Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
Flicker Alley Presents Soviet Cinema
on October 29, 2011
For anyone looking beyond the big three of Soviet Cinema (Dovzhenko, Pudovkin, Eisenstein), this set is a gold mine of cinematic creativity. You get the opportunity to view documentaries (THE FALL OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY, TURKSIB, SALT FOR SVANETIA), comedies (THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF MR WEST IN THE LAND OF THE BOLSHEVIKS, THE HOUSE ON TRUBNAYA), and an unexpected drama (BY THE LAW) based on a short story by Jack London. One of the big three does make an appearance here. Sergei Eisenstein's last silent film OLD AND NEW (originally THE GENERAL LINE) extols the virtues of collective farming through the classic manipulation of his montage editing. Editing also plays an important part in Dziga Vertov's STRIDE SOVIET! which did not please the powers that be at the time with its creative inventiveness just like his highly charged documentary LIVING RUSSIA OR THE MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA.
The quality of the images in this set is a marked improvement over the old VHS versions although one reviewer complained about the framing of BY THE LAW. While it does look cropped compared to the other movies (possibly soundtrack issues), I had no problem with it as I haven't seen the Region 2 version. It does illustrate the issue of different versions of silent movies being made available for home video. The Eisenstein and Vertov offerings are what you expect when you think of 1920s Soviet cinema but the comedies are completely unexpected. What they lack in sublety is made up for by their visual creativity. All of these films come with brand new scores and there's even a little booklet to help explain Soviet montage. First class all the way. Thanks again to David Shepard and Flicker Alley for making these available. An invaluable set for anyone interestd in editing techniques and how thwy can influence a film.