For eight decades, Sergei Eisenstein s 1925 masterpiece has remained the most influential silent film of all time. Yet each successive generation has seen BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN subjected to censorship and recutting, its unforgettable power diluted in unauthorized public domain editions from dubious sources. Until now. Kino is proud to join the Deutsche Kinematek in association with Russia s Goskinofilm, the British Film Institute, Bundesfilm Archive Berlin, and the Munich Film Museum in presenting this all new HD Transfered restoration of BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN. Dozens of missing shots have been replaced, and all 146 title cards restored to Eisenstein s specifications. Edmund Meisel s definitive 1926 score, magnificently rendered by the 55-piece Deutches Filmorchestra in 5.1 Stereo Surround, returns Eisenstein s masterwork to a form as close to its creator s bold vision as has been seen since the film s triumphant 1925 Moscow premiere. Odessa 1905. Enraged with the deplorable conditions on board the armored cruiser Potemkin, the ship s loyal crew contemplates the unthinkable mutiny. Seizing control of the Potemkin and raising the red flag of revolution, the sailors revolt becomes the rallying point for a Russian populace ground under the boot heels of the Czar s Cossacks. When ruthless White Russian cavalry arrives to crush the rebellion on the sandstone Odessa Steps, the most famous and most quoted film sequence in cinema history is born.
An extraordinary accomplishment, Kino Internationals restoration of Sergei Eisensteins 1925 masterpiece Battleship Potemkin
has made the film more glorious than ever. Working with the Deutsche Kinematek, British Film Institute, Bundesfilm Archive Berlin, and the Munich Film Museum, Kinos effort was to return Battleship Potemkin
as closely as possible to Eisensteins original cut, as originally seen by Moscow audiences during its world premiere run. What happened after that, according to the German restoration team extensively interviewed in an engrossing documentary ("Tracing Battleship Potemkin
") on one of the two discs in this set, was that the films very negative was re-cut by German censors and others. (Its likely, the team says, that Eisenstein himself secretly supervised the German cut to accommodate demands while also keeping personal control over the films dramatic flow. What this means is that Eisenstein probably ended up with two authentic versions of Battleship Potemkin
"Tracing Battleship Potemkin" goes on to detail the extensive number of shots long lost from constant authorized and unauthorized re-cuts in the last 80 years, and how many of those shots have been returned. Indeed, the film is all the more powerful and lyrical with a number of key scenes (especially the famed "Odessa steps" sequence) filled out and shaded with emotional nuance. But theres more: a glimpse at numerous stills from shots that Eisenstein himself left out of the first cut (these have not been reintroduced in the film itself), two versions of the film with English and original Russian intertitles (with English subtitles), and the original, monumental score by Edmund Meisel (composed for the German version) make this Battleship Potemkin a brilliant experience. --Tom Keogh