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Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1945)

Ivan Groznyy (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 8 March 1947 (USA)
During the early part of his reign, Ivan the Terrible faces betrayal from the aristocracy and even his closest friends as he seeks to unite the Russian people.

Director:

(as Sergei Eisenstein)

Writer:

(as Sergei Eisenstein)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Serafima Birman ...
Boyarina Efrosinia Staritskaya
Mikhail Nazvanov ...
Prince Andrei Kurbsky
Mikhail Zharov ...
Czar's Guard Malyuta Skuratov
Amvrosi Buchma ...
Czar's Guard Aleksei Basmanov
Mikhail Kuznetsov ...
Fyodor Basmanov
...
Vladimir Andreyevich Staritsky
Andrei Abrikosov ...
Boyar Fyodor Kolychev
Aleksandr Mgebrov ...
Novgorod's Archbishop Pimen
Maksim Mikhaylov ...
Archdeacon
Vladimir Balashov ...
Piotr Volynetz
...
Nikola, Simpleton Beggar
Semyon Timoshenko ...
Kaspar von Oldenbock, Livonian ambassador
Aleksandr Rumnyov ...
The Stranger
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Storyline

In 1547, Ivan IV (1530-1584), archduke of Moscow, crowns himself Tsar of Russia and sets about reclaiming lost Russian territory. In scenes of his coronation, his wedding to Anastasia, his campaign against the Tartars in Kazan, his illness when all think he will die, recovery, campaigns in the Baltic and Crimea, self-imposed exile in Alexandrov, and the petition of Muscovites that he return, his enemies among the boyars threaten his success. Chief among them are his aunt, who wants to advance the fortunes of her son, a simpleton, and Kurbsky, a warrior prince who wants both power and the hand of Anastasia. Ivan deftly plays to the people to consolidate his power. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

8 March 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ivan the Terrible, Part I  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the films included in "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and How They Got That Way)" by Harry Medved and Randy Lowell. See more »

Goofs

Nearly at the end during the big speech, set in the 1560s there is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in the background, which idea was originated in 1812 and was built from 1839-1883. See more »

Quotes

Czar Ivan IV: The knife will slice through those who raise the hand over Moscow.
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Crazy Credits

The movie starts with the words: This movie is about a man who in the 16th century first united our country, about a Moscow prince, who in specific separations and self-interested prince-hoods created one powerful state, about a commander who raised the military honor of our fatherland in the east and in the west, about a leader who first took care of the solution of all these great things himself. Wreath of the czar of whole Russia. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Starye pesni o glavnom 3 (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Eisenstein's Baby
9 October 2002 | by See all my reviews

On a backdrop of intrigue, murder and betrayal, Prince Ivan conquers enemies and becomes the first Czar of all Russia, at the cost of his own soul.

Eisenstein's name and reputation loom over film history in such a forbidding way that you would be forgiven for deeming his work impenetrable by modern standards, yet while his silent epics are so seminal as to be hard to evaluate objectively, his late talking films can be hugely rewarding viewing, even to more casual film-goers. As a summation of his artistic evolution and scholarship, they are no less treasurable or significant than Battleship Potemkin, yet they have a more compelling story to tell.

Ivan The Terrible was to be a trilogy, of which only parts 1 and 2 were completed before their creator fell into disfavor with Stalin. Yet parts 1 and 2 are rich enough that together they form a perfect story ending on a chilling note. On to part 1 then...

Part 1 tells the story of Prince Ivan from young hopeful to warlord and recluse, before he truly accepts his calling. It is an incredibly romanticized tale, and formally, a relic of a time long gone, one that perhaps only ever existed in Eisenstein's mind. His was a unique visual sensibility and the Ivan films are full of layered, meticulously composed and designed shots: characters scurry like rodents through claustrophobic tunnels, the look is at times so expressionistic as to evoke where The Cabinet of Dr Caligari might have evolved. It is both familiar and horribly alien, like the nightmare it later confirms itself as in part 2.

Given the conflicting emotions evoked - heroism with oppression, epic scale but suffocating formalism - you would do well to brace yourself through this one and remember that only once you've seen both parts will it all make terrible sense. Only then will you appreciate the unique genius at work here.

One cannot distinguish between the two Ivans for one cannot exist without the other, and together, they form one of the best films ever made.


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