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Alexander Nevsky

4.0 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Nikolaj Cherkasov, Fedor Odinokov, Nikolaj Okhlopkov
  • Directors: Sergej Ejzenshtejn, Dmitrij Vasilev
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000RYF7N4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 538,521 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

DVD NTSC!!! DVD Region: ALL; Theatrical release: 1938; Sound format(s): Dolby Digital Mono; Language(s): Russian; Subtitles: English; Format: Black & White; Genre(s): History, Action. Eisenstein drew on history, Russian folk narratives, and the techniques of Walt Disney to create this broadly painted epic of Russian resilience. This story of Teutonic knights vanquished by Prince Alexander Nevsky's tactical brilliance resonated deeply with a Soviet Union concerned with the rise of Nazi Germany. Widely imitated-most notably by Laurence Olivier's Battle of Agincourt re-creation for Henry V -the Battle on the Ice scene remains one of the most famous audio-visual experiments in film history, perfectly blending action with the rousing score of Sergei Prokofiev.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Eisenstein's first sound film retells the battle of the ice of 1242, when the Russians under Alexander Nevsky defeated the Livonian knights, eager to bring Russia under Roman Catholicism. Made in 1938, Nevsky can be seen as a piece of propaganda: the Germanic knights, with their sinister (and somewhat goofy) helmets are obvious stand-ins for the Nazis. The butchery by the knights when they enter a Russian town seems a prophetic warning of the massacres of World War II. The film ends with a warning: those who came to Russia with the sword will die by the sword. Made in delicate black and white (somewhat reminiscent of a daguerreotype), it also marked Eisenstein's return to official favor. By the late 1920s, Stalin wanted Soviet filmmakers to stop experimentation and made movies that would be more populist and palatable to the Russian public. That stopped Eisenstein's career in Russia for a decade, and in Nevsky he came back with his more accessible film. Nevsky's strong point is in its second half, which features the battle itself, and it is justly seen as a milestone in movie history: never before (and probably never after) a battle would be so vivid in the screen. Another strong point is Prokofiev's beautiful, haunting soundtrack (using a composer to score a movie was completely unusual at the time). One of its weaker points: the comic relief (in the form of two simpleton Russian warriors trying to woo a beautiful Russian peasant) is really jarring.
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Format: VHS Tape
I think "Alexander Nevsky" is the best of Eisenstein's works. It's also probably one of the most extraordinary historical films ever times except "Intolerance", "The Seven Samurai", Olivier's "Henry V" (inspired by Eisenstein's vision) and "Ivan the Terrible" of course. Plot is very simple: Teutonic Knigts attack Russia but the russian people crush their in great battle on frozen Lake Pejpus. Scene of battle is truly great and fantastic. In my opinion it's more exciting than fights in "Breaveheart" and "Joan of Arc" (by Luc Besson). Teutonic Knight wear white costumes and they look terryfying; russian people are dressed in black. "Alexander Nevsky" has beautyfull photography by Eduard Tisse - he was operator of all Eisenstein's films. Not only knight's wears are white but ice of the lake, the snow, the water and the heaven are white also - it's really symphony of the white. After see this film, some critic called Eisenstein "the best russian painter of all times". Music has wrote by Sergei Prokofiev, cantata "Alexander Nevsky" is one of the most famous works by this composer. I recommend "Alexander Nevsky". Extraordinary visions, great scenes, beautyfull photography and music. This film is a masterpiece!
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Format: DVD
When I bought this shortly after its release it went into the DVD player and then straight back to the shop! This was the worst transfer of the film I had ever seen - the video I owned was so much better. Luckily Criterion have released this in the States as part of an Eisenstein box set - get this, the image quality is stunning. Eureka now do a great job with all their releases but in the early days their releases were often very poor with picture quality control low on the priority list. I'm amazed that no other reviewers have commented on this aspect of the DVD.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had forgotten how great a film this is. You must, of course, put aside all our tedious modern gimmickry and realism ... which surprisingly often obscure the true sense and impact of films ... and accept Eisenstein's work on its own terms. You then have something which literally brings tears to the eyes: the force of nobility and sacrifice which can, on occasion, stand over and above any flaws of nationalism, politics or calculated interest. You also have a stunning musical score from Prokoviev: tears to the eyes, indeed. The re-mastering is a success, though naturally the age of the filmstock shows through. Similarly, the sound track is a bit muddy, but Prokoviev's score has the force and clarity to overcome that; the need to overcome the technical weakness almost, in itself, seems to underscore the concept of heroic nobility facing against the odds running through the whole film. The camera work is, of course, excellent if you allow yourself to accept the notion of declaratory symbolic representation of ideals. Do not forget the idealistic message of true socialism! 1938 ... and the film shows almost uncanny foreknowledge of the Nazi assault on Russia to come, with all its horrors and ultimate victory. A great and unforgettable film.
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Format: DVD
Eisentstein's equivalent to 'our' Laurence Olivier's 'Henry V' and what it did for moral and propaganda at the start of the last war had a shaky start. To give its people hope against the Nazi invasion in WWII, it was at first pulled from release as it was seen as not needed, because Hitler signed a treaty. When this treaty was violated soon after, it went out to arm the population.

And very monumental and majestic it all is, though to my eyes (and I've seen a good deal of Russian cinema since I bought and first watched this) it just looks a tad starchy and theatrically over-acted. It even gets turgid at times, but never boring and it's the landscape and all those 13th century churches shot against blue skies with an orange filter (in black & white) that gives a certain air of heightened unreality about it all.

Re-enacting the Teutonic invasion of the 13th century and culminating with the now famous battle scene on the ice and it then breaking, a good deal of it is about watching lines of men on horseback parading around. But, being Eisenstein and Russian, these scenes are superbly composed and muster a real sense of comradeship and bravado, which along with very patriotic 'hymns' about dying on the battlefield, certainly fulfils the film's task of igniting the spirit of a huge population, once again, facing a new enemy but from a similar place before.

Many of the character's faces are worthy of paintings themselves - interesting caricatures, whether peasant wives or noblemen, as the camera lingers on them. And, of course, with such notables as Battleship Pontempkin under his belt some 20 years previous, Eisenstein certainly knows how to mount battlescenes of magnitude and with great skill.
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