Ivan the Terrible, Part II: The Boyars' Plot

Ivan the Terrible, Part II: The Boyars' Plot ★★★★

*The film journal, Sight & Sound takes an international critics poll of the greatest films of all time every ten years. The latest installment is set to come out next year, so I thought I'd catch up with all the films that made their previous seven top ten lists. This time, it's Ivan the Terrible, Parts I and 2, a pair of historical epics made by Sergei Eisenstein. This movie the top ten list in 1962, coming in at number 6, tied with Bicycle Thieves and Eisenstein's other great film, Battleship Potemkin.

The second part was filmed consecutively to the first part, in the mid-forties, but it wasn't released until 1958, due to Stalin's disapproval, which also halted the production of a planned third part. Part two deals mostly with Ivan's power struggles against the boyars, the wealthy members of the Russian nobility. It's terrific, sharing many of the the same virtues as part 1. I may prefer part 1 slightly because of the great Kazan siege scene, but then again this one has a deliciously creepy song about a beaver, and a starting transition to color towards the end.

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