Stylistically, The Battleship Potemkin serves as a revolutionary film, not only in its subject matter, but also in its unique use of montage. As a pioneer who championed a new purpose for cinema, Eisenstein proposed a "kin... more »o fist" approach to filmmaking, one in which the film attacks the viewer?s senses with symbolic metaphors, rhythmic editing, and highly-charged melodrama. Includes a rare documentary on Eisentein. DUAL LAYER DISC
A LEGENDARY FILM BY A LEGENDARY FILM MAKER gets top treatmen
Paulo Leite | Lisbon, Portugal | 09/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Battleship Potemkin uprising happened in June, 1905, when the ship's crew rebelled against their oppressive officers. It is usually regarded as one of the first leading events to the 1917 Russian Revolution.
This legendary film was produced in 1925 by Mosfilm, at the height of the silent cinema period and is, perhaps, the most famous example of the Soviet school of editing whose style and theories are deeply influential even today!
The film is divided in five episodes: "Men and Maggots" (showing the sailors revolting when forced to eat rotten meat), "Drama at the Harbor" (which shows the revolt being smashed and its leader killed), "A Dead Man Calls for Justice" (showing the people of Odessa crying the loss of the revolt's leader), "The Odessa Staircase" (showing the Army marching over the people - and killing them) and the final episode: "Rendez-Vous with the Squadron" which closes the film.
Now, the problem with BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN is that, being regarded as a masterpiece (like METROPOLIS, BIRTH OF A NATION, PANDORA'S BOX, INTOLERANCE and CABIRIA), it is also a work with a high degree of political content (like TRIUMPH OF THE WILL) and, like many of those films, it has been censored, cut, re-cut several times... until virtually none of the several circulating versions of it (most in public domain and lousy shape) meets the version made by Eisenstein.
Kino joined forces with the Deutsche Kinematek, the Russia's Goskinofilm, the British Film Institute, Bundesfilm Archive Berlin, and the Munich Film Museum in order to present this all new restoration. Shots have been replaced, and all 146 title cards restored to Eisenstein's specifications.
Edmund Meisel's definitive 1926 score, magnificently rendered by the 55-piece Deutches Filmorchestra in 5.1 Stereo Surround, returns Eisenstein's masterwork to a form as close to its creator's bold vision as has been seen since the film's 1925 Moscow premiere. In fact, a funny story goes that BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN opened in Moscow alongside ROBIN HOOD (the 1922 version with Douglas Fairbanks) and the Soviet government expected it would earn more money than the American film... representing the power and revitalization of Soviet cinema. It lost. (laughs) :p
Featuring on this double disc edition are: 1) "Tracing Battleship Potemkin," a 42-minute documentary on the making and restoration of the film. 2) The restored film with newly-translated English intertitles. 3) The restored film with original Russian intertitles (and optional English subtitles). 4) The original 1926 Edmund Meisel score, performed by the Deutsches Filmorchestra, presented in 5.1 Stereo Surround. 5) Photo gallery.
This film is a landmark in Film History and deserves to be seen by anyone who's serious about film making."
Good film, terrible DVD
Jordan M. Poss | Georgia, United States | 01/20/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"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 crown jewels of cinematic history. With all this positive karma, one would think that such a film would get a decent DVD release.
Unfortunately, Battleship Potemkin does not. Granted, the film itself is wonderful, and one of my all time favorites, but this DVD transfer does not do it justice. The famous musical score, banned in many countries at the time of its release, is absent, replaced with a tinny, bombastic score composed thirty years after the fact. The Odessa Steps sequence has also been severly mangled, omitting many of the shots which stuck in my mind the first time I viewed this film so long ago.
Do yourself a favor and buy a good VHS copy of this film until a good DVD comes along, hopefully from a big-name group like Kino Video or Criterion."
Brilliant, Seldom Equaled
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 06/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on actual events of 1905, silent film THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN concerns an Imperial Russian ship on which abominable conditions lead to a mutiny. Shocked by conditions on the ship, citizens of the port city Odessa rally to the mutineers' support--and in consequence find themselves at the mercy of Imperial forces, who attack the civilian supporters with savage force.POTEMKIN is a film in which individual characters are much less important than the groups and crowds of which they are members, and it achieves its incredible power by showing the clash of the groups and crowds in a series of extraordinarily visualized and edited sequences. Amazingly, each of these sequences manage to top the previous one, and the film actually builds in power as it moves from the mutiny to the citizen's rally to the massacre on the Odessa steps--the latter of which is among the most famous sequences in all of film history. Filming largely where the real events actually occurred, director Eisenstein's vision is extraordinary as he builds--not only from sequence to sequence but from moment to moment within each sequence--some of the most memorable images ever committed to film.To describe POTEMKIN as a great film is something of an understatement. It is an absolute essential, an absolute necessity to any one seriously interested in cinema as an art form, purely visual cinema at its most brilliant, often imitated, seldom equaled, never bested."
Classic Film in a Mediocre Transfer
N. Chevalier | Regina, Sask. Canada | 10/12/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"*Potemkin* is one of those landmark films that may be more admired than loved. Nevertheless , it's worth seeing for the Odessa Steps sequence, for the brilliance of Eisenstein's montages and his orchestration of events. Personally, I prefer his sound films (*Nevsky* and *Ivan the Terrible*), but *Potemkin* is a must-see by anyone who wants to understand cinema.
That being said, this particular DVD is a transfer from a video version, and it shows. The version here is actually the 1976 Soviet "restoration," which seems cobbled together from several different versions. The title cards switch between English-only and Russian with English subtitles; sometimes the shots are clear, sometimes they're grainy and scratched. The projection speed, as often happens in video transfers, is wrong, and often inconsistent. Worst of all, the classic shot of the ship hoisting a red flag at the end lacks the colour tinting--thus eliminating one of the key images of the film's climax. As a version, overall, it's not bad, but I have heard that there is a 2004 restoration that presumably treats this film the way other classic silents have been treated (see, for example, the excellent Kino Video versions of DW Griffith films, or the restored *Metropolis* for an idea of what these films really can look like); I would save my money and wait for one of those versions to appear."
Truly outstanding DVD release
Jordan M. Poss | Georgia, United States | 11/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Several years ago I bought Battleship Potemkin on DVD and was severely disappointed. In my review of the old edition, I hoped that Kino Video or Criterion would restore the film and release a DVD that would do justice to Eisenstein's brilliant propaganda piece. Kino has stepped up to the challenge and done a remarkable job.
Picture: The picture quality is a vast improvement. Previous releases were blurry, low-resolution, and generally covered with dirt and scratches. The picture on Kino's release is crystal-clear, looking better than ever.
Sound: I suppose I should say "music," but regardless, this is another vast improvement. The previous DVD release I mentioned replaced the original Edmund Meisel score with a tinny monstrosity by Shostakovich. Meisel's music has been rerecorded in beautiful stereo and re-synched to the film.
Special features: A making-of documentary covering the film and its restoration, as well as a photo gallery are both good and definitely interesting, but the major selling point on this DVD is the restored image and music.
Overall, I can say little more than that this is an outstanding treatment of a truly great film. If you've been disappointed in previous DVD releases of Potemkin or have been waiting for a good one, this is it.