Hot off the heels of their theatrical tour of the recently restored, Complete Metropolis, Kino International is bringing another classic piece of cinema to an independent theater near you, the Battleship Potemkin.
Earlier this year Kino released an incredible Blu-ray of their restored print of Battleship Potemkin, with “dozens of missing shots” replaced, and the intertitles cleaned up. It also features the “original 1926 Edmund Meisel score, performed by the Deutsches Filmorchestra.”
For eight decades, Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 masterpiece has remained one of the most influential silent films of all time. This all-new restoration — available for the first time in 35mm — restores dozens of missing shots, all 146 title cards, and Edmund Meisel’s definitive 1926 score, returning the film to a form as close to its creator’s bold vision as has been seen since the film’s triumphant Moscow premiere.
As far as I can tell, this print of the film that will be touring this January, 2011, is the same version that was made available on the Blu-ray. I haven’t heard any news about another new print of the film being restored, so I think you’re safe in knowing that if you bought the Blu-ray this past April, you have the (current) definitive edition of the Battleship Potemkin.
They haven’t released a list of theaters that will be showing the film yet, but I’ll be sure to put up a list as soon as one is available, so you’ll know where to head January 14th.
They’ve released a new, high definition trailer for this theatrical run, which I’m including below. You can also head to Apple’s trailer page, to download the HD version in Quicktime.
If you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend picking up the Blu-ray. It’s a gorgeous piece of home video production, with an interesting 42 minute documentary, tracking the restoration of the film, similar to the Metropolis Blu-ray (which is also a must own). There is a DVD available as well from Kino, and you can currently rent the Battleship Potemkin through Amazon for $3.
Some more information about the restoration:
This release is the result of a twenty-year project initiated by film historian, collector and restorer Enno Patalas, who began working on a BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN restoration in the early 1980s, while acting as the director of the Munich Filmmuseum ‘“ he was ably assisted by Anna Bohn. It was finally made possible by a collaboration between the Deutsche Kinemathek and Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv (Berlin), Gosfilmofond (Moscow) and the British Film Institute (London).
This definitive version of BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN restores all 1,374 of Eisenstein’s original shots and differs from previous re-issues by the inclusion of never-before-seen segments cut from the original negative at the insistence of German censors in 1926 and 1928.
After Sergei Eisenstein supervised the cutting of the film’s original negative (prior to the Russian premiere in 1925), this material was sold to a German distribution company that became responsible for the foreign sales of POTEMKIN. Still in the throes of a crippling economic depression and concerned with Bolshevik agitation within its own borders, German officials ordered distributor Prometheus to cut the most incendiary shots from the original negative, forcing them to further re- edit the film in order to cover up those cuts. Even the famed Odessa steps scene was altered.
Kino’s BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN not only brings back all of the film’s original shots, rescued from early prints made from the untouched original negative, but also presents the film as close as possi- ble to its original edit, when it premiered in Russia on December 21, 1925. Moreover, all of Eisenstein’s original titles have been put back in their original order, re-inserted into the film and retranslated into English. For instance, Kino’s version brings back a quote, originally placed at the beginning of the film, by the Ukrainian-born Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist by Leon Trotsky. Even though Trotsky wrote extensively on the 1905 revolution, Russian censors decided to replace this quote with a less incendiary excerpt written by Lenin.
And while the 1925 Russian premiere of POTEMKIN was presented without an exclusive score, Eisenstein personally supervised Edmund Meisel’s composition in Germany before his film’s pre- miere in Berlin in 1926. As such, Kino’s DVD brings back to life the only official music track for Eisenstein’s masterpiece, now rendered by the 55-piece Deutches Filmorchestra in 5.1 Stereo Surround.
After 80 years since its world premiere, dozens of missing shots have been replaced, all 146 mis- translated and reordered titles have been restored to Eisenstein’s specifications and POTEMKIN’s iconic imagery has been re-mastered in High Definition. BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN returns Eisenstein’s magnificent and revolutionary film to a form as close to its creator’s bold vision as we are ever likely to see.
What do you think? Are you going to head to your local arthouse theater when the Battleship Potemkin re-opens? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.