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.
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.
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.
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.