A Royal Scandal (1945) Movie Script

Variatinsky is out!
Countess Anna! Please.
Excuse me.
- His Excellency wants to see you immediately.
- Yes, of course.
- All right, Anna, let's hear what happened.
- You know, Your Excellency,
Variatinsky has been taking everything
for months.
Criticisms, insults, inkwells, slippers, vases
and some beautiful glassware.
- It was really a shame.
- Yes, it was.
After all, Variatinsky's a primitive man.
And to throw all those lovely things at him,
I'm sure he didn't appreciate it.
He certainly didn't today.
I'm not exaggerating.
Variatinsky actually talked back to Her Majesty.
Oh, then Her Majesty got really furious.
And she called him something.
A word I never heard of.
- I'm glad, Anna.
- So I looked it up in the dictionary.
- Huh?
- Then he called her something
which I couldn't even find in the dictionary.
Then words seemed to fail Her Majesty.
And she picked up that porcelain horseman...
- That monstrosity Frederick the Great gave her?
- Yes, and she threw it at him.
Good! Even in her most furious moments,
Her Majesty shows exquisite taste.
- That's nothing, Your Excellency!
- Don't say Variatinsky threw something back?
Worse. Suddenly he reached out
and gave Her Majesty a push.
And for the first time in the history of Russia,
an empress landed flat on her imperial back.
But now he made his greatest mistake.
Instead of standing by his guns,
he knelt down like a scared little boy
and begged for Her Majesty's forgiveness.
Well, a moment later, he was out.
What a fool.
One more push
and he might have been tsar of all the Russias.
- It is Variatinsky!
- Firing squad?
- No, he shot himself!
- He did, eh?
- He seems to have missed!
- Yes, he missed himself.
That man misses every opportunity.
Friends, brothers! How can we possibly fail?
Variatinsky is out. The position of
Command of the Palace Guard is vacant.
My nephew is here, with my influence.
- Need I say more?
- Yes.
- But what if the Chancellor...?
- The Chancellor! That doddering old idiot!
But if he refuses to introduce your nephew
to the tsarina, what then?
Then I say to him,
"Look here, you know to whom you are talking?"
But if he will say
he does not know to whom he is talking?
Then I say to him,
"Look here, I am General Ronsky!
Mikhail Nicolai Vladimirovich Ronsky,
son of Gregori Vladimir Ivanovic Ronsky,
- grandson of...
- That's enough. That should scare anybody.
And after he has introduced my nephew
to that woman on the throne...
I want to go back to the Ural Mountains.
Boris, beloved nephew of mine,
son of my favourite sister, Petrushka,
did I not give you my precious Arab steed
and that wolfhound dear to my heart?
Would I suggest to the blood of my own blood
anything that is not good for you?
How can you be so ungrateful, Boris Nikitin?
Who got you out of your little country house
in the Ural Mountains?
Who brought you here and paved your way
for one of the greatest careers in our country?
Successor to Variatinsky!
Command of the Palace Guard!
You know what that means?
You will have the whole guard at my disposal!
I beg your pardon, friends. At our disposal.
Beloved Uncle Mikhail Vladimirovich,
I know it's true
that I am the son of your favourite sister.
I appreciate that you have given me
your precious Arab steed
and that wolfhound dear to your heart.
I know that I am blood of your blood.
But I want to go back to the Ural Mountains.
Now look here,
you ungrateful swine of a nephew!
I took you out of your stinking hut
in the Ural Mountains...
- But, Uncle, think of Variatinsky.
- I am thinking of him!
- He shot himself.
- The gifts he got!
The graft he took!
- How can you throw away such an opportunity?
- But I don't want to shoot myself.
He didn't shoot himself!
He missed! Missed himself! You understand?
But I wouldn't miss, Uncle. I'm a good shot.
- Imbecile!
- Look, Ronsky, this is very embarrassing.
It places us in a very peculiar situation.
We know he's the son of your favourite sister,
and you gave him your precious Arab steed
and the wolfhound dear to your heart.
But, just between ourselves,
don't you think he's too dumb?
How can he be too dumb?
Let us consider some of the former
Commanders of the Palace Guard.
For instance, Gorlokov couldn't read nor write.
- Bosnarovsky.
- Could read.
But not write.
- What about Dobrinsky?
- He could write.
- But nobody could read it.
- Oh, keep out of this!
I want to go back to the Ural Mountains.
And, friends, brothers,
if we get the guards in our hands...
- Let's drink to the uprising!
- Uprising!
Let us start big!
- To the revolution!
To the revolution!
I know exactly what Ronsky has in mind,
but that must never happen.
Malakoff, until the pact with France is signed,
we must not introduce Her Majesty
to any possible hostile elements.
We mustrt introduce her to anyone.
- By the way, where is that French ambassador?
- He left Warsaw two days ago.
I work my head off for an alliance with France,
and King Louis sends an ambassador!
A fine ambassador! Who wastes two days
in Warsaw with a little Polish dancer.
Oh, that Louis. He is really ruining France.
He's worse than Louis XIV.
And Louis XIV was worse than Louis Xlll.
That's the trouble with France - too many Louis.
Get after him!
- Who is that fellow?
- It's the third time it happened.
- Are you here again?
- This time he tried to climb over the wall.
The next time, I'll get over it!
I tell you, I have to see Her Majesty!
Get out, get out, get out!
Now, look here.
You're an officer. A brother officer.
- How can you do this thing to me?
- I must see Her Majesty! You have to let me in!
How can I let you in
when it's my duty to keep you out?
Don't you understand I have to guard
the east gate? I don't want any trouble.
- You love Her Majesty, don't you?
- Of course I do!
- Do you know what's going on in Russia?
- Don't tell me.
I'm not getting mixed up in anything.
All I want to do is guard the east gate.
If only I could tell you what news
I bring Her Majesty.
- Then apply for an audience.
- It can't wait!
- I have to see Her Majesty today! This moment!
- I don't even know who you are.
- I am...
- Don't tell me. I don't want to know.
If you have any credentials,
please don't show them to me.
As one brother officer to another brother officer,
for heavers sakes, get out of my life.
- You know who my fiance is?
- I don't want to.
It might save Russia. All of us. It might save you!
But I don't want to be saved.
All I want to do is to guard the east gate
and be left alone.
I don't believe Russia can be saved
if I know your fiance.
Please! Send for her. She can identify me.
Countess Anna Jaschikoff,
one of Her Majesty's ladies-in-waiting.
The French ambassador's arriving, sir.
Monsieur le Marquis,
in the name of Her Majesty,
Empress Catherine II,
I have the high honour of welcoming you,
the representative of His Majesty,
the King of France.
The 15th in that royal succession of Louis
which has adorned the throne of France.
May I add Her Majesty's and my personal wish
that France is blessed with as many Louis
in the future as it has been in the past.
In the name of my sovereign, I thank
Your Excellency for the expression of friendship.
My monarch and the whole French people
unite in respect
for your grand empress,
Her Majesty, Catherine II.
- Vive la Russie!
- Vive la France!
- And how are you, Marquis?
- Bien, merci.
I can't tell you how happy I am
to make your acquaintance.
And how are you, my dear Excellency?
- Frankly, I haven't slept for days.
- Ah?
Our alliance is at stake.
And you, my dear Marquis,
at one of the most important moments
in world history, you waste two days in Warsaw.
Your Excellency is right about the important
moment in history, but wrong about the waste.
I am lover of the dance, and the lady
is the most artistic dancer I have ever seen.
Now that you've practically ruined my health,
at least tell me, who was it?
This must be treated not as diplomatic secret
but really confidential.
- Madame Polonskaya.
- You mean Olga?
- Votre Excellency, vous connaissez Olga?
- Mais, oui.
- Elle est une de mes vieilles amies.
- Non!
- Est-elle aussi jolie qu'autrefois?
- Je rai jamais vu des yeux aussi beaux.
Oh, Olga.
Elle ry en a pas de mme.
Il ry a pas de son comme Olga.
- Olga.
- Olga.
And now, my dear Marquis,
I'll introduce you to Her Majesty immediately.
- You'll escort her to a state banquet.
- A privilege to accompany Mother Russia.
Never address Her Majesty as Mother Russia.
In France,
we always think of her as Mother Russia.
My dear Marquis, you may think of her
as a mother, but don't call her a mother.
About the etiquette.
I wonder if it is the same as in Versailles.
Shall I always keep seven steps' distance
from Her Majesty?
My dear Marquis, you have been sent here
to bring our countries closer together.
Dear Excellency,
I think I know exactly what to do.
Dear Marquis, don't do it. Let Her Majesty take
the first step towards the alliance.
- And I make the second?
- Not even the third.
- In other words, do nothing.
- Right.
But not too early, and not too late.
And, by the way,
Her Majesty hates the wearing of wigs.
Of course, on formal occasions,
it can't be helped.
But in general, Her Majesty,
being a true autocrat,
naturally doesn't believe in
the equality of all men.
And she feels the wig
puts everybody on the same hairline.
the wig is the essence of our civilisation.
It is the symbol of our century.
It is the rococo of the rococo.
But I will make the grand sacrifice
for the future of humanity.
Believe me, Marquis,
men have gone down in history for less.
Now I'll announce you.
- Where am I?
- How did you get in here?
- Please, take me to Her Majesty!
- Who are you? How did you get in here?
- What's all this about?
- Questions, questions, questions!
Everybody wants to know,
everybody's chasing me,
everybody's arresting me
and Russia's going to pieces.
Russia, my poor Russia.
My dear Marquis, I'm so embarrassed!
A perfect stranger coming out of the wall!
Do not even mention.
In Paris, nothing but secret entrances.
Only the husbands and servants
use the regular doors.
In the salon of Madame de Paris,
the best people come out of the bookshelves.
- Do you know what's going on in Russia?
- No, but I'd like to know.
No, I can't tell you.
It's only for Her Majesty's ears.
See, this is the first time I've ever been at court.
All this is unfamiliar to me.
I don't know who you are, but please help me.
Look, I'll give you everything I have. Here are
50 roubles. Please take me to Her Majesty.
You can't bribe the Chancellor of Russia!
Not with 50 roubles.
You're the Chancellor?
The man everybody says is ruining Russia?
- You're from the east.
- No, the west.
How things do get around. It's amazing.
- Now, look here, young man...
- Your Excellency!
- Alexei! Darling!
- Anna! Sweetheart!
- Monsieur, I don't know what to think.
- I do.
How did you get here?
What happened?
Why did you leave...? When did you leave?
How did you meet His Excellency?
Oh, come tell me everything.
I can understand
your not having confidence in me,
after all, I'm only the Chancellor,
but she's your fiance.
- Ask him why he wants to see Her Majesty.
- Her Majesty?
- You want to see Her Majesty?
- Anna, you know I love you, but...
- Is something wrong, Alexei?
- I don't want you involved.
- I don't want any harm to come to you.
- What is it all about?
- Is it a military matter?
- Yes. And no.
- Is it yes, or is it no?
- It's more an affair of state.
Affair of state? Do you understand these things?
A very sound question, Anna.
Just a moment!
Close those doors and keep them guarded!
And if the lieutenant tries to escape,
use your rifles.
- You're a lucky young man.
- Please forgive him, Your Excellency.
If I werert so fond of Anna,
I'd deal differently with you.
I'm not thinking about myself.
I'm only thinking of Russia.
Nobody asked you to think!
Stop taking yourself so seriously.
You are the most impolite, rude young man
I've ever met.
Your lovely fiance asked you
a perfectly sensible and civil question.
- What do you answer? "I love you. "
- But I do love her!
And I love you too, believe me, but...
- Oh!
- What's wrong now?
I forgot to tell you, Your Excellency.
Her Majesty's expecting you immediately.
All right, Anna.
- And don't you dare move.
- He won't, Your Excellency.
Please forgive him for being so stubborn
and unruly. He's been impossible.
That's what I like about him.
But don't move!
- And now, my dear Marquis...
- Please, Your Excellency,
will you announce me to Her Majesty
before somebody drops from the chandelier?
Good morning, Your Majesty.
I hope Your Majesty rested well.
And may I add that Your Majesty
is looking beautiful this morning.
That doesn't by any means imply that
Your Majesty doesn't always look beautiful.
What I'm trying to say is that Your Majesty
looks extremely beautiful this morning.
Shut up. I look awful.
I feel rotten and I slept abominably.
And if you don't know it,
you bribed the wrong people.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
- Shut up.
Come here, Nicolai Illytch.
- We have a secret fund, haven't we?
- Yes, Your Majesty.
For secret purposes.
I assure Your Majesty,
I've always kept it strictly secret.
Is it possible that sometimes you
not only keep the secret, but also the money?
- Does Your Majesty imply that I am stealing?
- Yes.
That, I most emphatically deny.
I've carried out Your Majesty's orders
to do everything for the welfare of the people.
It may be that, once in a while,
I included myself with the people.
Nicolai Illytch, if all these accusations are true,
you'll have to be shot.
Five times.
Why doesn't Your Majesty investigate?
I'm afraid you might be guilty, Nicolai.
And I need you.
Your Majesty can easily find someone
as capable as I am.
You're lying again, Nicolai.
It would be very difficult to find anyone
as clever as you.
And he might steal even more.
But please, Nicolai, take it easy.
Thank you, Your Majesty.
With Your Majesty's guidance,
our government has been very successful.
Otherwise, why would a powerful country
like France try to make an alliance with us?
I'm not so sure I want to make an alliance. I...
Look! What's that man doing on the roof?
- Man on the roof? Where?
- On the roof!
On the roof?
I wish I could see that far. Probably a workman.
- Why is he wearing a uniform?
- Is he?
- Very strange, isn't it?
- Well, not to me.
Your Majesty,
people standing on the roof don't worry me,
it's people in cellars with candles
stuck in vodka bottles that I'm concerned about.
But a man standing on the roof in sunlight...
- Shut up.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
Tell me,
what do we need an alliance with France for?
- To protect our back.
- You think the Prussians may attack us again?
They always do. And they will,
when we get into trouble with the Turks.
- What do we want from the Turks?
- The Crimea.
What do we need with the Crimea?
We have enough territory.
It would be nice to have
a little peninsula on the Black Sea.
Exactly, Your Majesty.
And I don't think the Turkish sultan
will wrap up that peninsula in silver paper
and hang it on Your Majesty's Christmas tree.
- I don't want to be pushed into any war.
- No, Your Majesty.
- I don't want war!
- No, Your Majesty.
- I hate war, do you understand me?
- Yes, Your Majesty.
I humbly apologise. I shart bring it up again.
I take cognisance of the fact that Your Majesty,
once and for all,
has definitely given up the idea of the Crimea.
I never said any such thing, and you know it!
Stop being too clever. Of course we need a port
on the Black Sea, and badly.
- Then we'll have to take the Crimea.
- Are you pushing me again? Stop it!
- Call in the French ambassador.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
- Look!
- Is that man still standing on the roof?
- No, he seems to be gone.
- Oh, that's good. I'm glad.
What are those soldiers doing up there?
This is outrageous!
What a disgrace!
It couldn't happen in any other court in Europe.
You know what's going on behind every door,
but you don't know what's going on on the roof!
If the French ambassador...
My most gracious empress,
my tsarina, Mother Russia!
Get up!
Lt Alexei Chernoff of the 5th Hussars,
reporting to Her Majesty.
- How dare you force yourself into my presence!
- Shall I call a guard?
Please, he wants to keep me away from you.
- They all do. They're all afraid.
- Afraid? Of what?
- Could I talk to Your Majesty alone?
- Alone? Why?
Very simple, Your Majesty. He doesn't trust me.
Doesrt trust you? Are you out of your mind?
How dare you insult His Excellency,
the most trusted advisor to the throne!
- Thank you, Your Majesty. Shall I call a guard?
- No!
- May I remind you, the ambassador is waiting.
- Let him wait.
- Thank you, Your Majesty.
- There's no reason for you to be so happy.
- No, Your Majesty.
- There's every reason to be unappy.
I can only hope the importance of your news
justifies your behaviour,
otherwise, you shall be severely punished.
Now, what is this important news
that you're bringing?
Your Majesty, Russia is full of traitors.
The throne is in danger.
Your Majesty's in danger.
That's no news. Go on.
Your Majesty, I'm ready to die for you.
That's no news, either.
I expect that from my soldiers.
The hussars, dragoons, grenadiers -
the whole army is yours,
- but Generals Varkovsky and Gashin...
- Two of my best generals?
Don't trust them. They have evil thoughts.
They're planning treason.
- Do you believe this is true?
- I know it's true.
I swear it's true.
How is it that a young lieutenant has to ride
all the way from the Western Front
to tell me what is happening in my empire?
No doubt I expect too much.
I beg Your Majesty not to waste
your precious energy.
We have these minor revolutions every day.
One week it's the army, next week it's the navy.
What about General Varkovsky
and General Gashin?
I knew their plans. Early enough for my men
to approach them. Separately, of course.
We promised General Varkovsky 50,000 roubles
for taking care of General Gashin.
We promised General Gashin 50,000 roubles
for taking care of General Varkovsky.
- Have they taken care of each other?
- Not only have they taken care of each other,
both were buried with military honours.
So, this is your news, your great news.
I most humbly beg forgiveness, Your Majesty.
You may expect the severest punishment!
- I deserve it, Your Majesty.
- Look at you! Dirty. Uncombed.
Your uniform torn.
Who gave you permission
to leave your regiment?
- I left it on my own account.
- You deserted, you mean.
- I shall have to teach you discipline.
- I deserve it.
Is this the sort of example an officer should set
before his men?
- I'm not so sure I won't have you shot!
- I deserve it.
- Oh, stop deserving it!
- Whatever Your Majesty decides will be just.
But if I had to, I'd do it again.
I'd rather face the firing squad
than take a chance on my tsarina's life.
Nothing could stop me
when my empress is in danger.
- He seems to be honest, don't you think so?
- I do. But the French ambassador...
Oh, let him wait.
Tell me, Alexei,
when did you leave your regiment?
Wednesday morning, Your Majesty.
Do you mean that you rode
from the border to here within three days?
Yes! I rode three horses to death
and many more broke down under me.
Quite a horseman, isn't he?
And the French ambassador can wait.
You must have ridden day and night.
I thought Your Majesty was in danger.
Three days and three nights
and you're not tired?
Not a bit, Your Majesty.
- He's not a bit tired.
- No, he isn't.
- How old are you, Alexei?
- 24 years, Your Majesty.
24 years.
24 years.
- Nice, isn't he?
- Very nice, Your Majesty.
Three days and three nights,
because you thought my life was in danger.
Yes, Your Majesty.
What is it, Anna? What do you want?
- The book, Your Majesty.
- What book?
You told me you wanted to be reading Voltaire
when the ambassador entered.
If I didn't have my Anna,
I wouldn't know what to do.
Thank you, Your Majesty.
- Now, about the French ambassador.
- Yes, Your Majesty?
I'm not in the mood today.
How can I be interested in foreign affairs
when domestic problems are so pressing?
The news this young man has brought may be
no news, but I'd like to know more about it.
- You are to remain in the palace.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
See that he gets some quarters.
I think um... the Prince Variatinsky's suite will do.
Instruct the major-domo
to get him a new uniform.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
- A dress uniform.
Er... White.
Yes, I think white will be very becoming to him.
And, by the way, a captairs uniform.
- Oh, Your Majesty!
- I congratulate you, Captain Alexei Chernoff.
Thank you, Your Majesty!
- Captain Chernoff.
- Yes, Your Majesty!
I want a report from you on the Western Army.
You will present yourself tonight at ten o'clock.
- Bring the facts and figures with you.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
- But the banquet for the ambassador...
- There'll be no banquet.
I beg Your Majesty, take into consideration,
the Marquis brings greetings
from King Louis himself.
Perhaps he does.
But this Russian boy risked his life because
he thought harm might come to his tsarina.
You can tell the representative
of the King of France
that I value the love and devotion
of this simple Russian soldier
more than all the greetings
from all the kings of Europe.
- Do you understand?
- Yes, Your Majesty.
But don't tell him.
That's all.
- Yes, white is very becoming to you.
- Oh, Your Excellency!
Good evening, Captain.
Many thanks for the wonderful stallion
you sent me. What a horse!
I want you to know there are five more
at your disposal.
Well, that's very generous of you,
but I really wouldn't know what to do
with half a dozen horses.
I thought they might come in handy
when you decide to go back.
I don't know what Her Majesty's commands
will be.
- I suppose everything will be decided tonight.
- Yes, I suppose it will be.
Oh, Your Excellency,
I have something I'd like to show you.
Here's the report I'm going to read
to Her Majesty tonight.
- What's wrong with Russia in 15 pages.
- You got all that in 15 pages?
And 20 pages
of what should be done with Russia.
That makes 35 pages.
And you're determined to read 35 pages
to Her Majesty tonight?
- Naturally.
- Those six horses might come in very handy.
It's a quarter to ten.
Sorry, Your Excellency, I'm sure
you'll understand, but I have to get ready.
Listen, Alexei, I like you very much.
I like your audacity. I like your overenthusiasm.
I liked you the moment you came out of the wall.
You're a soldier, a good one and a brave one.
The parquet floor of a palace is not for you.
It's too slippery, too tricky.
For your sake, and for the sake of the girl
who loves you, try to go back.
But if Her Majesty...
Are you suggesting I disobey
Her Majesty's orders?
Oh, no, no, no, no, no. But, you see, I'm used to
these parquet floors. I can walk on them.
I can dance on them. I can slide on them.
So, you see, with all this experience,
I may be able to advise you how to approach
Her Majesty and what to say to her.
No, Your Excellency, I don't want to be studied.
I want to say what I feel and... I'm going to say it.
Her Majesty's waiting for the captain.
Oh, it's too much for a woman.
Any woman.
- You wanted to see me?
- Your Majesty commanded me to come here.
Oh, yes, of course I did, dear.
What was it about?
About the condition of the Western Army.
You know, white is very becoming to you.
Er... Now, let me see,
I asked you to make some sort of report, didn't I?
- Yes, Your Majesty. I have it right here.
- Leave it there.
- So, you rode three days and three nights.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
- You must be thirsty.
- Oh, no, Your Majesty.
You are thirsty.
- Have a glass of champagne.
- Thank you, Your Majesty.
Thank you, Your Majesty.
And now, Alexei...
...what should we drink to?
To my most gracious tsarina.
The greatest empress
the world has ever known.
To Mother Russia!
- Let's drink to something else.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
Let's drink to something beautiful.
Something lovely.
I know. Let's drink to the spring.
Yes, to the spring.
Yes, Alexei.
The chill of winter's disappeared.
It's getting warmer and warmer.
- Do you feel that too?
- Yes, Your Majesty. Much warmer.
Let's drink to it.
Sit down, Alexei.
Now, you must tell me all about yourself.
- You must tell me where you were born...
- Well, I was...
I want to know all about your mother
and your father, your uncles and your aunts.
- Do you have a sister?
- I have...
Everything about you interests me.
I want to know who your friends are,
who you go about with, and er...
er... Oh, yes. What about the girls?
Well, there have been a few, Your Majesty.
- And you liked them?
- Some of them, yes.
I'm sure they liked you, Alexei.
Some of them, yes.
But that's all past.
- That was before...
- Before what?
Before I met her.
- Oh, you're in love. For the first time?
- Yes, Your Majesty.
How do you know? How can you be sure?
You've nothing to compare it with.
Well, I don't know what to say, Your Majesty.
- I just have a feeling which...
- Describe that feeling.
Your Majesty,
I don't know how to put it into words.
Describe it. I command it.
Go on.
- Well...
- You said that before.
Now I know.
You see, Your Majesty,
when I'm in a room and she comes in...
That's enough.
- So, you're in love.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
Well, why shouldn't you be? It's natural.
- She's pretty, of course?
- Beautiful, Your Majesty. Beautiful.
She has the most wonderful complexion.
Her hair has the most lovely shine.
- Her eyes...
- All that is covered by beautiful.
Yes, Your Majesty.
- How old is she?
- 22.
Captain Chernoff, about this report.
- Yes, Your Majesty. I have it here.
- Give it to me.
Yes, very interesting. Very interesting.
- So, she's 22.
- But she doesn't look it.
Captain Chernoff,
I think you'd better return to the Western Army.
Yes, Your Majesty.
And yet I don't know.
You... you might be very useful here.
What would you like to do?
Well, of course, to be close to the throne
of my monarch is more than I ever dreamed.
But I'd also like to be out in the field,
fighting to add glory to the name of Catherine II,
our little mother.
You will return to the western garrison.
I need someone trustwon'thy there,
someone I can depend upon.
- Thank you, Your Majesty.
- Report my decision to the Chancellor.
I guess those six horses will come in
handy after all.
- What six horses?
- The ones His Excellency put at my disposal.
Oh, he did? Good.
That's all.
Just a minute!
- Who put six horses at your disposal?
- His Excellency, the Chancellor.
- Why?
- For my return to my regiment.
- What made him so certain you would return?
- He seemed to think I should.
- Do you mean he suggested you should leave?
- He did.
And he gave you six horses?
Which he has probably stolen from my stables?
I should have thrown him out years ago!
I'll have him whipped. I'll whip him myself!
I'll have him hanged. I'll hang him myself!
I'll show him!
He's not only trying to govern Russia,
now he's trying to dominate my life.
Nobody has a right
to tell you to go back except me.
And if I want you to go back, you go back.
And I'll tell you when to go back,
where to go back, and how to go back.
And you're not going back.
I give orders here, and nobody else.
And if I want to make you tsar of all the Russias,
you will be tsar!
Yes, Your Majesty!
- Forget what I said.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
Give me a glass of champagne.
- And have one yourself.
- Thank you, Your Majesty.
That senile old idiot.
He's full of gout, that's what he is.
- What else did he say?
- Oh, I think His Excellency meant well.
I didn't ask you that.
I don't believe His Excellency
has a very high opinion of me.
Frankly, he seems to think
I'm some sort of a fool.
That's a lot of nonsense. You're brilliant.
You think clearly, you speak intelligently,
you look simply divine in that uniform.
- I drink to you, Major.
- Captain, Your Majesty.
- It's Major.
- Your Majesty!
- May I say something, Your Majesty?
- Why, of course.
- When Your Majesty got so upset...
- I don't understand it. I very seldom do that.
Then I had the privilege of being present
at one of those rare moments. It was thrilling.
Your Majesty was a picture of strength
and determination.
No wonder our enemies are frightened.
No wonder our soldiers are inspired.
I'll never forget the moment
Your Majesty smashed that vase.
You looked like... like Hannibal crossing the Alps.
Your Majesty was born to be a conqueror.
Yes, a conqueror!
- Do you think so, Alexei?
- I know it. I feel it.
Oh, Alexei.
I could kiss you for that.
Oh, you don't know how good it is
to meet someone really devoted to the throne.
Someone I can talk to as a friend.
Someone I can open my heart to.
- You can, Your Majesty.
- I knew it.
I knew it the moment I looked into your eyes.
Let me look at them again.
Come nearer.
Yes... they're honest and good.
Very honest. Very good.
- Oh, Alexei.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
I'm so unappy.
Your Majesty.
I'm surrounded by thousands of people
in glittering uniforms. I'm never alone.
And yet I'm lonelier than the loneliest creature
in the loneliest corner of all my lands.
I'm lonely, Alexei.
Oh, Your Majesty.
Perhaps you'd better go.
Go out into the spring, where it's gay,
where people laugh.
Why should I trouble you with my burdens?
- Trouble me? Believe me, Your Majesty, I...
- Alexei!
Did you hear something?
- No, Your Majesty.
- It's probably nothing, just my nerves.
But don't misunderstand. I'm not afraid.
It isn't my life that worries me.
- I know, Your Majesty. It's Russia.
- Yes.
There's still a few little things I want
to accomplish, then let them do their worst.
- It won't matter.
- It won't matter?
But in the meanwhile,
whenever a door opens, believe me,
I never know whether it's a friend or an enemy.
Why, the very sentry at my gates - how do
I know that his mind isn't poisoned against me?
Will his bayonet protect me or...
I don't want to think about it.
You don't have to think about it.
No-one will harm you, believe me.
Let them come! All of them, and right now!
Those traitors! Those scoundrels!
Let them try to shake the throne,
I'll cut them to ribbons!
Your Majesty, if there's any excuse
for these two legs to be in this world,
it's to rush to your rescue
whenever you need me.
If there's any reason for these two arms
to be in existence, it's to protect you.
- And if these arms have any strength...
- And I'm sure they have.
...then you'll be safe, Your Majesty.
Oh, Alexei, I could kiss you for that.
And this time I will. Come here.
I kissed Catherine the Great.
Why did you do it?
I wish you hadrt.
Look, I'll be frank.
When I first came in here, I was a little timid.
But now I feel entirely different.
- I'm glad, Alexei.
- This is a great moment of my life,
and I'm not going to let it go by
without taking advantage of it.
- Your Majesty...
- Call me Catherine.
Catherine, I'm going to tell you
what's wrong with Russia.
- How is the revolution?
- Fine, thank you.
Revolution? What revolution?
- How are you, my dear general?
- Are you insinuating...?
I deny everything.
And, by the way, how is your nephew?
Is there anything wrong in having a nephew?
You've sent him back to the Ural Mountains.
- Are you spying on me?
- Certainly. I deny everything.
Excellency, this is sheer persecution.
You are hounding me.
You know,
somehow I can't get you out of my mind.
- I even dreamed about you last night.
- Something bad?
I don't know yet.
I'm going to dream the end tonight.
Oh, by the way,
your henchman, Colonel Ganov,
is waiting for you on the stairway.
Colonel Ganov is not my henchman
and he's not waiting for me!
I'm very glad to know it, and I apologise.
May I express one wish in all sincerity?
- Your head.
- My head? What's the matter with my head?
I just want to tell you, it looks so much better
on you than it would off you.
This is monstrous! This is infamous!
- You know what you are?
- I know, but I deny it.
Don't talk to me.
Good morning, Colonel.
- I didn't go to bed here.
- Oh, yes, you did, Colonel.
I had the honour of helping to undress you.
The Colonel forgets
that he was moved in here yesterday.
Oh, yes.
Well, look,
whoever's responsible for moving me...
for moving me constantly
from one room into another,
would you tell them I'm a simple soldier?
I'm used to sleeping in tents and barracks.
- This room's really big enough.
- Well, the anteroom certainly isn't.
It hardly can hold the people
who are waiting to pay their respects to you.
- General Ronsky.
- Ronsky? The famous Ronsky?
He happens to be outside,
and is very eager to meet you.
- Why keep him waiting? Let him in right away.
- Yes, Colonel.
General Ronsky, please!
My dear Colonel, let me shake your hand.
Let me shake both your hands.
I'm General Ronsky.
You've probably never heard of me.
Never heard of General Ronsky?
Mikhail Nicolai Vladimirovich Ronsky?
- Has the Chancellor been talking to you?
- No, not recently.
But if he should talk to you,
and no doubt he will, make sure he...
Now, don't misunderstand me.
I love him, and wish more people would,
but as one military man to another,
he's a civilian.
What's even worse, he's a dreamer.
And what Russia needs right now
is a practical man. Someone like you.
Oh, but, General,
just because I'm a good horseman...
You're just like your father.
Always belittling yourself.
How is your father? How is the old fellow?
- My father died...
- He did? When did it happen?
- Ten years ago.
- Incredible.
Ten years ago?
Now I know why he never answered
my last letter. Your father and I were...
Her Majesty wants to see you in her study,
- Hello, Anna.
- Hello, Alexei.
- Are you waiting to see Her Majesty too?
- Yes, Colonel.
Oh, by the way, the last time I congratulated you,
you'd just become a captain.
Then they told me you were a major.
For a moment.
Then you were a lieutenant colonel...
Oh, no, no, you jumped that.
Now you're Commander of the Palace Guards.
- Congratulations, Colonel.
- I don't blame you for being angry.
- I know I should have seen you before, but I...
- Please, don't apologise.
I know how busy you are.
It's quite a responsibility to suddenly find
yourself in charge of the Palace Guards.
I imagine the issues involved must be terrific.
And the decisions you have to make.
On Monday, will the guards wear
a white uniform or a blue uniform?
On Saturday, will they march
with or without plumes in their helmets?
- Anna, you're being cruel.
- And I'm going to be crueller, much crueller.
- How does it feel to be Her Majesty's new toy?
- Anna!
Be sure you're always amusing.
Always have a funny story to tell her.
And don't forget, you're expected to have
every bit of gossip at your fingertips.
What a wonderful career!
When you came here, you were a soldier.
You were a man.
Someone I could respect. Someone I could love.
Someone I did love.
And now you're a puppet. A plaything.
Oh, what a fool you are.
I can't even hate you.
I just feel sorry for you.
- Good morning, Anna.
- Good morning, Your Majesty.
Good morning, Colonel.
How are my Palace Guards today?
- In excellent order, Your Majesty.
- Very gratifying.
- About your report. We'll finish it this afternoon.
- Thank you, Your Majesty.
If only one werert always interrupted.
One can't concentrate on anything.
I know, we'll go for a drive in the country.
Yes, there's the most lovely spot.
Yes, Anna, I'd like to wear something light,
something appropriate.
I feel like being rural this afternoon.
I'll let you select something for me.
She has such good taste.
- Thank you, Your Majesty.
- That's all, Anna.
And now, Colonel, we must go over the plans
for the parade next week.
- Good morning, darling.
- Good morning, Your Majesty.
I don't think I heard you right.
- Good morning, Catherine.
- That's better.
And now, Alexei, about this afternoon.
There'll be no ladies-in-waiting,
no adjutants, just the two of us.
We'll have a little picnic, huh?
What's the matter, Alexei? What is it?
Please listen to me, Your Majesty. Catherine.
- I'm a soldier.
- And a very good one.
That's why I made you
Commander of the Palace Guards.
Yes, I know, but I'm a different kind of soldier.
Don't misunderstand me.
I'll be grateful till the end of my life, but...
Alexei, has someone been putting ideas
into your head?
No, of course not. But I just feel I belong back
in the field, where I can do something important.
- So, guarding your empress is unimportant.
- No, there's no greater responsibility, but...
I don't think I was born to be amusing
at the dinner table.
I'm not good at telling funny stories.
- Did I ever suggest you become court jester?
- No.
- Then who did?
- Well, I...
Oh, Alexei. You are hurting me.
I thought at last I'd found the one person
who could help me with the terrific problems.
I wanted you to be my advisor.
Someone who would give me counsel
without any selfish motives.
I was so happy when yesterday you said
something should be done for the people.
- I didn't think you listened.
- I remember every word.
- You heard what I said about the peasants?
- How can you ask?
I thought of nothing else but peasants.
Peasants, peasants and peasants.
I'm glad I made an impression, Catherine.
The peasants deserve it. They are good.
- The backbone of the nation.
- Yes, there's nothing like a good peasant.
They're the pillars of your throne,
but taken advantage of.
- If only we could do something for them.
- We are going to do something for them.
And you're going to do it. And right away.
- Thank you, Catherine. I could kiss you for that.
- Well, do it.
At last, a peasant comes into his own.
Where shall I go? What am I going to do?
Oh, well, now let me see. Um... Er... Go to
the Ministry of the Interior. Get all the facts.
How many peasants do we have?
Why do we have so many peasants?
Why do we have so much trouble
with the peasants? Go and ask.
- That'll keep you busy until this afternoon.
- Catherine, this can't be done in one morning.
- This may keep me busy for months.
- That's wonderful, darling. Now...
go and look after the peasants.
Wake up! Wake up! A fine Chancellor!
England, Austria, France are awake,
the whole world's awake,
and our foreign policy takes a nap
in the middle of the day!
- Your Majesty...
- Shut up!
- Have you been giving advice to the Colonel?
- No, Your Majesty.
Now, look here, and don't deny it.
- Someone's been putting ideas in his head.
- Deny it?
I quite agree with Your Majesty.
If the Colonel has any ideas in his head,
someone must have put them there.
Shut up! Find out who it is.
I want to know every conversation the Colonel
has had since he came here. Every word!
- I want you to check up on everybody.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
And I'll have everybody check up on you.
Mercy, Your Majesty! Mercy!
I've a wife. I have children. Seven children!
Get up!
How dare you molest me in this way!
Kneeling down on the dusty floor
in that new uniform!
That's not your uniform, it's my uniform!
It's only lent to you!
Look what you've done to my trousers!
How dare you molest Her Majesty! You have
committed an offence. You are under arrest.
- Shut up!
- Thank you, Your Majesty.
Come with me.
Your face is very familiar.
- I've seen you before, haven't I?
- Yes, Your Majesty. At the east gate.
For ten years,
I had the honour to salute Your Majesty.
- Then, three days ago...
- What did you do?
- I didn't do it. He just got in.
- Oh, you mean Colonel Chernoff?
Please, Your Majesty,
don't let them take me away from the east gate.
They're going to punish me, degrade me.
Your Majesty, nobody could have done more.
I threw him out. I kicked him out.
I pleaded to him as a brother officer.
Yes, I even refused to send so much
as a message to his fiance in the palace.
You only did your duty.
- What did you say? Fiance?
- Yes, Your Majesty.
- In the palace?
- Yes, Your Majesty.
I bet your pardon, Excellency.
Her Majesty wants to see you. Immediately.
- What's the matter?
- I don't know.
I've never seen her that angry.
I'm sorry, Anna, but you'd better hurry.
She knows.
I don't understand it.
I thought I'd covered every possible source.
I must be getting old.
Your Majesty sent for me?
Oh, it's nothing important.
It just seems that I can't get along
without my little Anna.
Tell me, Anna.
I'm not sure, do you like this dress?
- Very much, Your Majesty.
- You do?
Well, if you say so. You have such good taste.
What's the matter, Anna?
You don't look yourself.
- Maybe I put on too much rouge?
- No, on the contrary. You look pale. Very pale.
- Is anything wrong?
- No, Your Majesty.
Come, Anna, don't be afraid. Tell me the truth.
- Am I, by any chance, overworking you?
- Of course not, Your Majesty.
Well, that's very sweet, but...
I'm afraid I've been selfish.
You do everything for me, while I...
- Is this the ring you admire so much?
- Yes, Your Majesty.
- Well, it's yours.
- Oh, Your Majesty, I couldn't!
Anna, it is your empress's wish
that you take this ring.
Anna, you really don't look well.
I really think you should take a rest.
Oh, I see. Rest.
But, Your Majesty, I feel wonderful.
I've never felt better. I'm just bursting with health.
You're deceiving yourself, Anna.
Now, I'm speaking not as the empress,
but as one friend to another. You look terrible.
Whether you like it or not,
you're going to take a vacation.
A long, long vacation.
I'm overcome by Your Majesty's concern.
It proves that under that jewelled crown
and royal ermine,
there's a warm heart beating and beating...
and beating.
Thank you, Anna. Thank you.
But with Your Majesty's permission,
I don't think I look pale at all.
Anna, my mind is made up.
You look pale. Definitely pale.
Now, where would you like to go?
- Of course, you'd like to go home, wouldn't you?
- Not particularly, Your Majesty.
Anna, you surprise me.
- Here's a girl who has a chance to go home...
- If I may say so, it's all Your Majesty's fault.
Your Majesty's graciousness, Your Majesty's
benevolence, has really made this my home.
A home which I didn't even have at home,
so why should I want to go home?
Those are very affectionate words indeed, Anna,
but er...
after all, you do want to see your mother,
don't you? Your dear little mother?
- Not particularly, Your Majesty.
- You ought to be ashamed of yourself!
What kind of a girl are you?
I generously offer you a chance to go home
and see your dear little mother...
- Have I been mistaken in you all this time?
- But...
Anna, you're going home
and see your dear little mother.
And you're going to be very nice to her.
You're going to be a loving daughter.
That is my command.
If it is Your Majesty's command,
there is nothing I can do about it.
Oh, Anna, believe me, it's for the best.
I know what's good for you.
Not that I think I'm any more intelligent
than you, it's just that er...
well, as the years go by, one gets wiser
and er... after all, let's admit it,
I am a few years older than you.
Yes, I'm 33.
37, Your Majesty.
And he is 24.
Why, you little...!
Please, Your Majesty, you'll regret it!
It's your favourite vase.
May I most respectfully suggest
that you throw this one.
Is this really happening?
Are you defying your empress?
Yes, Your Majesty.
Down! Down on your knees!
For the sake of your family, I give you
one more chance. Beg my forgiveness.
Your Majesty, for the sake of my family,
I humbly beg your forgiveness.
But kneeling, sitting, standing or lying down,
he is still 24 and I am 20.
22! Get up!
Get out!
- No, stay here! Come here! Now, listen...
- Your Majesty...
- Shut up!
- I'm not going to shut up!
And I'm not going to listen.
You are going to listen for once!
As my monarch,
I have to pay you respect and reverence.
But if you were just a woman like me,
I would say to you
that Your Majesty's actions smell to heaven.
- I must be dreaming. I must be.
- You've been dreaming too long.
He's mine, and I won't give him up.
He's not in love with you.
He never was and never will be.
He's just dazzled by the throne.
When he embraces you,
he embraces the crown, and nothing else.
You think you can take him away from me.
But he'll come back to me, and stay with me,
because we love each other
and belong to each other.
Siberia. Siberia!
I'll send you to Siberia!
No, that's too good for you.
I'll put you in the coldest, darkest dungeon
of the Peter and Paul Fortress!
Where you'll never see the light of day again.
But before I do, I'm going to do something
your mother neglected to do.
I am going to give you a spanking,
box your ears and pull your hair!
- Your Majesty's pulling it right now.
- Oh, what am I to do with you?
You stupid, idiotic squirrel!
You pitiful little mouse!
I'm going to slap your face!
Guards, come in!
Close the door.
Go to the dressing table.
Sit down.
Fix your hair.
Yes, you look pretty. Very pretty.
She's not to leave this room.
You're responsible for her.
Yes, Your Majesty.
- Alexei, darling.
- Oh, Catherine.
I have some facts about the peasants
that will delight you.
Put the peasants out of your mind for a second.
I told you that I was in need of an advisor.
Well, the moment's come.
I need your help and guidance.
- Your decision will by my decision.
- Thank you, Catherine.
I hope I justify your faith. Believe me, I...
- Catherine, you look pale.
- Do I?
- Tell me, what happened?
- Oh, Alexei.
I've been insulted.
It's too dreadful. I can't even repeat it.
I've been openly defied.
My actions smell to heaven.
Her very Majesty of Russia's been spat upon.
- Oh, Alexei.
- Catherine!
Catherine... Catherine, speak to me.
Speak to me, Catherine.
Where am I?
Oh. It's you, Alexei.
- What happened?
- Someone defied you. Insulted you.
Yes. Yes.
- Oh, let's forget it.
- No!
You said my decision would be yours.
Oh, please, Alexei. Let's be a little merciful.
I say death. Death, and nothing but death,
and torture them first!
- But I've abolished the torture chamber.
- Then let's restore it!
Alexei, for the last time, don't...
don't you really think we should forget it?
No! And that's final!
All right. But it's your doing, Alexei...
...not mine.
Come with me.
Wait outside.
Come in, Colonel.
Well, Colonel,
I assume you've come to arrest me.
I was wrong. Her Majesty finally found
something important for you to do.
But, Anna, this is horrible.
Her Majesty accuses you of things I...
Well, I can't believe it!
Your Majesty,
you must have misunderstood Anna.
I did not, Colonel.
- Anna, you certainly didn't mean what you said.
- I did, Colonel.
You must be out of your mind.
Your Majesty, she must be out of her mind.
I beg you to be lenient.
It's your decision, Colonel.
If you think insulting the majesty of Russia
deserves leniency, I have no more to say.
Anna, help me. You must help me, Anna.
- Tell Her Majesty you regret what you said.
- Regret?
I said it before, and I'll say it again.
That Her Majesty's actions smell to heaven.
And I'm not so sure I'm right about the direction.
And furthermore...
Please don't listen to her, Your Majesty!
She's out of her mind!
- Anna, I'll protect you, I promise.
- You don't have to protect me! Let me go!
Anna, get hold of yourself!
Or you'll ruin yourself, your family.
You don't seem to realise that what you've done
is treason. People have been shot for less.
Don't worry, Alexei. She's going to live.
I won't even put her in prison.
No. Just let her go home,
where she can't hurt me any more.
Go home. Just go home.
That's all.
- Go home? I'll tell her!
- Don't get in any more trouble.
You must listen to me.
Believe me, I want to help you.
You help me? You can't even help yourself.
Just don't bother with me any more.
I don't even want to exist,
as far as you're concerned.
Goodbye, Colonel Chernoff.
Or maybe I should say General by now.
- Anna, please!
- Aah!
I'm surprised at you, Nicolai.
- Tear it up.
- Please, Your Majesty, let me go.
- It's best for the country. I'm getting old.
- You're not getting old, Nicolai.
You are old.
Much too old to let yourself be upset
by the Colonel.
- The general, Your Majesty.
- Which general?
- The Colonel.
- Oh, yes, of course, I forgot.
If you tell that to anyone, I'll deny everything.
Give me a vodka.
Be honest. Arert you the one man in Russia
who can do what he wants to do?
Well, let's say what Your Majesty wants.
And that's as it should be.
I'm not complaining about the things
I have to do.
I'm worried about the things I have to undo.
If he has his way, in a few weeks,
we'll be at war with any nation that has as much
as one shootable cannon at its disposal.
He means well.
Give me another vodka.
Do you know, Nicolai, when he first came here,
I thought he looked wonderful in a white uniform.
I know he looks wonderful in any uniform.
And people should realise that
anyone who looks so attractive in a uniform
shouldn't be taken so seriously.
- But, Your Majesty, I...
- Have a little understanding, Nicolai.
I've worked so hard during all these years.
Your Majesty has. And history will reward you
in its grandest manner.
All I want to do is anticipate history
and do a little of the rewarding myself.
why should you want to begrudge me that?
Have I said anything when, again and again,
you ate yourself into the gout?
Really, Nicolai.
You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
What's this? It's Alexei's handwriting.
Yes, Your Majesty. Edict No. 52.
But this is a dreadful thing to do.
Supposing he should find it here,
or some troublemaker should take it to him?
- Anyway, what's it about?
- I don't know. I didn't read it.
- You didn't read it? Then why throw it away?
- I read the other 51.
Oh, well, I'll read it myself.
And if I find one good idea in it, then...
Give me another vodka.
But, fellows, why are we laughing?
You drunken idiot, you!
Our beloved friend Alexei
just told one of the funniest stories
ever told by any Commander
of the Palace Guard! Understand?
Friends, friends,
did I tell you too much about him?
- No!
- Oh, no!
Still in his 20 years, and already a statesman,
a great soldier and, I don't have to remind you,
the Commander of the Palace Guard.
Alexei, why have I been denied a son like you?
Let me kiss you.
Let me kiss you.
- Let me kiss you!
- Go away!
Leave me alone, you drunken idiot, you!
Alexei, tell us another story, uh?
- Yes, please, come on!
- Come on, tell us another one.
Please, Alexei, please!
My precious Arab steed and that wolfhound
dear to my heart, they are yours.
- Well...
- Ssh!
Well, once there was a Cossack
who got so bored...
...that he talked to his horse.
Oh, I'm sorry.
I could break every bone in your body,
you drunken imbecile!
You jackass!
- When he tells a story, you haven't heard it!
- But I have heard it.
So have I! So have all of us! A hundred times!
But don't you understand?
He's the Commander of the Palace Guard.
He can enforce any joke he makes
with 3,000 men!
Don't you see? We must get him on our side.
We have to!
Now, you stupid son of a half-witted father,
get in there and laugh!
Laugh till your eyes are wrecked with tears!
Laugh till your midriff bursts wide open!
Laugh, I tell you, or I'll kick your brain
right out of your riding breeches! Get in there!
Alexei, there must be some stories
about that great Chancellor of ours.
Yes, but they're not funny. They're tragic.
Tragic for Russia.
Did I tell you too much about him?
How many years did it take us to find that out,
and this young man in a few weeks!
What a head he has on his shoulders.
- Let me kiss you again.
- Let me kiss you, too!
That's enough! Go on, Alexei.
- Brothers, I know I can trust you.
- Yes, of course!
Friends, all I can say is,
it's going to be a different Russia.
- Now, don't let this get out of this room.
Oh, no.
We're all going to be happy.
I've arranged the whole thing.
Everybody in Russia will be happy.
- Good.
- Wonderful!
In the good old days, when you opened the door
to the house of a peasant,
you were greeted by the friendly grunt
of a swine.
Those days are gone. But I'll bring them back.
There's going to be a pig in every family!
- That's nothing new. There always is.
- Shut up and get out of here!
Fortunately, Her Majesty agrees with me.
I have her full support.
Arert we fortunate to have such a great ruler
at such a moment?
ALEXEl: She thinks of nothing but Russia.
She works 18 hours a day.
Let me tell you a story about her-
a story that'll warm your hearts.
Count Variatinsky has just arrived!
- Count Variatinsky?
- Count Variatinsky!
Count Variatinsky! How nice to see you!
- Yes.
Gentlemen! Good to see you!
May I introduce
the former Commander of the Palace Guard,
the present Commander of the Palace Guard.
- I'm very happy to meet you.
- So am I.
Well, so, finally I meet Count Variatinsky.
- Her Majesty's talked so often about you.
- Favourably, I hope.
Nothing but the highest praise.
It was too bad you had to leave the guards.
It was a terrible blow to Her Majesty.
I'm sure it must have been to you.
But I suppose there was nothing else
you could do.
- By the way, how do you feel?
- I feel fine.
That's wonderful news.
Her Majesty will be delighted to hear it.
- To hear what, General?
- About your recovery.
- Why, was I sick?
- Oh, very sick, I understand.
- Her Majesty told me that...
- Oh, she did. I see.
It's flattering that Her Majesty takes
such an interest in me.
But it's not surprising, when the whole world
knows what a big heart she has.
- Oh, yes, a heart that big.
- Yes, very big.
Let me tell you a story. When I had the honour
and pleasure of being in your position, I er...
- Yes, tell us.
- Gentlemen, there are certain things
which can be told
only by one Commander of the Palace Guard
to another Commander of the Palace Guard.
Sorry, sorry.
Come, General. This is between ourselves.
- Now, as soon as we win him over...
- You think we will?
We have already. We have to persuade him
to move the guards out of the palace.
- And then, gentlemen, we move in.
- We move in!
We know what we are going to do
with that woman on the throne, don't we?
- But, brothers, when we get to the palace...
- I know. No looting.
- Yes, friends. No disorganised looting, please.
It doesn't mean that we cannot pick up
a souvenir here and there.
- As for myself...
- You want the chandelier in the ballroom.
No. Much less. All I want is the Chancellor.
I'm going to take His Excellency...
Oh, are you back already?
Who was there?
Oh, Ronsky, Doskov, lots of people.
This Voltaire's too wonderful.
- Catherine.
- Yes, darling?
- Catherine, I believe in you.
- Well, thank you, darling.
That traitor! That... that scoundrel!
That skunk! That dirty skunk!
You don't need an advisor,
you need a guardian.
How could you have had a good word
for Variatinsky?
- Variatinsky?
- Yes, Variatinsky.
Was he there too?
The whole thing's clear to me now.
Ronsky and his friends brought him there
on purpose.
But I'm not that simple.
Oh, Catherine, I believe in you.
I want you to know
that I believe in you completely. I believe in you!
Well, if you're through believing in me,
tell me what happened.
I can't, Catherine. I won't soil my lips with it.
All I can say is he slandered you,
dragged your name through the mud.
I'm going to hold every one of them responsible
for it. I promise you, they'll pay!
Well, Alexei, this is really most unpleasant.
- Unpleasant?
- No, I mean it's terrible.
I can't imagine
what he could have possibly said about me.
- You'd be surprised.
- Oh.
So he spoke badly of me, did he?
Variatinsky of all people! That ungrateful swine!
Why, when I think of what I did for that man.
When he came here, he was nothing.
Just like you.
I mean, not even as much as you.
You can't compare it.
He didn't have a shirt to his back.
No, I want to be just. He had one. Exactly one.
And what a shirt.
Let's arrest him. All of them! The whole group!
Make an example of them in front of the world.
That's what we should do,
but don't be too hasty.
Of course they deserve it,
but don't let's be swept away by emotions.
- I'd say let's sleep on it.
- Catherine, I warn you, if you let this go by...
Then nothing may come of it.
But if we make an issue of it, call attention to it...
Oh, Alexei, don't let's have a scandal.
That would be too horrible.
Catherine, I don't agree with you.
I don't agree with you at all.
Well, that's too bad, Alexei.
That's most unfortunate.
I shall handle this thing myself.
And if Variatinsky should talk again...
I doubt that he will. I doubt that he can.
- What do you mean?
- I hit him. I hit him again and again.
I hit him so hard,
he went right through a glass cabinet.
All this happened in front of Ronsky
and my generals?
Yes, and if they want supper,
they'll have to eat it from the floor.
- I gave them a lesson they won't forget.
- I wish you hadrt lost your head.
Lose my head?
Stand there and let people slander you?
No, of course not, naturally.
Of course I'm grateful to you
for rushing to my defence.
It was very chivalrous.
You acted as a real friend, a true friend.
You proved my trust in you was justified.
But, darn it, I wish you'd stayed out of it!
Now we really have a scandal on our hands.
Tomorrow, the whole palace will be buzzing.
My name, your name, Variatinsky's name.
- It's too awful. Why did you do it?
- I'm sorry.
Sorry? That doesn't help much.
Now my enemies really have something
to talk about.
You've provided enough gossip
for all the drawing rooms of Europe! You idiot!
I've taken care of my business pretty well.
And in the future...
I don't understand you.
He insults you and you call me an idiot.
Why should you be so nervous
when everybody knows Variatinsky lies?
- I'm not nervous.
- You are! And I'm not an idiot!
I'm sorry. You're not an idiot.
But a scandal is a scandal. It isn't good
for anybody. Certainly not an empress.
Let's keep the throne clean.
Catherine, he did lie, didn't he?
Yes, of course he did.
Oh, Alexei.
If I was a little unjust, you know I didn't mean it.
Don't think that deep down inside of me
I don't appreciate having a knight in
shining armour who takes up his spear for me.
Alexei... My little Alexei.
I think the Order of the Golden Bear
would be very nice on you.
Right here. And I think you've earned it.
I congratulate you, my little golden bear.
Now, let's drop the whole subject.
Let's talk about something cheerful for a change.
As a matter of fact, I have some very good news.
When I was introduced to Variatinsky,
I was pleasantly surprised.
- He looked very well, Catherine.
- Why shouldn't he?
- Don't you remember he was sick? Very sick?
- Oh, yes. Yes, of course.
- Catherine, did Variatinsky tell the truth?
- I've answered that question once before.
- And you're going to answer it again. Now!
- I won't be called to account, General Chernoff.
I demand that Variatinsky be tried. Tried openly.
- And if you refuse...
- Then what?
Catherine, I... I can't believe it.
My whole world is collapsing.
I worshipped you. I put you on a pedestal.
You were my ideal. Yes, I idolised you.
Then keep on idolising me and shut up!
Oh, Alexei,
this is not the kind of evening I'd planned.
I was so looking forward to seeing you.
I've been waiting for you.
What's this?
It's my 52nd edict!
What's my 52nd edict doing in a trash basket?
- Well, I was just reading it.
- I'm not interested in that.
Answer me. Did you throw it there?
No, it got there by itself.
It knew where it belonged.
- Catherine, I demand an explanation.
- You're not going to demand anything more!
But I'll tell you something.
You were not meant to rule a country.
- You've changed your mind.
- I have not.
I said you looked wonderful in a white uniform.
You should wear it more often.
That's your greatest talent, your greatest gift.
Stick to it. A white uniform.
Well... I guess... I was a fool.
You were right to call me an idiot.
I go on working, night and day,
wasting my time...
- And wasting my paper and my ink.
- I thought I meant something to you. To Russia.
- Now I find out you tricked me!
- Shut up!
- You swindled me!
- Shut up!
You ought to be ashamed! I put you on
a pedestal and you put me in a trash basket!
It's too much for any man!
General Chernoff!
I didn't dismiss you yet.
You'll go to your quarters.
You'll return here tomorrow morning.
And if you find the right words, humble words,
very, very humble words,
and if you should be able to convince me
that they are more than just mere words,
then perhaps I may forgive you.
- That's all.
- Yes, Your Majesty.
Go to bed.
Come, my son, drink. Wash away your sorrows.
Russia needs you. We need you.
Drink. It'll do you good.
Oh, Alexei, you may not be tomorrow,
but tonight, you are still in command
of the Palace Guard.
So go back there right now,
and as soon as the empress is asleep,
you order the guard out of the palace.
Order everybody out. Clear the whole place.
And if she should wake up,
keep her there by force till we arrive.
- I idolised that woman.
- So did I.
- I'm sorry, Variatinsky.
- You don't have to be sorry.
You meant well. Variatinsky knows that.
- Don't you?
- Of course, of course.
- He told the truth and I cut him to pieces.
- Nonsense, nonsense.
You just gave him a little push.
From then on, he was on his own.
- Tell me, my friend, how do you feel?
- I feel fine.
- He's never felt better.
- I'm very happy to hear it.
- Let's be friends.
- No! Oh, no!
Stop making our friend nervous.
Now let's come to the point.
- As soon as the guard has left the palace...
- I arrive with my regiment from the woods.
And my men join you on the second bridge
of the Neva.
At dawn, we all meet at the palace,
and Russia is ours.
Russia is ours!
- I idolised that woman.
Alexei, we must come to a decision.
If we don't move right now, we are lost,
every one of us.
What is your answer?
- I'm with you.
- Alexei!
We certainly got him on our side.
Good evening, gentlemen.
- Good evening.
- What are you doing here?
I want to be on the right side. The winning side.
Well? Who's going to be the new tsar?
I presume he's right here in this room.
- You would like to know, wouldn't you?
- Certainly. I'm an old diplomat.
I've spent my whole life
bowing to the right person.
I've given my spine to my career.
For instance,
I wouldn't like to kiss Paskovich's hand
and then find out that Ronsky is to be tsar.
And I certainly wouldn't want to kiss
Ronsky's hand until he'd washed.
Besides, gentlemen, I'm the only man in Russia
who knows that the money in the treasury
is not in the treasury.
Where is it? Where is it?
What's going on out there? Stop it!
Oh, it's you. I see you couldn't wait to apologise.
So, my little spanking improved your manners.
All the same,
just because you say you're sorry...
Oh, no, it's not going to be that easy.
So, like a good boy, go to your quarters,
and say good night very nicely.
Are you crazy?
You are crazy! Or maybe you're drunk.
Or did someone, by any chance, suggest that
you come here and play the strong man?
Well, if you must be a lion,
just roar once and get out of here.
If you have any idea of tearing down the palace,
if you should try to be Sampson,
you'll end up with a haircut, and a short one!
Good night!
Now, look here. I've had enough of this.
Just because I condescend to bestow
my favours on a little lieutenant...
Stand at attention!
Don't you ever forget that you're my subject
and I'm your monarch.
And whatever I say and wherever I say it,
I speak from the throne!
- Guards!
- Guards!
- Guards! Guards!
- Guards! Guards!
- Where is everybody?
- Where is everybody?
Nicolai! Nicolai!
Go ahead, call. Shout. Scream.
There's nobody here to answer.
Just imagine, the almighty empress
and not a soul to answer her. Just you and I.
Sit down, Mother Russia.
Make yourself comfortable while you still can.
- Will you explain?
- Gladly.
Have you ever tried to sit on a chair
and somebody snatched it from under you?
That's what they'll do to you.
Snatch the throne from under you.
- A rebellion?
- No, a revolution.
Now, Alexei...
When Ronsky and his men get here,
you will pass into the waste basket of history.
- Be sensible.
- Don't have any illusions, madame.
You're not going to be a glorious page
in a history book.
You're not even going to be half a page.
Before I get through with you, you'll end up as
a footnote in very small print. The smallest.
However much you may hate me, Alexei,
I'm sure you don't want to see me killed.
- They're going to do it, Alexei.
- Oh, no, madame. I have their promise.
They wanted to, but when we discussed the loot,
I claimed you.
I could have had an old sofa. A genuine antique.
The mother of all the sofas.
- But I prefer the Mother of all the Russias.
- I know them.
They never kept their word.
They're not going to now. They'll kill me, Alexei.
Don't you understand?
You're under my protection.
I'm sending you to a place
where you'll be safe from everybody.
And everybody will be safe from you.
With no men around for a thousand miles.
Imagine, Catherine. No men to look at.
You'll regret this, you little nincompoop!
I made you and I'll break you.
I still wear the crown, and I still hold the sceptre.
And if it should be my last imperial act,
I'll clout you over the head so hard with
that sceptre, you'll never look good again!
Not even in a white uniform! Why you...!
Sorry. That's the property of the new tsar.
But if you behave yourself in the future,
I'll see you're provided with some cheap china
which, on Sundays and holidays,
you can throw at yourself.
- Let me out of here!
- How can I? I have to protect you.
Alexei, why can't we behave
like civilised people?
Take me away from here
where we can talk this over.
- You mean to some hidden place?
- Yes, Alexei.
You mean just you and me
and a bottle of champagne?
- No, madame. This is a revolution, not a picnic.
- Don't forget that you love me.
And I still love you.
Perhaps you werert so wrong at all.
Maybe the whole thing is my fault.
Yes, I'm sure it is.
- Madame is too gracious.
- No, I mean it, Alexei.
The more I think of it, I see your point.
I should have listened to your suggestions.
It's not too late, Alexei. For instance, your edicts!
Yes, 52 edicts! Whatever happened to them?
Where are they?
- Why don't you write them again?
- You...!
I am sincere, Alexei. I swear. I promise.
No Chancellor will ever interfere again.
- By the way, do you want to be Chancellor?
- I haven't the gout.
Yes, they're coming, madame.
Alexei, I can't believe it!
You won't let those traitors get me!
I beg you to save me! Take me away from here!
I implore you! I'll do anything you want.
I'll make you head of the army!
I'll marry you and make you tsar!
I'll make you tsar
and you won't have to marry me.
Save me! They're going to kill me! Have mercy!
You're just where you belong,
getting just what you deserve.
Long live our empress!
- Long live the empress!
- Long live Catherine the Great!
Good morning, Your Majesty.
Rather a hot night, wasrt it?
Oh, by the way,
General Chernoff is under arrest.
Well, General Chernoff,
things are different now, aren't they?
Now you're under my protection.
And I'm going to protect you.
Mercy, Your Majesty. Mercy! Forgive me!
You swine! You dirty traitor!
I'll have you hanged!
Please, Your Majesty, don't. I want him.
This is my share of the loot.
And please don't kick him, Your Majesty.
I want him undamaged.
You swine!
- Captain.
- Yes, Excellency?
Take this big piece of loot to my house.
Take him away.
Halt! About face!
A... a...
May I most humbly ask permission
to say something to Your Excellency?
- Go ahead, Ronsky.
- I am deeply depressed.
For the last few days, Your Excellency
hasn't slept well, hardly eaten.
- You Excellency seems worried.
- I am, Ronsky.
At this very moment,
Alexei's fate is being decided.
If this audience doesn't succeed,
I don't know what to do.
For his sake, and even more for Anna's sake,
I'd like to save him.
- Oh, Ronsky, Ronsky. Give me a vodka.
- Please, Your Excellency, the gout.
I haven't any.
But only this morning, when I had the honour
and pleasure of washing Your Excellency's feet,
Your Excellency's big toe didn't look at all
as I would like Your Excellency's big toe to look.
Ronsky, you're the best servant I've ever...
This audience has been going on
for over half an hour.
I don't like it. See what you can find out.
- Go ahead, do a little spying.
- Yes, Your Excellency.
Your Excellency!
Anna, what happened?
I failed, failed miserably.
Made it even worse.
I'll never see Alexei again.
She banished me
all the way to the Crimean Peninsula.
Poor little Anna.
Just a moment.
- She banished you to the Crimea?
- Yes. For life.
But we don't own the Crimea. Not yet.
What can you expect from her?
A woman who takes away someone else's
fianc won't respect anybody's peninsula.
Look, I'm not inuman,
but I have to get back to the east gate.
Give them a minute. Two minutes.
Anna, sweetheart, can you ever forgive me?
Forgive you? Because you were silly?
You were always silly.
You were the silliest boy I ever met.
That's why I fell in love with you.
- Look, Her Majesty is waiting.
- Give them a minute. Don't be so afraid.
Please understand, Your Excellency,
I don't mind risking my life,
but I don't want to risk my pension.
Anna, this is probably the last time...
Anna, what are you doing here?
- Did you come here to beg for me?
- I failed, Alexei.
Why did you do it? Havert I caused you
enough pain, enough humiliation?
I wish I hadrt done.
His Excellency moved heaven and earth
to get me an audience.
He wrote a three-page speech for me.
I studied it for days. I knew it by heart.
I knew exactly at which moment
to touch the hem of her robe with my lips.
There was nothing I wasrt prepared to do.
I even wanted to kiss the dust from her shoes.
Oh, Anna.
But the moment I came face to face with her,
I forgot everything.
I didn't remember one word.
When I saw that woman,
who caused all the trouble between us,
I suddenly wished that some supernatural power
would give me strength and courage
to do what she has done to so many others.
- To throw something at her.
- Anna, you didn't!
All I remember...
is that my mind seemed to leave my head,
and suddenly, everything went dark.
Then a terrific crash.
And when it became light again,
I realised that someone must have
thrown something at Her Majesty.
And with only the two of us in the room,
naturally, the suspicion fell on me.
Oh, Alexei!
- Your Majesty.
- What is it?
Private Chernoff.
Bring him in.
Wait outside, Lieutenant.
Come here.
"It's the decision of the court martial
that the defendant is guilty of treason
and to be put to death
at the pleasure of Her Majesty. "
- It's your death warrant. A hard decision.
- But a just one.
I lived here at court at Your Majesty's pleasure,
and now I'll die at Your Majesty's pleasure.
Nothing could be fairer.
I suppose not.
I'm glad you feel that way.
It makes things so much easier.
- And there's not much I can do about it.
- Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
No, it's hopeless. Even if I should entertain
the thought of pardoning you...
- Oh, that's impossible.
- You're right.
- It would set a precedent.
- A terrible example.
- It would undermine the army.
- Shatter the morale of the country.
I'm responsible to the people.
You can't set yourself up against
an entire nation.
- Oh, can't I?
- No, you can't afford to.
Who says what I can afford
and what I cannot afford?
Are you by any chance
starting to advise me again?
No, I have no desire to end up again
in a waste basket.
All I want to do is to get in front of a firing squad.
- I want to die, that's all.
- Shut up.
You'll die soon enough.
Well, there's nothing left for me to do
but to put my name to this paper.
Or perhaps you could tell me one single reason
why I shouldn't.
- Now see here, Catherine.
- Yes, Alexei?
Now see here, Your Majesty,
I started the whole uprising.
If anybody's guilty, it's I.
When I seized the palace, I gave the signal
for the troops to march. I shook the throne.
I didn't turn it over, but you try to sit down on it.
You'll find out it squeaks.
All right, Alexei, if it makes you happy,
my throne squeaks.
If the revolution had succeeded,
I would have taken all the glory.
But since it failed, I'm entitled to the blame.
I have to die.
All right, Alexei, all right. Don't excite yourself.
I'm going to sign this paper
and we won't have any more arguments.
- Oh, yes. What's your last request?
- Last request?
It's granted the worst criminals.
I wouldn't dream of depriving you of it.
- You know my last wish. I want to die.
- Oh, stop dying! Stop being so heroic.
You're making things very difficult for me.
Alexei, why do you think I ordered you here?
Can't you at least make one gesture?
After all, you committed treason,
the greatest crime in the world.
Is it to much to ask
that you get down on your knees?
On my knees? To beg?
I never did it in my life.
Well, there's always a first time for everything.
I found that out.
I'll never forget the humiliation and the shame.
And yet, a strange thing happened.
In the midst of all my terror and all the horror,
when I looked up at you and saw treason
just dripping out of your eyes,
those big, brown eyes,
I couldn't help saying to myself,
"Yes, a traitor, but what an attractive traitor. "
Please, Alexei.
- Get down on your knees.
- Never.
Just for a moment.
Get down on one knee.
At least bow!
Not even deep, just a little bow.
For heavers sakes, don't stand there
like a frozen statue, say something!
Say you're sorry.
I'm very grateful for Your Majesty's efforts
to save me,
but I'm a doomed man,
and there's nothing Your Majesty can do.
Don't be a child.
I doomed you, I can undoom you.
I'm the empress. I make the law.
I am the law.
I break the law sometimes.
I can do anything I want.
- Except one thing.
- What?
Make me get back in that white uniform.
You hate me, Alexei, don't you?
Oh, no, Your Majesty, not at all.
You've been very kind to me.
From your point of view.
But, you see, during the long hours in prison,
I had time to take care of something
that I had always neglected to do.
I grew up.
I'm not a little fool any more.
I'm convinced of that.
I'm afraid now you're a big fool.
Maybe I am, but at least I know what I want
and what I don't want.
This is my last speech, my last wish,
my last will and testament.
This is final, Your Majesty.
It's hard to believe this is going to be the end.
I still hope it won't be.
Don't answer me now, please.
Go out and think it over.
You have one hour's time.
And nothing would make me happier
than if you make it possible for me
to tear up this paper.
I won't say goodbye... just dismissed.
Oh, Nicolai.
- Nicolai.
- What is it, Your Majesty?
Please open your heart. You can always deny it.
A little nobody, whom I raised to the heights,
preferred to die rather than...
Oh, it's unthinkable.
What's worse,
I didn't even throw anything at him.
Oh, Nicolai,
the only thing that's broken is my spirit.
- I'm getting old.
- Your Majesty getting old?
Why, you're only going to be 33.
No, I have to confess, Nicolai, I lied.
What woman doesn't, when it comes to her age?
I'm not going to be 33. I am 33.
33? Oh, that's very young, Your Majesty.
Yes, to a man with your gout.
You underestimate yourself. One doesn't have
to have a swollen toe to admire Your Majesty.
Why, only yesterday,
someone saw you in your carriage.
- Who?
- The French ambassador.
Oh, my goodness, the French ambassador!
Whatever happened to the French
ambassador? Is he still in St Petersburg?
Not only is he in St Petersburg,
but, by coincidence, he's in the anteroom.
He raved about Your Majesty.
- Don't you think I ought to see him?
- By all means.
- I'll get him right now.
- Just a moment, Nicolai.
All right, now, Nicolai. Bring him in.
Your Majesty,
I have the high honour to announce the arrival
of the emissary of His Royal Majesty,
King Louis XV.
Ambassador plenipotentiary,
Vicomte de Bayeuls,
Comte de Bayon Valez, Baron de Villau,
and keeper of the king's seal,
Marquis de Fleury.
Vicomte de Bayeuls, Comte de Bayon Valez,
Baron de Villau, Marquis de Fleury,
we welcome you to Russia.
In the name of my sovereign,
I thank Your Majesty
for the most gracious expression of welcome
to the humble servant of my king.
My monarch and the whole French people
united in admiration and respect
for the grand Empress, the light of the East,
whose statesmanship is only surpassed
by her military genius.
And, if Your Majesty permits,
may I add the personal note
- to the impersonal formality of the occasion?
- Please, Monsieur le Marquis.
I have seen portraits -
many, many of Your Majesty -
and I have heard reports most glowing
about the beauties and charms of Your Majesty,
but the palette of the painter
has not colours enough to paint.
And the lyre of the poet
has strings not tender enough
so sing about the beauty which my eyes
have the good fortune to dazzle at.
Thank you, Monsieur le Marquis.
But I want you to know that compliments
of that kind don't mean much in Russia.
They don't mean anything in France.
It's just our French way of saying hello.
Well, that's very forthright, Monsieur le Marquis.
I hope you're going to be just as outspoken
in discussing the political situation.
Sit down, Marquis.
The imperial permission to sit in the presence of
Your Majesty cannot remain unanswered.
In the name of my sovereign, I thank
Your Majesty for allowing the humble servant...
- Look, just sit down.
- Thank you, Your Majesty.
Any decision on Private Chernoff, Your Majesty?
Please don't interrupt me.
I'm very sorry, Marquis.
So, you saw me in my carriage.
Yes, Your Majesty, and I will always cherish.
It is the impression suprme.
Your Majesty travelling in her carriage
looked like spring on wheels.
And I mean the season,
not the thing which gives a bounce.
When Your Majesty smiled at the crowd,
it was putting to shame
the smile of the Mona Lisa.
There is old saying: "See Naples and die. "
I say: "See Catherine and live. "
Vive Catherine the Great.
Thank you, Monsieur le Marquis.
That was charmingly expressed.
- Wasrt it, Nicolai?
- Very charming, Your Majesty.
Spring on wheels.
Smile of Mona Lisa.
See Catherine and live.
Of course, I don't believe a word you said,
but I'm awfully glad you said it.
And what about Anna?
- What Anna?
- Anna Jaschikoff.
Well, what about her? Why do you bother me?
Can't you make a decision yourself?
Must I do everything?
- For heavers sakes, do what you want.
- Thank you, Your Majesty.
You see, Marquis, that's the trouble.
I have to attend to everything myself.
Everybody wants something.
"Your Majesty" this, "Your Majesty" that.
My dear Marquis,
you see me surrounded by thousands of people
in glittering uniforms.
I'm never alone.
And yet I'm lonelier than the loneliest creature
in the loneliest corner of all my lands.
I'm lonely, Marquis.
I do not dare to compare myself to Your Majesty,
but me, I am lonely too.