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00680 - ALEXANDER NEVSKY

Movie-Hype00680 - ALEXANDER NEVSKY

Considered one of the greatest war/propaganda films ever made, I’ve been itching to see this for years. Strangely, it’s hard to find this 1938 Russian black and white classic. (Go figure.) I have to admit the film dates about as poorly as possible. (I guess that not very many prints survived the war in Russia.) The translation is so horrible that it’s at least a 97 on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. This made the process bearable: I was in total Mystery Science Theater mode, and I don’t think I’ve ever been funnier in my life. I repeatedly have to stop the movie to whack my sister on the back as she choked with laughter.

The reason to watch NEVSKY is a famous battle that takes place on ice. This was an actual battle between the Russian peasants and the Teutonic Knights. Historians don’t agree on every detail, but apparently the battle actually did happen. Phenom director Sergei Eisenstein shows as much skill as you’ll ever see in the massive undertaking. (That it was filmed in 1938 makes the endeavor almost breathtaking.) Even more important historically was how NEVSKY got used. Originally the film was banned, as Russia had a non-aggression pact with Hitler. Once the Germans broke this Stalin required ALEXANDER NEVSKY to be shown in every movie theatre in Russia, to rouse the populace. I have to say, it’s effective. Never have I wanted more to pick up a scythe and go kill some evil Germans. (At one point, the hypocrite German priests throw babies into a fire!) Just as important: how funny I was. I’m thinking of hiring myself out to watch ALEXANDER NEVSKY with people. What a way to spend two hours.

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