18 September 2015
Don Sharp directs this Hammer House of Horror film from 1966 which is about an hour and a half in duration. Christopher Lee is Grigori Rasputin: The Mad Monk, and why not – Christopher Lee has played every other type of villain after all (Not that I have a problem with that at all). The film chronicles Rasputin’s life from his rise to power through to his assassination. While it may not be 100% factual and historically accurate it’s still a good yarn and a way to pass an hour or so. Starring opposite Lee is Barby Shelley and the experienced due carry a lot of weigh on the screen, working perfectly in tandem with each other throughout. In fact it’s their delivery which seems to lift a somewhat drag script. Being a Hammer House film the sets are obvious wobbly at times, unfortunately it feels like this film was made slightly on the cheap as all the action seemed limited to a handful of locations. Although not varied the sets was certainly not drab – even when it wobbled!! This is a different kind of film to what you might expect from Hammer but it’s a good attempt all the same and looks at the legacy of Rasputin in a different way to other films I have seen on the topic. For it’s obvious flaws there is a charm about the level of evil portrayed by Christopher Lee, if it was possible to rate an acting performance separately from a film as a whole I’d award 8/10 the Mr Lee, but I’d only award 5/10 for the film.