(Review originally written at 5 April 2009)

The movie "Ivan Groznyy I" from 1944 was already made in a terribly outdated style, even for its era. "Ivan Groznyy II: Boyarsky zagovor" is no different. Sergei M. Eisenstein's style of featuring long stares and extreme close-ups worked out extremely well and effective for his silent movies but in 'talkies' it only slows the movie down. Sure it's fine and artistically impressive looking all but it's not halve as effective as would be the case with a silent movie.

Even though this movie got released 14 years after the previous movie "Ivan Groznyy I", it still got shot at the same time as the first movie. Reason why it got released so much later was because Stalin banned it because he wasn't too happy about the portrayal of Czar Ivan IV in this movie, who's more dark side is shown and besides shows a more crazy side of him, as he slowly slides into madness. Guess we should be lucky that this movie still exists today and that it didn't got completely destroyed during Stalin's reign.

Because of the fact that the movie its story and main character are much darker, the movie becomes also more interesting to watch, when comparing it to the first movie. It's darker approach also makes its old fashioned style of film-making more tolerable. It suits its story better, even though its still far from ideal. I just can't imaging people still liked watching this in 1958, no matter how great and big Eisenstein was, who had died 10 years prior to the release of this movie.

It's an interesting watch for those interested in history and for the fans of Eisenstein's work. It would had been interesting to see part III being completed but Stalin halted production and showed destroyed most of the already shot footage, since the movie once more didn't showed Ivan to his own liking and the movie was supposedly also a protest against Stalin own current regime, that showed some parallels to the tyrant methods of Ivan the terrible, as got portrayed in that movie.

Already an outdated movie during the time of its production but still an artistically interesting movie to watch, that works out better than the first movie.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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