Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to speak or walk, and bearing a strange note;... See full summary »
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.
Historical evocation of Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from his crowning in 1864 until his death in 1886, as a romantic hero. Fan of Richard Wagner, betrayed by him, in love with his cousin ... See full summary »
Action opens in November of 1793, with Danton returning to Paris from his country retreat upon learning that the Committee for Public Safety, under Robespierre's incitement, has begun a ... See full summary »
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
Ivan the Terrible was Sergei M. Eisenstein's pet project for years and was to be a trilogy. Viewed alone, part 1 is a pretty good film. Part two is better. But only viewed together do they achieve true greatness. The over-stylized first part may be overwhelming at first but if you follow the whole saga, you'll understand one of the more subtle underlying themes: Eisenstein wanted the actors to evolve physically, their mannerisms resembling those of wild beasts (Ivan is an eagle, his bodyguard a bear...), the corruption of power, turning men into beasts. The character of Ivan at first seems far too romantically portrayed, but we later discover that it is the result of his romantic view of himself. As some of his past and his darker side are revealed, he seems by turns pitiful and paranoid, even cruel, but this is all so well written and played out (in a very unusual way, relying on Silent-era expressionism, though perhaps that was a fortunate "mistake" Eisenstein made, rather that a carefully thought plan), that it makes Ivan the Terrible one of the most human monsters ever to be put to film (Stalin even feared it for he found Ivan to resemble him far too much!). The wars and the intrigues are mostly subplot material, and the picture is mostly a psychological journey. One might also add that it is one of the very best of its kind!
20 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?