Ivan the Terrible Part 1 and 2 were produced throughout the 1940s which was the roughest decade of Soviet history. The decade saw a Nazi invasion, famine, millions of Soviets dead and conflict with the West.
But the real terror was taking place at home under their leader, Josef Stalin. Stalin condemned to death, torture and hard-labour, anyone who dare deviate from his rigid line.
The message was clear for a Soviet filmmaker. You play by Stalin’s rules and at face value, Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible does play by the rules, but it’s a sophisticated piece of art and a wealth of bilious rage towards the dictator lies beneath the surface.
The amazing thing is that it’s so easy to spot the rage. Listen in to find out how Stalin missed it.