In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.
Sergei M. Eisenstein
100.000.000 peasants - illiterate, poor, hungry. There comes a day when one woman decides that she can live old life no longer. Using ways of new Soviet state and industrial progress she changes life and labor of her village.
Sergei M. Eisenstein
In 1547, Ivan IV (1530-1584), archduke of Moscow, crowns himself Tsar of Russia and sets about reclaiming lost Russian territory. In scenes of his coronation, his wedding to Anastasia, his campaign against the Tartars in Kazan, his illness when all think he will die, recovery, campaigns in the Baltic and Crimea, self-imposed exile in Alexandrov, and the petition of Muscovites that he return, his enemies among the boyars threaten his success. Chief among them are his aunt, who wants to advance the fortunes of her son, a simpleton, and Kurbsky, a warrior prince who wants both power and the hand of Anastasia. Ivan deftly plays to the people to consolidate his power.Written by
Perhaps if I had not watched von Sternberg's SCARLET EMPRESS the day before I watched IVAN THE TERRIBLE, I would have appreciated Eisenstein's film more.
SCARLET EMPRESS is von Sternberg's own historical Russian epic: Catherine the Great (played by Marlene Deitrich) rises to power despite conspiracies against her--conspiracies much like the ones that face Ivan in Eisenstein's film. The films are remarkably similar, and Eisenstein's influence on von Sternberg's lighting and montage sequences could not be more apparent.
Unfortunately, IVAN THE TERRIBLE is light years behind SCARLET EMPRESS in terms of the integration of sound with image, humanistic characterizations, and nuanced (as opposed to exaggeratedly theatrical) acting styles. If I had to guess, I'd say IVAN THE TERRIBLE was made ten years before SCARLET EMPRESS. In fact, it was made ten years after.
I'm a big fan of Eisenstein's BATTLESHIP POTEMPKIN, and as a student of Russian history and culture, I expected IVAN THE TERRIBLE to be a thoroughly engaging film. Instead it seemed a primitive effort: a move backward for a man who excelled at silent storytelling but couldn't evolve along with cinema. Of course, this IS Eisenstein, and IVAN is a very intelligent and well-crafted film, but viewed alongside its contemporaries, its shortcomings become all too apparent.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this