Ivan the Terrible, Part II
(Boyarskii zagovor), (The Boyars' Plot), (The Revolt of the Boyars)
Anne Nesbet is an associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures and film and media at UC Berkeley.
Nikolai Cherkasov, Serafina Birman, Pavel Kadochnikov, Mikhail Zharov,
Ivan the Terrible, Part II also screens on February 11 (with Peter Bagrov in person) as part of the series Sergei Eisenstein: Films That Shook the World.
The second part of Eisenstein’s unfinished trilogy is mainly concerned with Ivan’s return to the throne and his ruthless opposition to the schemes of the boyars to keep Russia divided among its princes and foreign interests. Stalin took a particular dislike to the portrayal of the Czar’s secret police, and the film was banned; finished in 1946, Part II was not released until 1958. It contains a lovely flashback to Ivan’s childhood; a meditation on the loneliness of the Czar; a marvelous set piece setting up the usurper Vladimir for assassination; and a Brechtian operatic interlude that is Eisenstein’s one and only experiment in the two-color process. This print includes a few minutes of test footage from the unfinished Part III.