Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)

Starring Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Richard Pasco, Francis Matthews, Suzan Farmer
Directed by Don Sharp
(actor & director credits courtesy

Rasputin, the notorious monk who exerted his influence over the Russian royal family, rises to power with the aid of strange supernatural abilities.

Hammer Films, well known for their horror output by this time, tries their luck at a historical drama, but it still comes out a horror film, and it's one of my personal favorites.  Lee gives a convincing performance, portraying Rasputin as a soulless monster with hypnotic powers impossible to resist, and although historical fact is left by the wayside, the result is grand entertainment.  Don Banks' ominous score is a perfect fit for the evil practiced by Lee onscreen, and Shelley and Pasco are very good as two of the victims Rasputin manipulates.

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