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.
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.
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.
Prokofief's music at the end of Part I is so similar to Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra used by Kubrick deades later in "2001- A space odyssey."
The sets, the projected shadows, and the camera work of Andrei Noskvin (interiors) and Eduard Tisse (exteriors) are just superb. The sets created by Iosif Shpinel are just awesome for 1944-5 global standards.
The performances of all actors are memorable.