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on September 14, 2007
The Battleship Potemkin uprising happened in June, 1905, when the ship's crew rebelled against their oppressive officers. It is usually regarded as one of the first leading events to the 1917 Russian Revolution.

This legendary film was produced in 1925 by Mosfilm, at the height of the silent cinema period and is, perhaps, the most famous example of the Soviet school of editing whose style and theories are deeply influential even today!

The film is divided in five episodes: "Men and Maggots" (showing the sailors revolting when forced to eat rotten meat), "Drama at the Harbor" (which shows the revolt being smashed and its leader killed), "A Dead Man Calls for Justice" (showing the people of Odessa crying the loss of the revolt's leader), "The Odessa Staircase" (showing the Army marching over the people - and killing them) and the final episode: "Rendez-Vous with the Squadron" which closes the film.

Now, the problem with BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN is that, being regarded as a masterpiece (like METROPOLIS, BIRTH OF A NATION, PANDORA'S BOX, INTOLERANCE and CABIRIA), it is also a work with a high degree of political content (like TRIUMPH OF THE WILL) and, like many of those films, it has been censored, cut, re-cut several times... until virtually none of the several circulating versions of it (most in public domain and lousy shape) meets the version made by Eisenstein.

Kino joined forces with the Deutsche Kinematek, the Russia's Goskinofilm, the British Film Institute, Bundesfilm Archive Berlin, and the Munich Film Museum in order to present this all new restoration. 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 1925 Moscow premiere. In fact, a funny story goes that BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN opened in Moscow alongside ROBIN HOOD (the 1922 version with Douglas Fairbanks) and the Soviet government expected it would earn more money than the American film... representing the power and revitalization of Soviet cinema. It lost. (laughs) :p

Featuring on this double disc edition are:
1) "Tracing Battleship Potemkin," a 42-minute documentary on the making and restoration of the film.
2) The restored film with newly-translated English intertitles.
3) The restored film with original Russian intertitles (and optional English subtitles).
4) The original 1926 Edmund Meisel score, performed by the Deutsches Filmorchestra, presented in 5.1 Stereo Surround.
5) Photo gallery.

This film is a landmark in Film History and deserves to be seen by anyone who's serious about film making.
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VINE VOICEon November 18, 2007
Several years ago I bought Battleship Potemkin on DVD and was severely disappointed. In my review of the old edition, I hoped that Kino Video or Criterion would restore the film and release a DVD that would do justice to Eisenstein's brilliant propaganda piece. Kino has stepped up to the challenge and done a remarkable job.

Picture: The picture quality is a vast improvement. Previous releases were blurry, low-resolution, and generally covered with dirt and scratches. The picture on Kino's release is crystal-clear, looking better than ever.

Sound: I suppose I should say "music," but regardless, this is another vast improvement. The previous DVD release I mentioned replaced the original Edmund Meisel score with a tinny monstrosity by Shostakovich. Meisel's music has been rerecorded in beautiful stereo and re-synched to the film.

Special features: A making-of documentary covering the film and its restoration, as well as a photo gallery are both good and definitely interesting, but the major selling point on this DVD is the restored image and music.

Overall, I can say little more than that this is an outstanding treatment of a truly great film. If you've been disappointed in previous DVD releases of Potemkin or have been waiting for a good one, this is it.

Highly recommended.
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Based on actual events of 1905, silent film THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN concerns an Imperial Russian ship on which abominable conditions lead to a mutiny. Shocked by conditions on the ship, citizens of the port city Odessa rally to the mutineers' support--and in consequence find themselves at the mercy of Imperial forces, who attack the civilian supporters with savage force.
POTEMKIN is a film in which individual characters are much less important than the groups and crowds of which they are members, and it achieves its incredible power by showing the clash of the groups and crowds in a series of extraordinarily visualized and edited sequences. Amazingly, each of these sequences manage to top the previous one, and the film actually builds in power as it moves from the mutiny to the citizen's rally to the massacre on the Odessa steps--the latter of which is among the most famous sequences in all of film history. Filming largely where the real events actually occurred, director Eisenstein's vision is extraordinary as he builds--not only from sequence to sequence but from moment to moment within each sequence--some of the most memorable images ever committed to film.
To describe POTEMKIN as a great film is something of an understatement. It is an absolute essential, an absolute necessity to any one seriously interested in cinema as an art form, purely visual cinema at its most brilliant, often imitated, seldom equaled, never bested.
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on March 21, 2005
Note that the Republic Home Video edition of "Battleship Potemkin" (originally released on laserdisc in 1991) is of a version that censors the Odessa Steps sequence, specifically a second shot of the little boy being trampled on the stairs and the iconographic image of the bespectacled woman having her face hacked by a Cossak's sword. Speaking of hacked, Republic also released a version of "Birth of a Nation" (from the Killiam collection) 30 minutes shorter than the running time it listes on the jacket. Be advised.
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on October 12, 2006
*Potemkin* is one of those landmark films that may be more admired than loved. Nevertheless , it's worth seeing for the Odessa Steps sequence, for the brilliance of Eisenstein's montages and his orchestration of events. Personally, I prefer his sound films (*Nevsky* and *Ivan the Terrible*), but *Potemkin* is a must-see by anyone who wants to understand cinema.

That being said, this particular DVD is a transfer from a video version, and it shows. The version here is actually the 1976 Soviet "restoration," which seems cobbled together from several different versions. The title cards switch between English-only and Russian with English subtitles; sometimes the shots are clear, sometimes they're grainy and scratched. The projection speed, as often happens in video transfers, is wrong, and often inconsistent. Worst of all, the classic shot of the ship hoisting a red flag at the end lacks the colour tinting--thus eliminating one of the key images of the film's climax. As a version, overall, it's not bad, but I have heard that there is a 2004 restoration that presumably treats this film the way other classic silents have been treated (see, for example, the excellent Kino Video versions of DW Griffith films, or the restored *Metropolis* for an idea of what these films really can look like); I would save my money and wait for one of those versions to appear.
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on October 23, 2007
It's hard to think of a more important silent film or any major work of world cinema that has taken as long to be issued in a definitive version than BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN. It took many years and the combined efforts of several different film archives to put POTEMKIN back together again but it has been worth the wait for now it is possible to finally see the most influential movie ever made the way it's creator Sergei Eisenstein intended.

Ever since the premiere at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1925, POTEMKIN has been subject to censorship in one form or another. Not only was the film cut but the original score by German composer Edmund Meisel was discarded after the film's initial run and this had a huge impact as we can now see and hear in this restoration. The images will always retain their power but they are doubly enhanced by Meisel's propulsive driving score which sounds like Shostakovich who was 19 at the time and must have been influenced by what he heard here. It's ironic that for the film's 50th anniversary (the version most readily available until now) the music of Shostakovich provided the background and the film was cut to fit the music. All of this is covered in the excellent documentary TRACING BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN that comes with this 2 DVD set.

As for the movie itself, it has never looked this good. Images are sharp and clear, the contrast of the black and white photography is excellent and the colorization of the raising of the red flag has been restored. Most important of all is the return of the edited material which changes the look and feel of certain scenes. The famous "Odessa Steps" sequence is longer, has different points of view, and is more violent than before. The recording of the original score is top notch and, as I said earlier, adds immeasureably to the total film experience. Overall this is a truly astonishing set and one no lover of film should be without.

My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that I wish they had included the 1976 50th anniversary edition as the second disc (instead of the new version with Russian title cards) so that we could see the differences between the two and could note the changes made to bring BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN back to Eisenstein's vision.
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VINE VOICEon January 19, 2004
Most of the reviews posted here unfortunately review the film, not the product for sale. Little else can be said about Battleship Potemkin, Eisenstein's masterpiece and one of the crown jewels of cinematic history. With all this positive karma, one would think that such a film would get a decent DVD release.

Unfortunately, Battleship Potemkin does not. Granted, the film itself is wonderful, and one of my all time favorites, but this DVD transfer does not do it justice. The famous musical score, banned in many countries at the time of its release, is absent, replaced with a tinny, bombastic score composed thirty years after the fact. The Odessa Steps sequence has also been severly mangled, omitting many of the shots which stuck in my mind the first time I viewed this film so long ago.

Do yourself a favor and buy a good VHS copy of this film until a good DVD comes along, hopefully from a big-name group like Kino Video or Criterion.
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on August 5, 2002
This is the most important film ever made. It set the foundation for both artistic and technological endeavors for the past 80 years of cinema. The editing and music is so overpowering that you forget that it's a silent black and white movie. The experience during "BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN" is one of a kind. Any one seriously considering to pursue any aspect of filmmaking must view this film at least once (see it as much as you can!). This shows how film "can" be an artform. This was a feat ahead of it's time and still holds an intensity today. One of my many inspirations as a director. Buy it and enjoy a film unlike anything you've ever seen (or heard) before. This DVD edition retains the closest resemblence to the director's vision. The cuts in the legendary Odesa Steps sequence is as close to the original as possible.
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on December 10, 1999
Last night at my Media A Level Class in Manchester, I had the opportunity to watch this film from start to finish. The Battleship Potemkin is a very emotive film. It is pro-Lenin and very much anti-Christian and Czar. The images that are used are very powerful and ones that I shall remember for the rest of my life: the Odessa Steps sequence was very emotive and had empathy for the characters who were slain. All the way through the film the music gave us an idea of the emotion of the time and we were able to feel just how passionate the Revolution was at that time. This film was the first of its kind to use a large number of extras. This was especially so in the scene where the people of Odessa were filmed snaking down to the quay to support the sailors of the Potemkin. With such a limited amount of equipment invented at that time, I was astounded at the way the Director, Sergei Eisenstein had succeeded in making a wonderful film. I would recommend people to buy this piece of timeless history. It may be nearly 100 years old but it still has the ability to hold the audience. I know that I will watch this film again.
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on February 22, 2001
If this film would never have been made there would not have been Citizen Kane, Casablanca, or The Godfather.
The answer is in the "language".
Sergei Eisenstein created modern film language as we know of it today. That language was the daring juxtaposition of images as a series of montages to create narrative flow. Furthermore, for first time in the history of film, it created a feeling of intimacy for us the viewer to the characters and story on the screen. This intimacy was heightened for dramatic effect by Eisenstein's creation of closeups and varying camera angles on the subject matter.
We owe modern filmmaking to Sergei Eisenstein, who's ideas have stood the test of time.
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