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Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1944)

Ivan Groznyy (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 8 March 1947 (USA)
Trailer
1:31 | Trailer
During the early part of his reign, Ivan the Terrible faces betrayal from the aristocracy and even his closest friends as he seeks to unite the Russian people.

Director:

Sergei M. Eisenstein (as Sergei Eisenstein)

Writer:

Sergei M. Eisenstein (as Sergei Eisenstein)
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nikolay Cherkasov ... Czar Ivan IV
Lyudmila Tselikovskaya ... Czarina Anastasia Romanovna
Serafima Birman ... Boyarina Efrosinia Staritskaya
Mikhail Nazvanov ... Prince Andrei Kurbsky
Mikhail Zharov ... Czar's Guard Malyuta Skuratov
Amvrosi Buchma ... Czar's Guard Aleksei Basmanov
Mikhail Kuznetsov ... Fyodor Basmanov
Pavel Kadochnikov ... Vladimir Andreyevich Staritsky
Andrei Abrikosov ... Boyar Fyodor Kolychev
Aleksandr Mgebrov Aleksandr Mgebrov ... Novgorod's Archbishop Pimen
Maksim Mikhaylov Maksim Mikhaylov ... Archdeacon
Vladimir Balashov ... Piotr Volynetz
Vsevolod Pudovkin ... Nikola, Simpleton Beggar
Semyon Timoshenko Semyon Timoshenko ... Kaspar von Oldenbock, Livonian ambassador
Aleksandr Rumnev Aleksandr Rumnev ... The Stranger (as Aleksandr Rumnyov)
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boyar | tzar | brutality | tyranny | czar | See All (49) »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Took over 3 years to make. See more »

Goofs

After Anastasia's death, when discussing the Livonian war the "only" son of the Czar is mentioned. Howevefr at the time Ivan had two sons, Feodor, who became Czar Feodor I of Russia, and also Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovich. See more »

Quotes

Czar Ivan IV: Those who tore down the bells without Czar's permission, those by Czar's command get torn down the heads for not too long.
See more »

Crazy Credits

All the credits are showed in front of a fire smoke. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Image Book (2018) See more »

User Reviews

 
Sadly overrated and dated for the time period, but highlights the limitations the Eisenstein was subject to
15 June 2019 | by demadrigalSee all my reviews

It's almost immediately obvious that this film suffers because of Stalin's Iron Curtain and the government-mandated style of Socialist Realism. Watching it feels like a film from 1929 rather than one released 4 years after Citizen Kane and 3 years after Casablanca. Eisenstein probably never got a chance to see those films or any of the other films after he was forced to return to the USSR in the early 1930s. The film shows heavy influence from European films of the 1920s. His use of shadows recalls German Expressionism and the extreme closeups of dramatic facial expressions are lifted directly from Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc. The cinematography and sound is particularly dated. There is an almost complete absence of any kind of camera movement or zoom shots except for a couple dolly shots at extremely dramatic points. It results in some awkward moments with framing, shot composition, and even scene blocking as the actors have to restrict their movements to stay in frame. Very often it results in the subjects in the shot being oddly off in the corner of a shot. It's unclear whether this is the result of technical limitations or artistic choice but it's very distracting especially for a film from the mid-40s. Likewise, the sound is often limited to the score and voices with ambient sounds like footsteps being left out. This adds to the dated and silent film-like feel of the film as a whole.

Aside from the technical aspects, Socialist Realism constrains the film in terms of character and plot. The mandate to de-emphasize (or eliminate) individuals as characters essentially squashes any hopes for character development and Eisenstein has to lean on fairly blunt forms of symbolism to communicate his character's inner emotional states. The antagonists in particular are one-dimensional caricatures of actual human beings. Although, in an advancement relative to Eisenstein's earliest films like Strike, the characters actually have names. Also, Socialist Realism forces any kind of real nuance or sophistication out of the story. By government mandate, all characters are all good or all evil and the film must eliminate ambiguity and serve to glorify the state and Stalin in particular with the blunt subtlety of a sledgehammer.

Finally, the actors are all clearly more accustomed to theatrical acting rather than cinematic acting. Taken along with all of the factors, this often results in googly-eyed overacting with an unintentionally comic effect.

Ultimately, it's rather tragic considering what a pioneer Eisenstein was in the 20s and how he contributed to film editing in particular. I would have loved to have seen what kind of film Eisenstein would have made if he had the same kind of artistic freedom that directors in other countries had at that same time period.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Soviet Union

Language:

Russian

Release Date:

8 March 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ivan the Terrible, Part I See more »

Filming Locations:

Alma-Aty, Kazhachstan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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