Ekaterina II, Catherine the Great

Ekaterina II, Catherine the Great                                                               A review By Jack Kettler

The Film Genre Drama

Created by Anton Zlatopolsky

Written by Arif Aliev

Season 1 directed by Alexander Baranov and Ramil Sabitov

Season 2 and 3 directed by Dmitry Losifov

Main Starring Cast from Wikipedia:

Marina Alexandrova as Empress Catherine the Great.

Yuliya Aug as Empress Elizaveta Petrovna.

Aleksandr Yatsenko as His Highness Pyotr Fyodorovich and Emperor Peter III.

Pavel Tabakov as His Highness Pavel Petrovich

Isabel Schosnig as the mother of Catherine

Vladimir Menshov as Count Alexey Bestuzhev-Ryumin

Konstantin Lavronenko as Count Johann Lestocq

Alexander Lazarev Jr. as Count Graf Alexey Razumovsky

Nikolay Kozak as Count Alexander Shuvalov

Rinal Mukhametov as Count Sergey Saltykov

Sergey Strelnikov as Captain Grigory Orlov

Sergey Marin as Count Grigory Orlov

Mikhail Gavrilov as Alexey Orlov

Artyom Alekseev as Count Alexey Orlov

Vladimir Yaglych as Grigory Potemkin

Sergey Koltakov as Chancellor Nikita Panin

Mikhail Gorevoy as councilor Stepan Sheshkovsky

Stanislav Strelkov as cabinet secretary Adam Olsufyev

Alina Tomnikov as Her Highness Natalya Alexeyevna

Artur Ivanov as Yemelyan Pugachev

Angelina Strechina as Princess Tarakanova

See the other recurring cast members listed on Wikipedia.

Production locations: were in Saint Petersburg; Moscow; Crimea; Veliky Novgorod; and Prague.

Season 1: Catherine 2014

Season 2: The Rise of Catherine 2017

Season 3: Catherine Impostors 2019

Set decorations: Superb time-period costumes are authentic

Casting: is fabulous

Cinematography is stunning and breathtaking

Locations: Were in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Crimea, Veliky Novgorod, and Prague.

Film Locations in St. Petersburg: the Hermitage museum, which is housed in the Winter Palace, Peterhof, or the Summer Palace of Peter the Great, Catherine’ Palace, the Church of St. Peter and Paul.

Review with some historical tidbits:

The three-season epic covers the Russian Empress Ekaterina II or “Catherine the Great.” Sophie Friederike Auguste came to Russia from Prussia, now Szczecin, Poland. Empress Elisabeth renamed Friederike, as Ekaterina, which is a girl’s name of Slavic origin, meaning “pure.” Friederike was brought to Russia to be the bride of Peter III (Pyotr III Fyodorovich himself renamed and German-born as Karl Peter Ulrich). Pyotr’s aunt Elisabeth chose Friederike to be married to Pyotr to continue the House of Romanov dynasty (1613 to 1917).

Ekaterina came to power in a coup d’état that she organized with help. During her reign, through council, her name was changed to “Catherine the Great.” Ekaterina dramatically changed the Russian empire during her 34 years on the throne. She defeated the Ottoman Turks on more than one occasion. Catherine supported and was obedient to the Orthodox Church and quite literally saved Russia as a nation. In addition, to her political shrewdness, she was the greatest benefactor and collector of art that Europe has ever seen during her life.

Having the great opportunity to visit St. Petersburg in 2019, the three-series film held numerous cinematic special moments. It was extraordinary to revisit in the film, locations such as those inside the Hermitage museum situated inside the Winter Palace on the bank of the Neva River, Catherine’s Palace, The Church of Saint Peter and Paul inside the fortress by the same name, and other locations near or around the above. The visual imagery in the film is incredibly magnificent and spectacular. Having seen some of the locations in the film is it understandable why they are a great source of Russian national pride.

Since this reviewer does not speak Russian, the accuracy of the English translation for the subtitles cannot be discussed. It is known, that at times, the Russian translation into English is difficult. However, it would have been a travesty if the film were overdubbed in English. Being in Russian added to the beauty of the film. The actors were outstanding. Especially, Marina Alexandrova as Empress “Catherine the Great” and Yuliya Aug as Empress Elizaveta Petrovna or “Elisabeth.” Both were powerful and convincing in their roles. Channel One in Russia did a commendable job of bringing the story of Catherine to the screen. If the reader appreciates great historical movies, do not miss this three-part series.

Quotes from Catherine:

“The laws ought to be so framed as to secure the safety of every citizen as much as possible. … Political liberty does not consist in the notion that a man may do whatever he pleases; liberty is the right to do whatsoever the laws allow. … The equality of the citizens consists in that they should all be subject to the same laws.” – Catherine the Great

“It is better to inspire a reform than to enforce it.” – Catherine the Great

“I sincerely want peace, not because I lack resources for war, but because I hate bloodshed.” – Catherine the Great

“The more a man knows, the more he forgives.” – Catherine the Great

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat.

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