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aka - Ivan Groznyi
Russia 1946/1948
Directed by
Sergei Eisenstein
180 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Ivan The Terrible (Parts 1 & 2)

Eisenstein's last film (he died prematurely in 1948 aged 50) is in many ways a reworking of Alexander Nevsky in its emphasis on individual leadership (Nikolai Cherkassov, who played Alexander, again plays the lead and gives a compelling performance) and in teaming once again with creative partners composer Sergei Prokofiev and cinematographer Edouard Tissé.

Whilst Part 1 (1946) of this story of the 16th century Tsar Ivan IV who unified Old Russia in the face of boyar opposition earned kudos for Eisenstein and his team from the Stalinist regime, the second and, from a biographical point of view, more interesting part (1948) which shows Ivan as deeply troubled and mentally-unhinged individual was not released until 1958, 5 years after Stalin's death (Part 3 was never made). Despite being incomplete this is an impressive work, Shakespearean in its tragic conception, spectacular in staging and a testament to Eisenstein's commitment to his art.




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