Sunday, 12 January 2020

no identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings and products is intended or should be inferred

Though we could not recite this disclaimer from memory, it’s certainly familiar to all of us, having been driven into the audience’s psyche as a cinematic preamble for any work of pure or historical fiction. From a litigious perspective, we understand we the distributors are coming from but did not realise until thanks to Miss Cellania, it stemmed from one specific 1932 character defamation lawsuit—involving no less than Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin.
The MGM studio debuted the film Rasputin and the Empress (the only movie starring all three of the Barrymore siblings together) which suggested that one of the princess characters was raped by the charismatic advisor to the House of Romanov and that particular portrayal was intended to be Princess Irina Alexandrovna, surviving the Bolshevik revolution as the sole niece of Tsar Nicholas II. The princess and her husband, Count Felix Felixovich Yusupov whom also participated in the assassination of Rasputin, successfully sued the production company for libel and an additional out of court settlement. The feature began with the introductory claim that “This concerns the destruction of an empire… A few of the characters are still alive—the rest having met their death by violence,” a statement that was completely overhauled to own that it was not a historically accurate portrayal of events at all. To avoid further lawsuits, it was removed from circulation for decades until Irina Alexandrovna’s death in 1970. Be sure and visit the link up top to hear the rest of the story and its legacy.