Commissioned by the October Revolution Jubilee Commitee (Chairman, Nikolai Podvolsky) for the tenth anniversary of the revolution, Sergei Eisenstein's third major feature film 'October 1917' is a marvellous reconstruction of the events from February leading up to the revolution and the Bolshevik's overthrow of the czarists and Kerensky's provisional government in 1917. True to the communist philosophy, there were no main characters; the proletariat providing the 'heroic' star quality throughout. The ultimate victory belonging to the revolution.
Eisenstein's skill and experimentation in using fast moving and rhythmic montage to produce telling metaphors, and build and intensify sequences, was not fully understood by the early Russian audiences; typical examples being the rapidly alternating images employed to create a machine-gun firing and the cross-cutting between power-hungry Kerensky and the statue of Napoleon.
Outstanding for the period are the dynamic sequences illustrating the massacre in the vicinity of the St Petersburg bridges and the storming of the Winter Palace which feature a profusion of exciting cinematic techniques.
Eisenstein's research was extremely thorough and he did not allow contemporary events to influence his production. The film's release was delayed until 1928 by the Government Group's demands for the removal of most of the footage featuring Stalin's political adversary Trotsky. This required substantial re-editing and caused the film to be reduced to a little over three-quarters of its original length.
When this film was made, Leningrad and it's streets, the buildings, the Winter Palace, the corridors of the Smolny, were the same as in that fateful year. Thus October 1917 renders a stirring 'eye-witness' account of the early days of the revolution.
Many of the participants of the revolution; Red Guards, soldiers and sailors appear in the film. Among them is Nikoali Podvolsky, one of the leaders of the armed uprising.
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