Sergei Eisenstein: Ivan the Terrible (1943)

Sergei Eizenshtein. Starring Nikolai Cherkasov, Ludmila Tselikovskaia, Serafima Birman, Pavel Kadochnikov, Mikhail Nazvanov, Andrei Abrikosov, Mikhail Zharov, Ambrosi Buchma, Vsevolod Pudovkin.
Music: Sergei Prokofiev.
Description: Taken to be a model of Russocentric state leadership during the Stalin era, Ivan the Terrible acts forcefully in this scene to foil a plot by the boyars to undermine his rule. Allied with the boyars are the priests, who personify ignorance and superstition, and Ivan’s erstwhile friend Prince Kurbskii, who covets the tsarina, and will soon betray Ivan to the Poles. Ivan’s private soldiers, the oprichina, proves itself his loyal guard in the conflict. Part I of the film trilogy, from which this clip is taken, pleased viewers and leaders alike; Parts II and III, which chronicled Ivan’s decline into tyranny and madness, did not reach Soviet screens.

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