you hiding back there?

Take your hands off me, you insolent fool!

I'm Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia.

Come, now, Don't take advantage of me. This is my first night on duty.

The grand duchess isn't permitted out at night. Tell me who you are.

I told you who I am.

Oh, come now. Stop joking.

If you're the grand duchess, then I am the grand duke.

I wish you were!

If I were the grand duke and you were the grand duchess, I wouldn't let you prowl through the night like this, like a pretty little kitten.

Suppose I didn't want to tell you who I really am. What would happen?

On a night like this anything might happen, if I'm fortunate.

Well, Lieutenant, you are fortunate.

Very fortunate.

Twenty! Twenty-one!

It's a boy!

Have you noticed, Your Majesty, how the imperial duckling resembles his father?

Hush, hush, enough of this.

Now, you keep an eye on him.

I don't want anyone to go near him unless I know about it, not even his mother.

I had enough trouble getting him.

If he catches cold or sniffles just once, I'll have you hung by the ears!

If he coughs, I'll have you cut in half!

And if anyone touches him, I'll have you shot!

Your Imperial Majesty, I beg of you not to become excited.

You've been ill for weeks. This turmoil will weaken you.

Don't any of you think I'll give you the pleasure of seeing me die.

I'll outlive all of you, you sinister buzzards.

All of you!

We've been glad with rejoicing. Your Imperial Highness!

I suppose you, too, want to congratulate me as the father of the heir to the throne of Russia.

That was my intention, Your Imperial Highness.

And I bring you the felicitations of my nation and my own personal congratulations on so glorious an event.

Yes, I know. Tell me about it some other time.

I want to be alone, do you hear? Get out, all of you!

I'm crammed up to my neck with congratulations!

Get out! And if you must congratulate someone, congratulate my wife!

May I speak with Her Imperial Highness?


The empress joins her people in congratulating Your Imperial Highness on the birth of a male heir to the throne of Russia.

We all hope that you will recover quickly so that you may wear this jewel, which Her Majesty is pleased to present to you as a sign of her most extraordinary joy and satisfaction.

Sit down, ladies. Sit down.

Your Excellency, what can I do for you?

Will you please ask Her Imperial Highness once more if she will grant me an audience?

I'm sorry, Your Excellency.

We have orders from Her Imperial Highness not even to mention your name to her.

Then perhaps you will convey to Her Imperial Highness that I've been waiting for some time now to congratulate her on the great historic event of providing our country with a much-needed heir to the throne.

I'm certain that history was far from her mind at the time, Your Excellency.

Her Majesty is very ill, and her days are numbered.

Soon she will be no more, poor soul, and another maniac will become our emperor.

It will be a bad day for Russia, and for me if I live that long.

Why are you telling this to me?

I suppose you know that the grand duke isn't exactly pleased with the present state of affairs.

State of affairs? What affairs?

I haven't had an affair for some time.

I know that the grand duke plans to remove you from court... or worse, as soon as he is in power.

You need have no fear for me.

Now that I've learned how Russia expects me to behave, I like it here.

And I intend to stay, grand duke or no grand duke.

We all hope you will stay, and I for one, at the risk of my neck, would like to help you.

How could yo u be of help?

I control enough of the political machine to carry some weight in a crisis.

I have no wish to share in any petty conspiracy.

Should it become unavoidable, I think I have weapons that are far more powerful than any political machine.

I'm afraid you don't know Russians, my child.

That's possible, Father, but I'm taking lessons as fast as I can.

Right here, gentlemen.

What a lovely target.

You're looking quite well, Catherine, since you provided me with an unexpected addition... to the family.

Thank you, Peter. It's nice to see you again.

Come to think of it, I'd like you to meet someone who's come for an extended visit.

What are you doing here? Back to the barracks!

Get out!

Come along, Catherine.

What do you think of this decapitation?

It would be more amusing if it were real. Where's your visitor?

Oh, it's Lizzie. Is she in charge of your entertainment again?

What will Her Majesty say?

Her Majesty doesn't know anything about it, and I wouldn't advise you to tell her.

I wouldn't dream of telling the empress anything.

She has her own system of spies.

Besides, not for the world would I interfere with your pleasures, as long as you don't interfere with mine.

How is Astrakhan, Lizzie? Or was it Afghanistan?

If you're wise, you'll find out for yourself before it's too late.

There's some very comfortable convents along the way, and all you have to do to gain admission is shave your head.

It's good for the scalp anyway.

Entirely too many men love my hair.

And I have no intention of changing my residence.

Anyway, this country will soon need a new empress.

You may as well know that Peter's going to marry me when the old bat dies and as soon as he gets rid of his present wife!

There you are, you old crow. Dead as a doornail at last.

What have you got to say about it? Open your mouth if you can.

In another week, it'll be full of ice.

In another month, not a soul will mourn for you.

In another year, you'll be forgotten.

Where is all your power?

It's mine now.

Do you hear me?

Take it away from me if you can. It's my turn now.

Who is this officer? Orlov, Your Majesty.

Captain in charge of the barracks.

Your Majesty, your visit here is the greatest honor in my life.

I've heard a good deal about you, Captain... from the ladies.

I didn't expect to see you here, Your Excellency.

Why not, Your Majesty? This is my pet regiment.

You look ravishing.

Now, there's another good-looking soldier.

Come here, Lieutenant. What's your name?

Dmitri, Your Majesty.

And your duties, Dmitri?

In charge of the night watch, Your Majesty.

It must be cold at night... sometimes.

Sometimes, Your Majesty.

Anyway, I'm certain you're very efficient, Lieutenant.

Is he, Captain? Tell me something about him.

He's very efficient, Your Majesty.

He came to join our regiment about a year ago from the Swedish front, where he fought bravely for about two years.

He's also distinguished himself by exemplary bravery on the Turkish border.

This should have been brought to our attention before.

I can't understand why such a brave man hasn't been decorated.

His Excellency doesn't mind?

Not if Her Majesty will tell me why she continues to avoid me.

Her Majesty will tell you tonight, if you will call on her.

With pleasure, Your Majesty.

For bravery in action.

See that you do justice to it in future emergencies.

And now, Captain, tell me something about yourself.

Your Majesty, I'm distressed at my neglect at not having rewarded Lieutenant Dmitri before.

With your permission, Your Majesty.

Rich too, hmm?

Her Majesty will see you now, Your Excellency.

At last, Your Majesty, I've achieved the enviable privilege of entering these rooms.

I seem to have a faint recollection that you had that privilege before.

Not since the days of Her Late Majesty, whom I often visited in the capacity of a trusted adviser.

Tell the others I've retired.

Send them away.

And come back in here.

Her Majesty wishes to be alone tonight.

You may retire.

Tell me, Alexei, are you still fond of me?

Yes, Your Imperial Majesty. I love you.

But I'm completely bewildered by your attitude towards me.

However, I've become accustomed to regard you as one of those extraordinary women who create their own laws and logic.

And now I'm concerned only with your safety.

Is it my safety that concerns you, or the safety of an empress?

I would give my life, Your Imperial Majesty, if the woman I adore were not so far removed from me in station.

The woman you adore is quite close to you, isn't she?

Catherine, I love you, worship you.

I asked you here tonight because I want you to do something for me.

I can trust you, can't I? We'll always be friends, won't we?

Yes, Your Imperial Majesty. What is it you require?

Blow out the candles.

Behind the mirror, as you know, there's a flight of stairs.

Down below, someone is waiting to come up.

Will His Excellency be kind enough to open the door for him carefully so that he can sneak in?

Her Imperial Majesty is waiting for you, Captain.

Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

Will you deliver a message for me, Captain?

I would be very glad to, sir.

Tell Her Imperial Majesty that I quite understand now.

No, never mind.

Don't tell her anything. She'll know.

Yes, sir.

Something for the poor, Your Majesty?

For the poor, Captain?


Quite a haul tonight, Father.



Your Imperial Majesty, something for the poor?

That was for me. Now what have you got for the poor?

There are no poor in Russia! Get out!

I've had enough of this sanctimonious talk.

Let us drink.

Why doesn't he take up his collections in church?

To the most charming woman in my empire, my friend, the countess Elizabeth.

Go ask Her Majesty, my wife, why she doesn't join our toast.

His Majesty, the emperor of Russia, wishes me to ask why Her Majesty refuses to join the toast.

Tell His Majesty that my thirst is not as great as his tonight.

Her Majesty wishes me to convey to His Majesty that her thirst is not as great as his tonight.

Go tell my wife she's a fool.

His Majesty, the emperor of Russia, wishes me to inform Her Majesty that she is a fool.

What is your rank, Orlov?

Captain, Your Majesty.

Well, you're nothing now.

Now get out, both of you, and stay out!

Sit down.

My wife is not to leave the palace. She's under arrest until further orders.

Am I the emperor of Russia, or am I not?

We'll issue a proclamation that she died...

and ask the people to pray for her.

Hurry, Your Majesty. Everything is ready.

What are you doing here?


Exit Peter III.

Enter Catherine II.

We soldiers in the service of the Holy Russian Empire do hereby solemnly swear to acknowledge and to defend with our lives the authority of Catherine, our empress, and to destroy her enemies!


Your Imperial Majesty, we're sorry to trouble you, but Her Majesty isn't in here, is she?

She's no longer in her rooms.

You infernal blockhead! This is the last place in the world she would come to.

Double the guard! Surround the palace!

Find her and bring her here to me!

God grant you victory, Catherine.

All Russia is waiting for the sound of our bell.

Why are those bells ringing?

Why are those bells ringing?

I don't know, Peter.

How dare you address me like that! Who are you?

My name is Orlov, and I'm on duty as guard.

I'll have your head for this insolence! You're addressing the emperor!

There is no emperor.

There is only an empress.