Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Sergei Eisenstein was fearful for his life and tried to prevent his masterpiece "Alexander Nevsky" from being reviewed by Joseph Stalin in 1938. As it turns out Stalin heartily approved and we can witness this great film to this day.

The film was made with sympathetic tones to the Stalinist regime of the day. The villains are traitorous merchants, the heros are the peasants.

The title character is one of the great Russian patriarchs dating to the 13th Century. Nevsky rallies Novgorod, the only free Russian city. He negotiates with the Mongols, who are portrayed as effete.

Nevsky's great challenge is to defeat the onslaught of the Teutonic Knights, a crusading order commissioned to spread the faith. The fateful battle, accurate to history takes place on the frozen Lake Peipus. The film as in history notes the Russian triumph. It also takes shots at Christianity as the born cross of the Teutonic Knights literally falls.

This film was made at a time when Russia was clearly concerned about Nazi Germany. The film which depicts Russians defeating the hordes of Medieval German militarism was an effective piece of propaganda, anticipating future conflict. A true epic.

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