Russian director Sergei Eisenstein's powerful retelling of the 1917 Russian Revolution, "October" is an acknowledged masterpiece in the use of editing, lighting, camera placement and mise-en-scene. An absolute must for any... more » film connoisseurs collection.« less
"A minimally adequate version of this film on DVD would be (1) in widescreen (2) with the original Russian title cards plus subtitles. This version of the film is "modified to fit your screen." The English titles -- with frequent typos -- are white on black with about 400% more contrast than the rest of the film. The result is unwatchable; as much as I love Eisenstein and this film's St. Petersburg settings, I've never watched more than ten minutes of this DVD. Hopefully it won't be too long before somebody (Criterion, hint, hint?) gives this another try. Until then, I suggest you wait."
Refined but difficult
PolarisDiB | Southwest, USA | 10/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rating and reviewing movies like these are often difficult for the average critic. On one hand, they're done absolutely brilliantly done in ways that take one's breath away; on the other hand, how much credit can you give to a movie that is pure propaganda, especially propaganda for something the reviewer doesn't agree with?
This "realistic re-enactment" of the events of October 25th, 1917, is actually anything but realism. Instead, it is a harrowing and amazing Romantic experience. This is not to say it's bad--it's brilliant! The direction and editing on this film are much more refined than Eisenstein's previous and much-more-heralded film, Brenonsets Potyemkin (Battleship Potemkin), and it has a whole lot more symbolism and focus on literary devices. His fast-paced cutting is not as disjunctive as previously; instead, it works to shock the viewer with the juxtapositions. I don't think I shall ever get the quick back-and-forth cutting between that one soldier's face and the firing machine gun ever out of my mind. It's just that powerful.
This movie is so good, in fact, that it makes me proud to be a Bolshevik... and I'm not, not in any way or form! How's that for being a powerful, well-done movie? The Birth of a Nation didn't effectively make me proud to be a Klansman, for a comparison...
Because of its intense political alignment, I can't see everyone appreciating this film. There will always be those out there who say, "Ah, it's only Communist propaganda" (which is right) "so it's not even worth watching..." (which is wrong). For those who are looking for a magnificent cinematic experience, however, this movie is a fine choice indeed.
PolarisDiB | 06/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is not exactly designed for casual enjoyment. It's no surprize that it was not very popular when it was first released. Eisenstein takes a fairly intricate, if not convoluted, episode in history and recreates it through a maddening pace of of montage intercut, while establishing no particular characters to build any story around. So the film must be appreciated almost solely for the technique of its brilliant director (along with an excellent Shostakovich soundtrack). Not a great date flick, this is an ideal DVD for students of film history to challenge themselves."
Classic Propoganda Film
directions | Space Time Foam | 10/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"October is a re-telling of the events of the Russian revolution. However, it was commissioned as a propoganda piece so that the only "character" that stands out is Lenin, who, of course is idolized. There are the populace and soldiers who are on the side of the Bolsheviks but they are basically nameless and faceless as is the other side (mensheviks). However, its not the plot that makes the movie fascinating but the use of montage and imagery, sometimes dizzying. Not quite as good as Battleship Potemkin but still fascinating. Certainly, not as morally disturbing as Triumph of the Will (which it influenced) but still, a film made to support a government sanctioned point of view. However, the crowd shots and the quick cuts from one scene to the next in a rapid but still coherent fashion, resonates through current film and even music videos."
Revolutionary in form and content
PolarisDiB | 07/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"October shows both the revolutionary nature of Eisenstein's cinematic style, and the revolutionary nature of the story told. His further use and development of montage (after "Strike" and "Potemkin") allow Eisenstein to discuss one of the most profound events of modern history, the Russian Revolution. Though the rise of Stalin obscured Eisenstein's ability to accurately depict the revolution, the original version stands out as one of the more detailed and accurate accounts (One note: the actual insurrection, the storming of the Winter Palace, resulted in less bloodshed and death than did the filming). Eisenstein portrays the tsar and his bureaucracy as corrupt, inept and cynical; and portrays the provisional government as a bunch of opportunistic liars, bound to the forces of domestic and foreign capital. The force which was able to defeat the old rulers thus became the mass of workers and peasants, led by the Bolsheviks (note: daringly enough, Stalin is accurately left out of the leadership of the Revolution, with Lenin, Trotsky, and the Party as the leadership of the Revolution). A must see for those interested in social change and the labor movement, cinematic and artistic brilliance, or a combination of the two."