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An epic romance set in Russia during the final days of the Tsarist autocracy, TEMPEST stars John Barrymore as Sgt. Ivan Markov, a dedicated soldier who defies the rigid class system to receive an officer's commission. But even as he rises through the ranks of military and society, he must contend with resentment from the aristocratic officers - including the monocled Ullrich Haupt, who delivers a sinister performance worthy of Erich von Stroheim, himself an uncredited screenwriter on the project.
Ignoring the warnings of a grim political prophet (Boris de Fast), Ivan continues his climb to power, and falls in love with a haughty princess (Faust's Camilla Horn), who spurns him and causes him to be stripped of rank. However, the tables are turned when the prophecy of a people's revolt is realized, upending the aristocracy and putting Ivan and Princess Tamara at the mercy of a sweeping tide of fate.