This Is The Crazy Reason Most Films Have To Say They’re Fictional

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You know when film credits state ‘Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental’ and it always seems a bit weird? Well, it turns out it actually is really, really weird.

Like, it’s all Rasputin’s fault weird.

You know, Rasputin – the hard-drinking, heavy-petting and rumoured sex wizard, who accidentally helped overthrow one of the most powerful royal families in the history of the world. (Seriously, the dude was a total nutter – look him up).

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rasputin wikimedia This Is The Crazy Reason Most Films Have To Say Theyre FictionalWikimedia

He made such a nuisance of himself among the Russian royal family in the early 1900s that a group of people got together and killed him dead.

Warning – dead body:

Dead Rasputin wikimedia This Is The Crazy Reason Most Films Have To Say Theyre FictionalWikimedia

Him getting killed is where film disclaimers come in somewhat unexpectedly, reports The Independent.

A film about Rasputin’s life and death called Rasputin and the Empress was released by MGM in 1932. But it was the scene of his death that caused all the chaos.

Rasputin was allegedly murdered by Prince Felix Yusopov and others in 1916. It was a pretty brutal murder if legend is to be believed because Rasputin flat out refused to die, despite drinking poison, being shot and eventually being dumped in a frozen river.

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MGM thought they’d covered their backs by replacing Yusopov with a character called ‘Chegodieff’.

However, the real Yusopov was living in exile in France when the film came out and didn’t think the name change was enough.

Prince Felix Yusupov Wikimedia This Is The Crazy Reason Most Films Have To Say Theyre FictionalWIkimedia Commons

He worried being implicated in the murder would tarnish his reputation – despite having titled his memoir Lost Splendor: The Amazing Memoir Of The Man Who Killed Rasputin.

However, MGM had ballsed up big time by including a card in the film that read:

This concerns the destruction of an empire… A few of the characters are still alive — the rest met death by violence.

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That meant Yusopov won a lawsuit against them and got a tonne of cash from the film studio.

rasputin and the emperess youtube This Is The Crazy Reason Most Films Have To Say Theyre FictionalYouTube

Fingers burned, lesson learned.

The case led to MGM and most other film studios adopting the now ubiquitous disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

And that is how Rasputin inadvertently left his mark on almost every film you’ve ever watched.


Credits

The Independent

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