Exceptional cinema and acting. The play with shadows and lighting is exquisite.Surely it has influenced other period films(eg Elizabeth(1998)) Unfortunately, it continually serves as a propaganda tool. Clearly the autocrat is a precedent image of Stalin, the commonality vs boyars conflict is pure class struggle and so on.
Eisenstein on Russia’s infamous Tsar, Ivan the Terrible. Starring the masterful, thoroughly creepy Nikolai Cherkasov and his devilish beard. Along with the deep shadows, it captures the world of a tortured Tsar with initial good intentions who through circumstance becomes a cold blooded murderer. Eisenstein focused more on composition than dialogue which created a strange, dream-like visual experience.
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.