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.
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.
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"...