I've seen this at the BFI KINO season. The portrayal of either Ivan himself, or of lust for power is astonishingly well put and articulated, as is the cinematography (the frequent shadows and photography). What do you expect from the Soviet genius?
It's massive, baroque, and bizarre. Sergei Eisenstein's epic re-telling of the life of Ivan the Terrible is certainly not an ordinary biopic. The entire thing is bathed in weird, gothic compositions and arranged like some kind of opera. All the acting is extremely stylized, but magnetic. However on a technical level it feels like a silent film with sound, and this was made in 1944, not what you'd expect from the era.
Extraordinaria en todos los rubros, esta espectacular cinta es, sin discusiòn, la obra maestra de Sergei M. Einsenstein. Cuadro por cuadro, la perfecciòn tecnica del gran director ruso, la deslumbrante belleza visual del film y la poderosa musica de Prokofiev hacen de esta cinta uno de los puntos de referencia de la historia del cine mundial. Nadie que se considere un cinefilo puede dejar de conocerla y admirarla.
Incredible imagery and filmmaking that many modern filmmakers would do well to study. Not a shot or edit is wasted in this tightly constructed exercise. An amazing potrayal of a man of power with no shortage of political alleghory. The duality of epic capture and use of extreme closeup and perspective shot masterful. Essential cinema from an essential director. Cherkasov mesmerizing in lead role.
Ivan the Terrible, Part I is, according to me of course, a masterpiece. Admittedly I had serious reservations about Alexandre Nevsky that I haven't anymore with Ivan part I. No more propaganda here but a riveting study about power, no more failed and ridiculous lyrical scenes but a sense of beauty that emerges from the setting, the close-ups and Prokofiev's musical score. A DVD zone your library.
The tsar exhorts a crowd of shadows. People crouch, turn their back or bend when plotting. The rulers' kiss is matched by the image of goblets clashing in a toast. Marching armies form long, curved strokes in the long frame. Kurbsky's resentment grows under a twisted background of arrowed bodies. Skuratov's attentive eye becomes the eye of a mural Christ.