End of St. Petersburg, The (1927)

End of St. Petersburg, The (1927)

“It’s all the bald one’s fault, your honor.”

When a young peasant (Ivan Chuvelyov) goes to St. Petersburg seeking work, he learns that his former neighbor (Aleksandr Chistyakov) — much to the consternation of Chistyakov’s worried wife (Vera Baranovskaya) — is involved in a strike, and Chuvelyov foolishly goes to the authorities with this information. Soon Chuvelyov is inscripted into World War I, and returns to help the revolutionaries take over the Winter Palace.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Labor Movements
  • Revolutionaries
  • Russian Films
  • Silent Films

Russian director V.I. Pudovkin’s follow up to Mother (1926) was this second of three films about revolution, with key actors (Baranovskaya and Chistyakov) from Mother reappearing:

… and the storyline once again showcasing someone who naively betrays a comrade, then has a change of heart and joins the movement.

As noted in Cinesavant’s review, there is plenty of “furious fast cutting”; indeed, Pudovkhin’s masterful use of montage to build tension and perspective was legendary. The following abbreviated set of stills shows, for instance, how he builds up to the climactic firing on the Winter Palace:

Close-ups of “heroic” faces are interspersed with group shots, weaponry, statues, and buildings — occasionally repeated or provided in a closer-up view — to show how collective and coordinated the effort was. It’s impressive editing work for sure, and those interested in early Soviet cinema will certainly want to check it out — but it’s not must-see viewing for all film fanatics.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Fine cinematography
  • Masterful use of montage

Must See?
No, unless you’re particularly interested in Agitprop cinema. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.


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