Courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and my DVR (what a great invention!), I had the chance not long ago to check out a couple of old movies I’d never seen before, both dealing with the infamous Rasputin. TCM played both films back to back when they aired. First on the agenda was Rasputin and the Empress from 1932, with Lionel Barrymore playing Rasputin (and doing a good and creepy job of it, too!). They followed that up with Christopher Lee playing the role in the 1966 Hammer Studios film Rasputin: The Mad Monk. Lee, as usual, did a great job. He’s always a lot of fun to watch.
I don’t pretend to be any kind of an expert on the historical Rasputin, so I can’t comment on the accuracy of either of these films. But they were fascinating to watch. And obviously I’m not the only one who finds the character intriguing; looking on IMDB, the first time someone played Rasputin on film was back in 1917, only one year after his death. And he keeps cropping up as a character in films, to this day!
Without trying for a likeness of either Barrymore or Lee (or the real Rasputin), I thought it might be fun to take a shot at a character drawing. I only meant to do one drawing, but then I wasn’t entirely sure about how it was coming out, so I kept going, envisioning different approaches. There’s a whole bunch of experimentation going on here, with styles, tools, coloring etc. Instead of making myself crazy trying to decide which way to go, I thought I’d just go ahead and run them all up the flagpole, let the chips fall where they may. And that’s probably more than enough Rasputin for anybody in one dose!
I was a one-man meme!