Ivan Groznyy
1944 / 95m - Soviet Union
Ivan the Terrible, Part I poster


August 30, 2020


Eisenstein is best known for his early innovation, with a strong focus on the visual side of things. I had no idea what to expect from Ivan the Terrible, but I figured I would see back some of that experimentation here. Turns out this is a very classic, strict and unadventurous biography, a pretty big bummer.

To be honest, I'm not particularly interested in Russian history, especially not when it is served as a pretty dry, political film that heavily relies on dialogue and comes with a hefty slice of propaganda. Even though it's relatively short, it dragged from the very start and never picked up steam.

Performances are poor, though that could've also been due to the second-rate costumes. The sets at least are pretty nice, but the rigid camera work and basic framing didn't do them any justice. What remains is a sluggish, dull and drab black and white biography, not the kind of thing I'd expected Eisenstein to make.