Korda's expensive follow-up to The Private Life of Henry VIII fared badly against Sternberg's extravaganza The Scarlet Empress. Dietrich's siren attractions proved irresistible, and two Catherines in one year was too much for most audiences. Hungarian director Czinner has little of Sternberg's visual flair, but he is well served by Vincent Korda's sets and elicits marvellous performances from his players. Robson, even at 32, has the haggard authority of an old woman; Fairbanks descends into madness with a minimum of cliché; and Bergner, in her first English film, dispenses with her little-girl grotesqueries and is dazzling in her progress from lovelorn child to indomitable empress.
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