Battleship Potemkin (The Special Edition) [Import]
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Battleship Potemkin (The Special Edition)
Sergei Eisenstein's revolutionary sophomore feature has so long stood as a textbook example of montage editing that many have forgotten what an invigoratingly cinematic experience he created. A 20th-anniversary tribute to the 1905 revolution, Eisenstein portrays the revolt in microcosm with a dramatisation of the real-life mutiny aboard the battleship Potemkin. The story tells a familiar party-line message of the oppressed working class (in this case the enlisted sailors) banding together to overthrow their oppressors (the ship's officers), led by proto-revolutionary Vakulinchuk. When he dies in the shipboard struggle the crew lays his body to rest on the pier, a moody, moving scene where the citizens of Odessa slowly emerge from the fog to pay their respects. As the crowd grows Eisenstein turns the tenor from mourning a fallen comrade to celebrating the collective achievement. The government responds by sending soldiers and ships to deal with the mutinous crew and the supportive townspeople, which climaxes in the justly famous (and often imitated and parodied) Odessa Steps massacre. Eisenstein edits carefully orchestrated motions within the frame to create broad swaths of movement, shots of varying length to build the rhythm, close-ups for perspective and shock effect, and symbolic imagery for commentary, all to create one of the most cinematically exciting sequences in film history. Eisenstein's film is Marxist propaganda to be sure but the power of this masterpiece lies not in its preaching but its poetry. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to the HD DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I've never had that deep of an expierence in the cinema before with the possible exception of Kubrick's "2001" and Alexandro Jodorowsky's "El Topo", but I was high both times then. With Potemkin and the right music you don't need any help.
What I mean to say - Find the chance to experience the film the way it was meant to be expierenced. Full screen, the original version und live music. And by that I don't mean a single piano. It's got to be more. The movie will rip you out of the chair. Then you will realize what a masterpiece Eisenstein created.
The crew of the Battleship Potemkin returns home after its battle against Japan. A mutiny erupts onboard after the crew is given contaminated rations and soon news of their rebellious movement reaches shore. The sympathetic townspeople near the ship send them food and water but they are soon fired upon by troops sent to deal with the mutineers. The Russian fleet is then dispatched to destroy the Potemkin and put an end to the uprising.
"The Battleship Potemkin" is a propaganda product that has exceeded its original purpose to become something much more significant. When it was first made, the film was more important for its commentary on class struggle but it is now more renown for its innovations in cinematic storytelling. Eisenstein's use of juxtaposed images was the origin of the modern film montage and his editing techniques gave rise to a faster and more energetic narrative style that was much more satisfying than the start-and-stop, jarring method that characterized other films of the era. The expert craftsmanship typical of so many films made today owe "The Battleship Potemkin" a debt of gratitude for influencing their look and feel. Clearly this is one ship that has not sailed into the sunset to be forgotten.
Anyway, as to this DVD: the print is pretty good for a silent film, which means that you can make out what's going on about 90% of the time. Of course, the recent restoration of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" so completely spoils us now, with its incredible beauty and clarity, that it's hard to settle for anything less! But this printing of "Battleship Potemkin," from a 1976 Soviet restoration, remains quite respectable.
My main reservation is the music. Austrian composer Edmund Meisel composed a score specifically for this film at the time of its original release. Even though the present DVD version is a "restoration," it does not use the original music. Instead, the score a patchwork of extracts from Shostokovitch's symphonies (the opening scene of waves crashing is the beginning of the 1st movement of the 5th symphony; the opening of "Odessa Steps" with the ships moving in the harbor is the beginning of the same symphony's Scherzo). Great music, yes, but often not well-matched to the action.
Most recent customer reviews
Has to be on the list of the top five best movies ever made. The black and white shoot adds another dimension of edginess to the film.Published on May 28 2013 by Diran B. Horozian
Many silent films are difficult to sit through, even if the film contains a strong message such as The Birth of a Nation. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2008 by Brandon P. Reekers
"Revolution is war. Of all the wars known in history it is the only lawful, rightful, just, and truly great war... In Russia this war has been declared and begun". Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2007 by B. Alcat
A movie that contains some very clever sequences and shots, particularly those of the massacre on the steps of the city. There isn't much of a story though. Read morePublished on Aug. 7 2004 by Jonathon Allsopp
The movie: 5 stars.
The dvd edition: 2 stars, okay picture, good score, no special features, average on the whole.
A nice little DVD edition, if you get it cheap. Read more
Most of the reviews posted here unfortunately review the film, not the product for sale. Little else can be said about Battleship Potemkin, Eisenstein's masterpiece and one of the... Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2004
Remembering that the film was both a product and a tool of the Soviet political machine, the hatred of the Tsarists is evident throughout. Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2004
With modern multi-million dollar blockbusters with computer effects, an OLD film like this can be difficult to watch. With the masterful scoring, it justs adds to the effect. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2003 by Amazon Customer
Battleship Potempkin is an historic milestone, and is useful for future directors to watch, but the film itself shows too many flaws to be in itself entertaining. Read morePublished on Oct. 28 2003 by Drew Olds