A masterpiece of editing and symbolism or an overrated spectacle? The answer is yes. If you watch the chopped up and slowed down versions that have been circulating for decades you may feel that the praise for Potemkin is undeserved. The restored, re-scored version is a revelation. See it.
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.
The film ends with the victorious mutineers joined by other naval vessels in their quest for a revolution. Probably the best idea as things did not end very nicely for them in the real world.
If it were a desert it would be: Baklava. Challenging to get right but so worth it.
Read my full-length review here.
Availability: There is only one version to see and that is the restored edition released on DVD and Blu-ray by Kino Lorber. It has censored footage found nowhere else, the proper projection speed (other releases are slow as molasses) and the wonderful original score modernized and performed by an orchestra. If you saw this film before 2007 and did not like it, you need to go back and watch this restored edition. It is an eye-opener. (And run, do not walk, away from any bargain releases. Pew!)
Edmund Meisel’s score for POTEMKIN was what made the film when it was first seen. The combination of film and music was so powerful the Nazi’s learned from and outlawed it. He scored the pictures as an action film. seeing the film at the right speed WITH Meisel’s score is a revelation in the power of music and film.
While I agree that the Meisel score is excellent, it’s a bit much to say the score and only HIS score is responsible for the film’s success. The Meisel score is better than the Shostakovich but not without its flaws, mainly in the form of limited themes and repetition. Good score, masterpiece film.
My twin daughters are taking AP Euro History at their local high school. Their teacher is considering showing them a foreign film near the end of the school year, with an emphasis on a European history aspect…I keep suggesting this film!
It’s a great pick!
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