Reviews

Ivan The Terrible

5

A towering masterpiece of Russian cinema

Made under horrendous political pressures and only two-thirds complete, Sergei Eisenstein’s final movie is still a towering masterpiece of Russian cinema. In Part I the 16th-century autocrat has himself crowned Czar and consolidates his rule against enemies both internal and external. Part II has him defeating a conspiracy of powerful nobles. Part III never got made; Stalin loathed Part II and it was suppressed until 1958. It’s monumental cinema, stylised and expressionistic, and powerfully scored by Prokofiev. A crisp, flawless restoration – but no extras, more’s the pity.

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