Saturday, May 28, 2011

ALEXANDER NEVSKY (Sergei Eisenstein, 1938)

****
USSR

This celebrated biopic of a legendary 13th-century warrior who leads the Tatars to defeat a much larger invading Teutonic army isn't necessarily Communist propaganda as much as it is one big middle finger to Hitler and his cronies. (And it certainly isn't subtle - a whole sequence is devoted to the leader of the Teutonic knights coldly dumping Russian infants into a fire.)

The establishing scenes drag on, but once we get to the extended climactic battle at frozen Lake Peipus, things get pretty exciting. The fighting itself isn't necessarily convincing, but it's impeccably photographed and edited.

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