Musings & Thoughts for Sunday, July 11, 2021, or: How I Spent My Saturday Night

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon on Sunday, July 11, 2021 here in New Hometown, Florida.  It’s another hot, muggy, and possibly rainy summer day in this part of the Sunshine State: the current temperature is 86˚F (30˚C) under partly sunny skies. With the wind blowing from the southeast at 6 MPH (10 KM/H) and humidity at 57%, the heat index is 96˚F (36˚C). Today, scattered rain showers are likely to affect our area, and the high will be 90˚F (32˚C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy. The low will be 73˚F (23˚C). Today’s Air Quality Index (AQI) is 114, or Poor.

I’m off to a late start with my blog today. I had a restless night; as hard as I tried, I could not fall asleep, so I ended up watching a movie on Amazon Prime Video until the wee hours of the morning. What did I watch, you ask? Nicholas and Alexandra, a 1971 epic historical drama about the last years of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra’s reign in early 20th Century Russia and the fall of the Romanov dynasty in 1917-18.

Written by James Goldman and based on parts of Robert K. Massie’s eponymous 1967 book, Nicholas and Alexandra was directed by Franklin J. Shaffner, who is perhaps best known for Planet of the Apes (1968) and Patton (1970). The cast is a Who’s Who of mostly British actors, including Michael Jayston (Nicholas), Janet Suzman (Alexandra), Tom Baker of Doctor Who fame (Rasputin), Laurence Olivier (Count Witte). Michael Redgrave (Sazonov), Eric Porter (Stolypin), Harry Andrews (Nicholasha), Ian Holm (Yakovlev, the first Bolshevik official to take custody of the Romanovs in 1918), and Michael Bryant (Lenin).

I think Nicholas and Alexandra did a decent job at encapsulating the decline and fall of the Russian Empire during its titular characters’ reign, and the film (shot in Yugoslavia and Spain by cinematographer Freddy Young) is worth a watch (but not worth buying on home media). It is long (3 hours and 8 minutes, including the intermission) and many scenes have a “shot on a stage” look because Sam Spiegel (the producer) and Schaffner could not film in what was then the Soviet Union. But the acting is decent and – with the exception of one key sequence involving Rasputin – seems to be historically accurate.

I watched most of Nicholas and Alexandra. I stopped watching It at the point where Ian Holm’s Yakovlev turns the captive Romanov’s over to the more murderous Yakov Yurovsky (Alan Webb). Yurovsky is the Bolshevik who executed the Tsar and his family in the infamous Ipatiev House on the night of July 16/17, 1918. I knew what was going to happen, so I turned it off well before that tragic ending.

Art by Nicholas Delort. (C) 2018 Quirk Books and Lucasfilm Ltd.

I slept rather fitfully after that, so now I am a bit tired and sluggish of brain. I did plan to write a review of William Shakespeare’s Jedi the Last: Star Wars Part the Eighth by Ian Doescher, but I think I’ll postpone that for tomorrow.

And, on that note, Dear Reader, I think I’ll stop here and say my goodbyes till tomorrow. It’s getting grayer outside and the light in my room is dimming, and it looks as though we will get some of those scattered rain showers mentioned in the forecast. If it is only rain, I might either finish Nicholas and Alexandra on Amazon Prime Video or watch an “inning” of Baseball. If thunderstorms rear their ugly head, then I’ll read for a while.

Until next time, then, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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