Today’s Google Doodle: Sergei Eisenstein

Today’s Google Doodle is about the 120th Birthday of Sergei Eisenstein.

(c) Google

Sergei Eisenstein was an early-Soviet propagandist who is perhaps best noted for his trilogy of films: “The Strike“, “The Battleship Potemkin“, and “October” (“Ten Days that Shook the World“) about the 1917 Russian October Revolution. Eisenstein is a notable character for the n01r blog since he was set to direct an anti-fascist version of “The War of the Worlds” in the early 1930’s before he left the US to complete the pro-Communist propaganda film “Que Viva Mexico“. He was a strong career influence on both Francis Ford Coppola and Orson Welles.

Eisenstein’s story is closely intertwined with that of Stalin, himself having taken an interest in films. Stalin even edited parts out of October. Stalin seems to have taken a keen dislike to him.

Eisenstein famously created the pro-Soviet propaganda film “Ivan the Terrible – Part I“, released in 1944. Eisenstein died in 1948 age 50, and “Ivan the Terrible – Part II” was not released until 1958 after the death of Stalin (1953). Stalin had blocked the release since he did not like the secret police and other intrigue which was present in the film.

“Eisenstein had ‘deliberately and consciously risked his freedom and his life to expose the degeneration of Stalin’ in the figure of Ivan.”

Like so many propagandists who worked for Stalin in service of the ‘revolution’ (see Otto Katz and Willi Munzenberg), he became a victim of the very counterfeit system his propaganda had once championed.

That has me wonder what Stalin might have thought of this fine fact-based documentary on Ivan IV I watched last evening. We certainly know how the boys in the Kremlin today feel about Ivan IV and Stalin.