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Alexander Nevsky

4 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Director Sergei Eisenstein's epic ALEXANDER NEVSKY features some of the most beautiful imagery ever put on film, a majestic music score by Prokifiev and a dazzling, climactic battle on a frozen lake. In 1242, Russia in being invaded by two sides: from the orient by the Mongols and from Europe by the Germans Teutonic Knights of the Holy Roman Empire. The last free city in Russia, Novgorod, calls the Prince Aleksandr Nevsky, who had defeated the Swedish in a previous battle, to defend the city.

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Sergei Eisenstein's landmark tale of Russia thwarting the German invasion of the 13th century was wildly popular and quite intentional, given the prevailing Nazi geopolitical advancement and destruction at the time. It can still be viewed as a masterful use of imagery and music, with the Battle on the Ice sequence as the obvious highlight. Unfortunately, the rest of the film pales in comparison. A great score by Prokofiev was effectively integrated by the Russian filmmaker, but stands on its own merit as well. --Bill Desowitz

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Nikolai Cherkassov, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Andrei Abrikosov, Dmitri Orlov
  • Directors: Sergei M. Eisenstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Classical, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Russian (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 1998
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630513104X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,168 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Alexander Nevsky" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is certainly the most remarkable collection of films to come out in one DVD package. And I would really like to thank Criterion for overpricing their DVDs so much that I had very little overlap with my existing library, having passed on most of their editions of these films. Here are a few observations that might be of use to potential buyers:

1) the widescreen movies are anamorphic

2) Haxen is 104 min, substantially longer than the 77 min version that has shown on premium cable.

3) I compared the Janus versions of two films, Wages of Fear and Seven Samurai, with the Criterion versions I had. I expected them to be identical (figuring that Criterion probably did the work for Janus) but they were considerably different. In both cases, the Janus copies were amazingly superior: much better (and louder)sound, crisper images with fewer defects, much better definition in shadowy areas, and a much more stable image. I never realized how poor the Criterion prints were until I saw the comparison. It's amazing the psychological effect of all that. In both cases, I was strongly tempted to continue watching the whole film with Janus, and found the Criterion copy 'tiring'. The translations also differed, with Janus having fewer errors (e.g. Samurai's "the rice we're eating now" v.s. "the rice we're eating, how"). I cannot wait to watch the rest of these films.

3. I could detect no difference between Anchor Bay's and Janus's Kind Hearts and Coronets.

4. The print of Lady Vanishes is the clearest I've seen. The el cheapo Brentwood print, in their Hitchcock collection, is unwatchable.

5. The one really bad aspect of the collection is that the DVDs are wedged tightly into paper slots.
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Format: DVD
Re: The previous reviewer's points: The product info is somewhat vague on this, but this set is put out by Criterion. As the comment on that review says, any differences vs. earlier Criterion releases are attributable to upgrades made in later editions. Seven Samurai and M have been upgraded since their original Criterion release, and there may be other cases among the films collected here. On another point, it's true that individual Criterion releases are expensive, but they usually include many extras of interest to cinephiles. If price is your main consideration, this package is a great way to get Criterion quality at a lower price per disc (although without the extras). I will be ordering one at some point, even though I already have about a dozen of the films, just because it looks to be a gorgeous package. FYI, there is a review in the NY Times today (11/7/2006) that provides some historical background on Janus and Criterion.
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I would like to notify everyone who got scared about this set when they heard the dvds came in outrageoulsy tight slots that either this has been changed, it never was true, or i have an exeptionally awsome set because mine is not that way at all. In my set every page of the DVD book has 4 dvds that are in slots that are not too tight or loose. You do not have to induvidually unwrap the dvds or anything, just open up the book, and pull a dvd out. I have been pulling these discs out and putting back in and have seen absolutely no damage done. Not one of the movies has skipped yet. I have seen no "flecks of paper" and none of my DVDs "felt like they were glued to the page" like -a movie fan's-. I strongly suggest everyone with a film appretiation to buy this set, even if you already have a few from the set. It is definatally worth it. And about the special features, I would like to inform anyone turned off by the fact that there are none that there is a 200 page book that comes with the set. That book has rare posters, photographs, the history of revolutionary JANUS and a page description of every film - the context of time and place the film came out, a little about the director and actors, the impact the film had, the meaning behind the film, etc. If that is not enough for you, then...sorry. I personally dont mind, considering the internet exists for any other information about the film I want to know.
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Format: DVD
There is good propaganda, and bad. Alexander Nevsky obviously falls into the former category. So much about this film seems prophetic. Done in 1938, the former Soviet Union stood on the brink of war, as did the rest of the world at that time. This is a film that celebrates the heroic Slavic spirit of yore. There were also many useful similarities for comparison. Like 13th Century Rus, Russia in 1938 faced enemies both to the East and West. A recent victory over the Japanese in 1938 helped to erase memories of the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, and it seems no coincidence that Eisenstein was allowed to make this film at that time. Make no mistake about it, this is a film born out of

Soviet-Stalinist propaganda of the period. No viewer can truly understand this film without understanding that reality.

In its scope and production value one is reminded of a simlier film done in Facist Italy around this time celebrating the exploits of Ancient Rome - "Scipio Africanus." Both films draw on inspirational leaders of the past to serve up useful propaganda for the present.

In this film Rus is besiged on all sides by enemies. The Mongols had conquiered much of the land by this time. To the West there are the Crusading Teutonic Knights seeking to exercise a Lebenstraum of their own in the 13th Century. Nevsky, a local prince seems the natural leader that the great city of Novgorod needs. Again, we see nationalistic ideas expressed here that were surely beyond the outlook of the time. Few could have had any notion of a greater Rus in such Feudal times. For Eisenstein's propaganda we must have a strong and inspirational Alexander Nevsky. The actor who plays him is certainly impressive looking, but hardly any great thespian!
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