All the Actresses Who Have Played Catherine the Great –

Posted: May 20, 2020 at 4:45 am

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123, Bettmann; Everett Collection; Turner Pictures/Everett Collection; HBO

Since her death in 1796, the Russian Empress Catherine the Great has been a fascination of not only historians but also some of our greatest actresses. The role has captivated stars from Marlene Dietrich to Catherine Zeta-Jones and, most recently, Elle Fanning. Even Mae West brought a version of her storycalled Catherine Was Greatto the Broadway stage in 1943. But who's played the legendary monarch on screen? Here's a look at the actresses who've portrayed Catherine's power, smarts, and style on film.

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Pola Negri

In the 1924 silent film Forbidden Paradise (based on the Broadway play The Czarina), Pola Negri played Catherine, the monarch of a European country who's saved from a coup by a soldier who becomes her love interestat least for a little while.

Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich played the role of the Catherine the Great in the 1934 drama The Scarlet Empress. While many film buffs still hold the film in high regard, historians have knocked itand its suggestive storylinesfor being more fantasy than reality.

Elisabeth Bergner

Escape Me Never star Bergner appeared opposite Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in 1934's The Rise of Catherine the Great, which came out the same year as its direct competitor, The Scarlett Empress.

Tallulah Bankhead

Ernst Lubitsch, who directed the silent Forbidden Paradise, teamed with director Otto Preminger to film the 1945 "talkie" remake A Royal Scandal starring Bankhead, Donald Douglas, and Charles Coburn.

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Jeanne Moreau

The 1968 comedy Great Catherine, based on a short story by George Bernard Shaw, features Moreau as Catherine the Great, and c0starred Peter O'Toole and Zero Mostel.

Julia Ormond

The 1991 miniseries Young Catherinewhich filmed in Russia and actually shot scenes at the Winter Palace, where Russian royals once livedstarred Ormond as the young royal finding her way in Russia and Vanessa Redgrave as Empress Elizabeth.

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Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine the Great, the 1995 TV movie, featured another Catherine (Zeta-Jones) in the title role. Jeanne Moreau, who played that role back in 1968, shows up here as Empress Elizabeth.

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Helen Mirren

The Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning Mirren played Catherine in the Great in a 2019 HBO limited series. It gave her a unique perspective on the character; She knew she had to control the male aristocrats around her," Mirren told the New York Times. "And she did. She did by outsmarting them.

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Elle Fanning

In 2020's darkly comic The Great, Fanning plays Catherine opposite Nicholas Hoult's Petergiving the character another breath of new life almost 100 years after she first appeared on screen.

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May 20th, 2020 at 4:45 am

Posted in Bernard Shaw