Excellent cinematography, arguably the single feature that elevates this film. The battle scene is superb given the limitations of the time. The myriad of peasants and knights are delicately characterised and choreographed to give a very realistic feeling to the story. The film also strikes a cord for its accute insight into a perilous era, prelude of one of saddest episodes in XX century Russian history.
I didn't like this one as much as the Ivan the Terrible movies and of course Eisenstein's better known works. It is a little monotone. Things to pay attention too are the meticulous detail that has gone into the Teutonic faction. Their look and how they're set up on the set are both very well done.
This film should first be evaluated for its cinematography. Its clear that patriotic and communist values dominate the screenplay, but I think that neither that nor the politic analogy to the relation between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union undermines the greatness of this production. Besides, Prokofiev amazing soundtrack and the richness of the wardrobe gives an iconic mark to this film.
'Celui qui viendra avec un glaive périra par le glaive' Funny quote. Despite the film's old age, I can see why this has been influential, maybe for Kurosawa or other directors. The battle is expressionnist but seems like an edge above the rest for the time.
A beautiful and ambitious historical epic that proves Eisenstein is not just relegated to silent relics. It still manages to be striking and intense, especially with its battle sequences. This is greatly complemented by the beautiful cinematography of the Russian steppes.
Eisenstein's graphic conflict is so strong when there is no reliance upon internal conflict, although with the removal of political, symbolic and physical conflicts the drama clearly needs the push of a storyteller (rather than an essayist). Incredible moments of dramatic jolt in which backgrounded and large compositional elements ("Church," mountains) clash with variously challenging concepts of the Russian people!
The emotional and technical power of the film outshines the littered scenes of propaganda and insulting childishness, which, hopefully, might be irony on the part of Eisenstein. For me, though, the Teutonic knights dominate the film, even as they lay silent on the ice.
A curious pantomime of a film, as phoney and kitsch as any Disney film, yet with Eisenstein's primal power to impress, thanks to his grounding in the brutal visual simplicty of silent cinema. To think that once I thought this was better than his "Ivan The Terrible"...
Essential cinema. Rousing, jaw dropping masterpiece from director Eisenstein that not only utilizes his key characters but well manipulates his cast of thousands in capturing incredible images. The film certainly doesn't hide its' propagandist elements but revels in them. The battle footage captured was unparalled at the time. Beautiful cinematography by Eduard Tisse well planned and designed by Eisenstein.
It looked incredibly ugly, it's music was rubbish, it's dialogue was absurd, it's acting ridiculous, it's battle scenes seemed amateurish with no scale, the pacing and narrative seemed slapdash - just an utter mess. On top of that it was hyper-nationalistic, sexist and lacked any depth whatsoever (the explicit Hitler allegory hold no depth) , for example the rousing of the peasants had no intelligence whatsoever.
The propaganda in this film has to be understood within the historical context of its 1938 release date in the Soviet Union, when the territorial threat posed by Nazi Germany loomed large. Substitute Nazis for the Teutonic Knights, and ALEXANDER NEVSKY becomes something more than a thrillingly filmed and scored (Prokofiev!) chronicle of a 13th century event.