Fall of the Romanoffs (1917)

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The overthrow of Czar Nicholas II in Russia was such big news that the then-fledgling art of cinema couldn't help but jump on it immediately and create a couple of dramatizations. This is one adaptation of the event; another is World Film's Rasputin, the Black Monk, released at roughly the same time. The special feature here is that Iliodor, the monk who saw through Rasputin -- and suffered for it -- plays himself. Unfortunately, he's not a very good actor, which is emphasized because he's surrounded by professionals. Alfred Hickman plays Nicholas II, Nance O'Neil is the Czarina, Rasputin is played by Edward Conelly, and the urbane Conway Tearle plays Prince Felix. The storyline stays very close to real life as it relates how Rasputin worked his influence over the monarchy, his alliance with Germany, his assassination, and the Czar's fall. The production design, too, is sumptuous, as befitted the Romanoff dynasty.