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Criterion to release Eisenstein classics

Criterion have announced a three-disc box set of the great Russian pioneer Sergei Eisenstein's last three films: Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible Parts 1 & 2.

Although the films have all been available on other labels, Criterion's track record suggests these versions will be on an altogether higher level - and there are plenty of extras as well, with each film getting a "multimedia essay" by Eisenstein scholars Yuri Tsivian, Joan Neuberger and Russell Merritt (the latter on the subject of Eisenstein's collaboration with the composer Sergei Prokofiev), Eisenstein's own sketches and storyboards for each film, a stills-based reconstruction of his lost film Bezhin Meadow, and Alexander Nevsky also gets a commentary from Eisenstein biographer David Bordwell.

The films themselves have been extensively restored and remastered - though sadly it looks as though Alexander Nevsky will only be presented in the original mono version, which suffers from poor music performance and recording. A digital stereo version of an altogether superior performance of Prokofiev's stunning score accompanied RCA's VHS release of the film in the mid-1990s, but this has yet to be featured on any Alexander Nevsky disc, despite there being at least three DVD releases of the film to date.

For more details, visit the Criterion website.

Michael Brooke

Last updated: 19/04/2018 19:52:42

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