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(aka "The Battleship Potemkin" or "Bronenosets Potyomkin" or "Броненосец Потёмкин" or "The Armored Cruiser Potemkin" or "The Battleship Potyomkin" or "Bronomzidi Potiomkini")

 

directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein
Soviet Union 1925

 

Probably one of the most surprisingly unwatched of the classic genre films, Sergei Eisenstein’s Bronenosets Potyomkin ( Battleship Potemkin ) made in 1925 has not maintained a distinctive impact on modern audiences. It was voted the greatest film of all time at the Brussels, Belgium, World's Fair in 1958 and the following year ``Citizen Kane'' had its giant re-release and went to the top of the list for the next 40+ years.

We are not only watching a storyline, but also history. Political and Cinematic. The monophonic orchestral musical score, by Dimitri Shostakovich, is quite nice as well with occasional unusual pauses and stoppages.

The level of appreciation for the film depends on one’s tolerance of endeavoring to accept the numerous symbols and parallels administered through typical over exaggerated silent film acting. Eisenstein himself represents The Church as he plays the wild looking Russian Orthodox chaplain. It is hard to pinpoint actual flaws in the acting due to the style in which the film is made, often at a blisteringly edited pace with no focus on any individual characters. . D.W. Griffith and such films of his as “Intolerance”, 1916, heavily influenced the film Battleship Potemkin. Not unlike the propaganda message it delivers, BP fittingly never focuses on an individual behavior for long, but rather the whole persona and often harried and violent activities that are being shown before our eyes. There are no three dimensional individuals in the story who may cause it to become personalized. The only real star of the film is stated in the title.

Eisenstein became quite focused on the actual Potemkin mutiny that his film is based. The crews of the battleship, sailing through the Black Sea after returning from the war with Japan, become outraged because of tainted rations and uncaring bourgeois officers. After a cloth, their death shroud, is thrown over a small group of defiant sailors and orders are shouted for them to be shot. The tension mounts for the viewer and the films potential protagonist Vakulinchuk cries out, ``Brothers! Who are you shooting at?''

 

Excerpt from Gary Tooze's review located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 28th, 1925 - Soviet Union

Reviews     More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Kino (The Ultimate Edition - 2-disc) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Films Sans Frontieres (Part of the Eisenstein l'intégrale Box) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Image - Region 0 - NTSC vs.  Eureka (UK) - Region 2/4 - PAL vs. Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Mikkel Svendstrup of DVDsnak and Ole of DVD-Basen for the DVD Screen Caps!

 

DVD "Ultimate" Package

 

 

(Films Sans Frontieres - Region 0 - PAL vs. Image - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs.  - Eureka - Region 2/4 - PAL - RIGHT)

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Films Sans Frotieres

Region 0 - PAL

Image Entertainment

Region 1  - NTSC

Eureka
Region 2/4 - PAL

 

Distribution Kino - Region FREE Blu-ray Kino - Region 0 NTSC

Films Sans Frotieres

Region 0 - PAL

Image Entertainment

Region 1  - NTSC

Eureka
Region 2/4 - PAL
Runtime 1:12:01.358

Disc 1 : 1:09:06

Disc 2: 1:08:42

1:10:59 1:14:06 1:13:09
Video

Disc Size: 43,365,400,976 bytes

Feature Size: 18,006,675,456 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.40 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.26 + 6.48 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s
1.25:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: N/A mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.29:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.86 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.29:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.58 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Kino Blu-ray

Bitrate: Kino Ultimate Edition Disc 1

Bitrate: Kino Ultimate Edition Disc 1

Bitrate:

Films sans frontieres

 

Bitrate:

Image

 

Bitrate:

Eureka

 

Distribution Kino - Region FREE Blu-ray Kino - Region 0 NTSC

Films Sans Frotieres

Region 0 - PAL

Image Entertainment

Region 1  - NTSC

Eureka
Region 2/4 - PAL
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio 4151 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4151 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit) Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 DD mono & stereo ( 3 different scores) Dolby Digital 2.0 stere0

Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles Inter-titles in translated English or Inter-titles in original Russian with optional English subtitles Disc 1: Inter-titles English

Disc 2: Inter-titles in Russian with optional English subtitles

French, English (removable) None (Inter-titles in Russian and English) None (Inter-titles in Russian and English)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Kino

 

Disc Size: 43,365,400,976 bytes

Feature Size: 18,006,675,456 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.40 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• Tracing Battleship Potemkin (42 minutes in HD!)
• Photo gallery

Blu-ray Release Date: April 20th, 2010
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Kino

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Tracing Battleship Potemkin (42 minutes)
• Photo gallery

DVD Release Date: December Oct 2007
3 -teired digi-pak isnide a cardboard box

Chapters 12 X 2

 

Release Information:
Studio: Films Sans Frotieres

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.25:1

Edition Details:
• This disc also contains "The General Line"
• Biography
• Eisensteins notes

DVD Release Date: December 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.29:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: October 7, 1998
Snapper Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.29:1

Edition Details:

• Small synopsis

DVD Release Date:
January 17th, 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 15

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino - Region FREE' Blu-ray - April 2010: I guess the important thing is that Kino have done an acceptable job here. Unlike their own 'Ultimate" DVD package the image transfer is progressive and is obviously improved (contrast, detail) in 1080P resolution. The Blu-ray appears to have NTSC running time - not PAL speedup although I'm unsure of the frame-rate situation. Bottom line their it is longer than the 'Ultimate' by about 3-minutes. More detail is shown threw the lighter contrast and at times the restoration can look quite impressive showing reasonably consistent grain. Scratches can gain prominence in the HD resolution. More good-news - they offer both the original Russian intertitles (with optional English subtitles) and pre-translated to English title cards - although not seamlessly branched. Each 'version' is about 18 Gig on the dual-layered disc.

NOTE: I only used the Russian intertitles as samples below.

We again get original 1926 Edmund Meisel score performed by the Deutsches Filmorchestra, but now offered in a lossless, powerful, DTS-Master 5.1 at a whopping 4151 Kbps. I prefer the crispness of the score to any perceived mix opportunities - but in-all it works quite well offering another expression for the home theater presentation. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

No new extras but the 8-part, 42-minute Tracing Battleship Potemkin is transferred in HD although I didn't find this significant to the appreciation. There are also the galleries - looking strong. There are 6-pages of film notes by Bruce Bennett.

Great stuff Kino! - We can state with confidence that this is the definitive version of the Eisenstein classic - everything is done adeptly (you didn't screw this up). Could Kino be one of the 'heroes' of the new format? With The General,  Fallen Angels and Ballast. It truly is a 'new age' and we fully endorse the Battleship Potemkin Blu-ray!

****

ADDITION: Kino Ultimate Edition - Oct 07': I'll be brief - the new Kino Ultimate Edition has two discs - a dual-layered first disc featuring the 'restored' film with newly translated English intertitles. It also has a photo gallery and a 42 minute documentary entitled 'Tracing Battleship Potemkin' in a lot of Russian with English subtitles. Disc two is single-layered and has the 'restored' film with original Russian intertitles and optional English subtitles. Both are interlaced and feature the original 1926 Edmund Meisel score performed by the Deutsches Filmorchestra, offered in 5.1 or 2.0 flavors.

Although it has interlaced combing, the image is improved (especially in the area of contrast) and shows extensively more in the frame. Audio sounded very strong. I am still investigating why the Kino version(s) are short than the older NTSC editions - I suspect it is from an unconverted PAL source (this might also explain the ghosting/combing).

Gary Tooze

***

NOTE: The superior version expected from BFI, is not forthcoming yet. READ HERE.

"80 years after its first screening in Russia and 100 years after the events it portrays, Battleship Potemkin will be presented for the first time in a newly reconstructed version. This presentation of the film will screen as a special event of the Retrospective section during the 55th Berlin International Film Festival. This new reconstruction of the Russian premiere version includes, for the first time, the Russian intertitles with their original graphics as well as Leo Trotsky's opening words. What is more, the changes and cuts carried out, for instance, on the famous staircase sequence as a result of the film's reworking and censorship have been corrected."

****

ADDITION: Films sans frontieres (Feb-2005) - This disc is available either alone or as a part of the French Eisenstein 4-disc l’integrale box released by Films sans Frontieres. The box consists of 8 films; each DVD-9 disc contains two films.

Disc 1: Battleship Potemkin + The General Line.
Disc 2: October + Strike.
Disc 3: Alexander Nevsky + Que Viva Mexico!
Disc 4: Ivan the Terrible part I + part II.

The quality is great. Off course there is some damage, but I’ve never seen these films looking as good as this. And all the films have nice white removable English subtitles.

 - Mikkel Svendstrup

The Eureka has been brightened and I see edge-enhancement. Because of the digital processing it is less sharp than the Image Entertainment DVD. The aspect ratio is the same and the damaged spots on the film are the same, so it appears that Eureka have just done some contrast boosting in an attempt to improve the image quality, but in essence their manipulations have only lessened its clarity. I don't have any reason why the times are slightly different and Ole who owns the Eureka disc did not some "ghosting" prevalent when the production is from one standard taken to another. Bottom line: Stick with the Image Entertainment for now. 

 - Gary W. Tooze


Kino - Region FREE Blu-ray Menus
 

 

DVD Menus

 

Ultimate Edition - Disc 1

 

 

Disc 2 - Ultimate Edition

 


 

(Films Sans Frontieres - Region 0 - PAL)

 


(
Image - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs.  - Eureka - Region 2/4 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Ultimate Edition samples:

 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Kino Ultimate Edition - Region 0 - NTSC - Disc 1 TOP

2) Kino Ultimate Edition - Region 0 - NTSC - Disc 2 SECOND

3) Films Sans Frontieres - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Eureka - Region 2/4 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM



 

1) Kino Ultimate Edition - Region 0 - NTSC - Disc 1 TOP

2) Kino Ultimate Edition - Region 0 - NTSC - Disc 2 SECOND

3) Films Sans Frontieres - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Eureka - Region 2/4 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino Ultimate Edition - Region 0 - NTSC - Disc 1 TOP

2) Kino Ultimate Edition - Region 0 - NTSC - Disc 2 SECOND

3) Films Sans Frontieres - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Eureka - Region 2/4 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino Ultimate Edition - Region 0 - NTSC - Disc 1 TOP

2) Kino Ultimate Edition - Region 0 - NTSC - Disc 2 SECOND

3) Films Sans Frontieres - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Eureka - Region 2/4 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Kino - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray captures


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DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Films Sans Frotieres

Region 0 - PAL

Image Entertainment

Region 1  - NTSC

Eureka
Region 2/4 - PAL




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Many Thanks...