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BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN


Palmerin
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I just read in WIKIPEDIA that the Odessa steps scene is all a lie--a fabrication perpetrated by Eisenstein.

I hate and loathe this manipulation! What is propaganda but an euphemism for falsehood???

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I just read in WIKIPEDIA that the Odessa steps scene is all a lie--

 

I don't think that matters. Russian troops did fire on civilians many times, but the locations were obviously not as photogenic as the scenes on the steps, so I will defend the scenes on the steps. Some of the most famous scenes in all of film history.

 

On the other hand, the Earthquake and other events/scenes in MGM's SAN FRANCISCO are very very historically accurate, including the opera (Enrico Caruso was in town that night and sang at the opera.... he was shaken out of his bed and vowed never to return to San Francisco.) The camping scenes were very accurate with the right kinds of tents and park setting, and they were directed by the master of big outdoor scenes... D. W Griffith. The earthquake itself was very accurate, and the splitting of the crack in the street, showing the broken water main, was very accurate. And best of all was the way the outer stone casing of the City Hall collapsed off its steel frame. It looked like a real newsreel of the event. Many of the models of the buildings in the film were models of real San Francisco buildings, such as The Call Building, which survived and is still used as an office building.

 

But the Steps scenes are ok with me.

 

Real campground after SF earthquake:

 

1906-eq-jefferson-square.gif

 

 

Movie campground from SAN FRANCISCO:

 

e327oeb0j57l3e75.jpg

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I just read in WIKIPEDIA that the Odessa steps scene is all a lie--a fabrication perpetrated by Eisenstein.

I hate and loathe this manipulation! What is propaganda but an euphemism for falsehood???

 

I am shocked, shocked, to find out history has been manipulated in movies!

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I am shocked, shocked, to find out history has been manipulated in movies!

Every time I access a period movie on IMDB.com/ practically the first section I access is GOOFS in order to know the mistakes (?) and manipulations of which its makers are guilty.

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Every time I access a period movie on IMDB.com/ practically the first section I access is GOOFS in order to know the mistakes (?) and manipulations of which its makers are guilty.

 

As has been stated numerous times on these boards, Great Movie Buddha says:  'Don't get your history from movies.'

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As has been stated numerous times on these boards, Great Movie Buddha says:  'Don't get your history from movies.'

Which movies have been particularly nefarious at distorting history? SANTA FE TRAIL distorts the story of John Brown so much, his descendants should have sued for defamation of character.

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Which movies have been particularly nefarious at distorting history? SANTA FE TRAIL distorts the story of John Brown so much, his descendants should have sued for defamation of character.

 

Yes,   Santa Fe Trail really distorts the story of John Brown;  e.g. 

 

The story has nothing to do with the Santa Fe Trail

Graduation of a half-dozen famed Civil War generals from West Point in 1854,  Stuart being the only one who graduated that year

Custer a fellow graduate and close friend of Stuart, even though Custer was 15 in 1854 and never meet Stuart

Olivia Kit Carson Halliday is pure invention 

 

Still this is a very entertaining movie and Olivia and Errol work get together (and even Reagan holds his own) but it was like they decided to throw in every known person from that era into the film.  Talk about name dropping!

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I just read in WIKIPEDIA that the Odessa steps scene is all a lie--a fabrication perpetrated by Eisenstein.

 

 

It is not lie. It is metaphor.

 

Soldiers firing on innocent people happened in several places in Odesa. To show actual locations would show street and buildings which might be taken for setting in any European multi-cultural, cosmopolitan city.

 

Steps represent Odesa. They are famous landmark recognizable to all educated people. It is same as if filmmaker choose to have Eiffel Tower in background to establish with audience that action happens in Paris.

 

It is more than that also because Steps define Odesa. They are gateway. They lead from wilderness to sophistication. They can be seen as metaphor of climbing from supposedly brutal totalitarianism to imagined freedom of socialism.

 

Steps provide also nature of attacks which no other location would instill. Soldiers were relentless force. To have them lined up at top of stairs and marching down represents that authority held high ground and could push down all. There is no defense or counterattack of such maneuver.

 

Using steps as setting therefore is best way to say: "This happened in Odesa and crowds had no hope."

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It is not lie. It is metaphor.

 

Soldiers firing on innocent people happened in several places in Odesa. To show actual locations would show street and buildings which might be taken for setting in any European multi-cultural, cosmopolitan city.

 

Steps represent Odesa. They are famous landmark recognizable to all educated people. It is same as if filmmaker choose to have Eiffel Tower in background to establish with audience that action happens in Paris.

 

It is more than that also because Steps define Odesa. They are gateway. They lead from wilderness to sophistication. They can be seen as metaphor of climbing from supposedly brutal totalitarianism to imagined freedom of socialism.

 

Steps provide also nature of attacks which no other location would instill. Soldiers were relentless force. To have them lined up at top of stairs and marching down represents that authority held high ground and could push down all. There is no defense or counterattack of such maneuver.

 

Using steps as setting therefore is best way to say: "This happened in Odesa and crowds had no hope."

If I wanted to depict the USA govt. oppressing the USA citizenry, would I be justified in depicting the riot police attacking a crowd in front of the White House, something that has never happened?

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If I wanted to depict the USA govt. oppressing the USA citizenry, would I be justified in depicting the riot police attacking a crowd in front of the White House, something that has never happened?

 

Well Palmerin, "Hooverville", as it was called and where 'The Bonus Army", WWI veterans who demanded their long overdue promised compensation for their efforts during that war, was just a stones throw from the U.S. Capitol and the White House, and fought a little battle with riot police and the U.S. Army in 1932, ya know....

 

330px-Bonus_army_on_Capitol_lawn_cph.3a0

 

450px-Bonus_marchers_05510_2004_001_a.gi

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If I wanted to depict the USA govt. oppressing the USA citizenry, would I be justified in depicting the riot police attacking a crowd in front of the White House, something that has never happened?

 

Say the USA govt did oppress citizens in Washington DC but in an area without any famous landmarks.

 

If a director wanted to depict this event, showing a crowd in front of any of the famous DC landmarks would instantly convey to the audience the event occurred in DC,  even if it wasn't actually in front of the area used in the film.

 

I don't have a problem with that and I don't see how it distorts what happened in a way that misleads the audience (unless, say they showed the crowd defacing the landmark).

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Eisenstein's Odessa Steps sequence is great cinema, whether it really happened or not. Without it, we never would have had this great shootout scene from Brian De Palma's film version of "The Untouchables" (1987):

 

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By the way, Eisenstein also influenced another 1987 movie. When actor Peter Weller was working on "Robocop," he studied the bird-like movements of Nikolay Cherkasov as the title character in "Ivan the Terrible, Part I" (1944). 

 

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Say the USA govt did oppress citizens in Washington DC but in an area without any famous landmarks.

 

If a director wanted to depict this event, showing a crowd in front of any of the famous DC landmarks would instantly convey to the audience the event occurred in DC,  even if it wasn't actually in front of the area used in the film.

 

I don't have a problem with that and I don't see how it distorts what happened in a way that misleads the audience (unless, say they showed the crowd defacing the landmark).

Can you find SCRUPLES in the dictionary, a word of which Eisenstein and his fellow Bolsheviks were totally ignorant?

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If I wanted to depict the USA govt. oppressing the USA citizenry, would I be justified in depicting the riot police attacking a crowd in front of the White House, something that has never happened?

 

I would not have a problem with that if there were several such clashes in nondescript areas of that city. I believe that a movie can not show all things and that it is practical to condense many similar events into one metaphorical collage.

 

I believe that strict adherence to setting is pointless. One might argue that a movie did not remain true to facts if it depicted one-hundred-and-twelve men and ninety-six women in a scene when the actual event included one-hundred-and-sixteen men and ninety-five women. Or if it showed a cloud in the sky when event occurred on cloudless day. Or if it showed exactly even numbers of knitted and crocheted caps when knitted caps were preferred nine-to-seven over crocheted caps at that time.

 

The Steps are uniquely Odesa where such clashes occurred. They provide also sense of relentlessness and hopelessness prevalent in soldier-civilian clashes as no other setting could possibly convey. Scene is metaphorical artistic license and not a lie.

 

Do you argue also that all dialogue in such movies is a lie if it is not wholly from transcriptions made during events?

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So Palmerin, would be I mistaken in the belief that you would also be similarly dismissive of the movie NORMA RAE, as the real person's name who Sally Field would win an Oscar portraying in that film was Crystal Lee Sutton and not Norma Rae Webster, and her exploits in unionizing the textile mill workforce actually took place in North Carolina and not in the state of Alabama where it was filmed?

 

Well, the reason I brought this up of course is because I find your apparent dismissive attitude toward the Eisenstein classic quite akin to the supposition I've just posed to you, as I believe in both of these cases the changing of certain facts in a dramatic film does little to lessen a film's legitimacy or it's overall "greatness".

 

However, IF such films which seek to enlighten audiences to a particular era's peoples, places and circumstances bills itself as a "Documentary", THEN I might be inclined to agree with the objections you've raised with BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, but then again in neither of these cases, the Martin Ritt or the Sergei Eisenstein film is billed as such nor has ever been recognized as such.

 

(...and I might add here that in 2011 Ritt's film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being, and I quote, "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"...not so bad in my book, anyway)

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So Palmerin, would be I mistaken in the belief that you would also be similarly dismissive of the movie NORMA RAE, as the real person's name who Sally Field would win an Oscar portraying in that film was Crystal Lee Sutton and not Norma Rae Webster, and her exploits in unionizing the textile mill workforce actually took place in North Carolina and not in the state of Alabama where it was filmed?

 

Well, the reason I brought this up of course is because I find your apparent dismissive attitude toward the Eisenstein classic quite akin to the supposition I've just posed to you, as I believe in both of these cases the changing of certain facts in a dramatic film does little to lessen a film's legitimacy or it's overall "greatness".

 

However, IF such films which seek to enlighten audiences to a particular era's peoples, places and circumstances bills itself as a "Documentary", THEN I might be inclined to agree with the objections you've raised with BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, but then again in neither of these cases, the Martin Ritt or the Sergei Eisenstein film is billed as such nor has ever been recognized as such.

 

(...and I might add here that in 2011 Ritt's film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being, and I quote, "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"...not so bad in my book, anyway)

Let's throw this into it too, Darg----

 

Could be, many people may not have ever been AWARE of this battleship if NOT for this movie, regardless of historical accuracy or lack thereof.

 

I often don't think the brave men who attempted to hold off Santa Anna at The Alamo were as stoic as portrayed in any movies made of the incident.  I think many were scared S**TLESS!  But, I don't dismiss any movie about the incident.  Not having been there, and no survivors to document the incident leaves any speculation a free rein!

 

There've been other "historical incidents" that I was never aware of, until I saw some movie, old OR new about it, and sometimes it's piqued enough interest for me to investigate the FACTS, and, knowing what movies ARE, I don't judge the movie on it's "factual" merits.  It's just a movie!

 

There are other discussions in this forum going on RIGHT NOW about movies portraying the life of Jesus!

 

I've seen several over the years, and there's vast differences in ALL of them!

 

So, WHICH one is the RIGHT one?  :o

 

Sepiatone

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There've been other "historical incidents" that I was never aware of, until I saw some movie, old OR new about it, and sometimes it's piqued enough interest for me to investigate the FACTS, and, knowing what movies ARE, I don't judge the movie on it's "factual" merits.  It's just a movie!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

THAT is an excellent point to make here, Sepia!

 

Yep, I too have done this exact thing after discovering some new tidbit of history I wasn't previously aware of and via a movie which I had gotten the impression wasn't giving me a complete picture of the actual events, but which I would at least still appreciate the dramatized version of depicted events in said movie for, as you said, piquing an interesting into investigating the fact and possibly a more accurate vision of what had transpired during that time in history.

 

And I'm sure many people do this very thing, also.

 

(...well, at least the more inquisitive among us, anyway)

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Can you find SCRUPLES in the dictionary, a word of which Eisenstein and his fellow Bolsheviks were totally ignorant?

 

SansFin says it very well in the latest posted.   To me your way over the top and making a mountain out of a molehill especially by implying that the director lacks integrity. 

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SansFin says it very well in the latest posted.   To me your way over the top and making a mountain out of a molehill especially by implying that the director lacks integrity. 

The makers of SANTA FE TRAIL certainly showed no scruples when they showed John Brown as a troublemaker who had no real concern for the slaves.

History was my best subject in HS and college, always earning A+; I respect it too much to prostitute it as propaganda.

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