Planned by the Soviet Central Committee to coincide with the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the unsuccessful 1905 Russian Revolution, this film was developed by the 27 year-old Sergei Eisenstein from less than one page of script from a planned eight-part epic that was intended to chronicle a large number of revolutionary actions. Starting with the Potemkin's crew's refusal to eat maggot-infested meat, the mutiny develops and their leader Vakulinchuk is shot by a senior officer. The officers are overthrown and when the Potemkin docks at Odessa, crowds appear from all directions to take up the cause of the dead sailor and open rebellion ensues. What became the most celebrated sequence in world cinema history follows as the Czarist soldiers fire on the crowds thronging down the Odessa steps; the broad newsreel-like sequences being inter-cut with close-ups of harrowing details. Returning to sea, the Potemkin's crew prepares the guns for action as the ship, flying the flag of freedom, streams to confront the squadron. When they finally meet their worst fears are allayed as, with relief coupled with joy, they are universally acclaimed. This film, which was destined to become such an influential landmark in cinematographic history, opened in Moscow in January 1926. It ran for only four weeks.
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