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
This first part of Eisenstein's filming of the life and times of "Ivan the Terrible" has lots of drama, very good characterizations, fascinating settings, and plenty of action. Nikolai Cherkasov is completely convincing in the lead role, and the rest of the cast complements him well (especially Serafima Birman as his crafty aunt). This period in history is quite interesting and significant in itself, and Eisenstein presents everything in a fashion that is thoughtful and also enjoyable to watch.
Ivan combined a remorseless personal ambition with a genuine desire to strengthen and protect Russia, while the boyars, who opposed him, acted from motives that were almost exclusively personal. Combined with the plans of Russia's neighbors, all of this makes for a complex and interesting series of events, and the movie does a good job of presenting both the events and the possibilities, both on the surface and behind the scenes. Not the least of the reasons why it works so well are the settings. They are always interesting, believable, and atmospheric - and the indoor settings are especially so.
Part One is praiseworthy both in its own right and as the foundation for the outstanding sequel. Eisenstein generally excelled at depicting important periods in his country's history, and his series on Ivan's critical reign demonstrates all of his many skills. His attention to detail (of which there are too many examples even to try to list) and his appreciation for the overall picture make this a memorable film of high quality.
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