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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 8. 1966.




Congratulations must go to the invaluable Harry Griffith of the Roxy-Princess combo for his efforts to raise the standard of Sunday screenings His programmes of Hud, Killer's Kiss, The Killing and The Paths Of Glory would do credit to any film society. In July he hopes to screen Inherit The Wind and Touch Of Evil. The Kramer film is notable for a magnificent acting duel between two Hollywood veterans. Spencer Tracy and Fredric March, while Orson Welles's Touch Of Evil was probably the most exciting visual experience of 1958. It is to be hoped that the new regulations governing Sunday screenings will enable Mr. Griffith to give us even more films of this calibre.

In view of the demise of the film society, it was courageous of the Labour Club to undertake the screening of Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan The Terrible (part 2). This film was made in 1946 but was not released by the Russian authorities until 1958. Seen today it stands almost as an anachronism, an echo of a glorious past which highlights the not so glorious state of the Soviet industry at present. So far as I know, part 1 of the trilogy has never been screened in New Zealand. Eisenstein began work in part 3 but it was uncompleted at his death in 1948. There are reputed to be a few reels of this film somewhere but nothing has been heard of them. Presumably they are rotting in some dingy vault.

In Ivan The Terrible Eisenstein abandoned the frantic cutting of his earlier films and created instead an elaborate pictoriality of symphonic proportions. There is little rapid editing and camera movement, the emphasis bring on camera placement, lighting, decor and the staging of the action. In a sense this is the most "theatrical" of his films. The almost operatic acting, sets and costumes, and the magnificence of Eisenstein's conception make this a film in the grand style, —a true epic on a non-spectacular scale. It is a rich historical tapestry.

Rumour hath it that the Labour Club is to show Alexander Nevski (1938). This film provides a convenient bridge between Eisenstein's early films and his Ivan trilogy, since it combines elements from the two disparate periods. Once again Nicolai Cherkassov is the central character and the music is by Prokofiev. This is probably Eisenstein's most exciting film and one wonders what sort of films he would be making if he were alive today. (He was fifty when he died'. The mind boggles.