Alexander Nevsky

Alexander Nevsky

Director: Sergei Eisenstein

Cast: Nikolai Cherkasov, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Andrei Abrikosov

     
 

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Like many of Eisenstein's best films, Alexander Nevsky was conceived as a morale-booster, aimed at stirring up Russian patriotism. It is set in the 13th century, but the villainous Teutonic Knights are obviously meant to represent the burgeoning threat of Hitler's hordes. With Russia besieged by both these knights and by the Tartars, only a charismatic leaderSee more details below

Overview

Like many of Eisenstein's best films, Alexander Nevsky was conceived as a morale-booster, aimed at stirring up Russian patriotism. It is set in the 13th century, but the villainous Teutonic Knights are obviously meant to represent the burgeoning threat of Hitler's hordes. With Russia besieged by both these knights and by the Tartars, only a charismatic leader can save the populace from these barbaric baby killers (yes, we see the villains tossing screaming infants into bonfires!) The hero of the piece is the legendary Prince Alexander Nevsky, portrayed by Nikolai Cherkasov, who bears a striking resemblance to Gary Cooper. The saving turnaround for Nevsky is the battle of ice-covered Lake Peipus in 1242. This bravura sequence is staged in spectacular fashion, underlined by the specially-commissioned music of Sergei Prokofiev.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky was spawned by world events, kept out of circulation due to changing political winds, and then enshrined as perhaps the most influential Soviet-made historical film. Made at the behest of the Soviet government to bolster morale, the film re-enacted a 13th century Russian victory over invading Teutonic knights. Intended to remind the Russian people that they'd defeated supposedly superior German invaders before, the movie proved astoundingly effective as anti-Hitler propaganda within the Soviet Union, and it was also popular around the world, named one of the best films of the year by the very conservative National Board of Review, among others. Then Hitler and Stalin signed their non-aggression pact in 1939, and the movie was withdrawn from circulation, no longer of use to the Soviet government. With the breakdown of the "peace" between the two nations in 1941, Alexander Nevsky was rushed back into release in the Soviet Union, where it proved even more effective the second time around. It had by that time already influenced the work of filmmakers far from the Soviet Union: it was clearly the motivation for the depiction of England's defeat of the Spanish Armada in Alexander Korda's The Lion Has Wings (1940), the first British propaganda film of the war, started the day after Hitler invaded Poland; and Laurence Olivier modeled most of the Battle of Agincourt in his Henry V (1944) after the battle scenes in Alexander Nevsky, virtually recreating entire shots in what proved the first successful film of a Shakespeare play. The movie's ongoing influence extended to the concert hall: composer Sergei Prokofiev wrote a score inspired by the film that he later reshaped into a massive choral/orchestral piece that took on a life of its own in the concert hall, arguably the piece of film music that most successfully made the leap into the orchestral repertory.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/26/1995
UPC:
0032031161535
Original Release:
1938
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kultur Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nikolai Cherkasov Alexander Nevsky
Nikolai Okhlopkov Vassily Buslai
Andrei Abrikosov Gavrilo Olexich
Dmitri N. Orlov Ignat, Master Armourer
V.K. Novikov Pavsha, Governor of Pskov
Vladimir Yershov Master of the Teutonic Order
N.N. Arski Domash, Nobleman of Novgorod
Valeria O. Massalitinova Amefa Timofeyevna, Mother of Buslai
Valentina Ivasheva Olga, a Novgorod Girl
Alexandra Danilova Vassilissa
Sergei Blinnikov Tverdilo, Traitorous Mayor of Pskov
Ivan Lagutin Anani, a Monk
Lev Fenin The Bishop
N.A. Rogozbbin The Black-Robed Monk

Technical Credits
Sergei Eisenstein Director,Screenwriter
Pyotr Pavlenko Screenwriter
Sergey Prokofiev Score Composer
Eduard K. Tissé Cinematographer

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