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Potemkin Abroad
     
 

BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN in Europe as reflected in press commentaries

13.5.1926, Deutsche Zeitung (Germany): “Potemkin’s first showing in Moscow”
A Russian man talks about the first showing of „Potemkin“ in Moscow: For Soviet-Russia, the film is a holy relic; it is twice as long as shown here in Germany. Its effect in Moscow was indescribable. People screamed, applauded, yelled and stamped on the floor in a never ending frenzy of enthusiasm. When the Soviet flag was hoisted on the ship’s masttop, the whole room was a sea of thunderous shouting and cheering. Finally, when the Soviet hymn was played, absolute silence set in, disturbed only by women sobbing of emotion. This is how Soviet-Russia sees the film, which will be shown on occasion of every bolshevist celebration day.

10.6.1926, Die Rote Fahne (Germany): “BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN in England”
The leftist newspaper “Die Rote Fahne” quotes the film magazine “Film-Kurier”: Due to BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN’s unusual success in Germany it was already possible to sell the film to England, Holland and Austria. Further deals are expected.

15.6.1926, Das Deutsche Tageblatt (Germany): „Potemkin Banned in France“
The film was banned for the whole of France. The government justifies this with the necessity of state self-defense because the movie glorified insubordination. What about Germany?

30.6.1926, Deutsche Zeitung (Germany): “Vienna Against the POTEMKIN film As Well”
Demonstration in several cinemas against the “dirty film”. After a screening stink bombs and “niffy liquids” were thrown into the cinema. The audience acclaimed the disturbance and asked for the prohibition of the film. Further riots were expected, if this did not occur soon.

10.7.1926, Berliner Börsen-Zeitung (Germany): “Battleship Potemkin – A Political Film!“
The soviet communist newspaper „Iswestija“ comments on the „Potemkin-scandal“: „The Soviet-film’s triumph in bourgeois Germany is significant not only for art. It is a stunning success of revolutionary art over the mass audience of the capitalist country. Its success is not artistic in nature, it is rather the psychological and political effect it provoked.” This proves that the film has the political purpose to infect the German cinema audience with the bacillus of bolshevism.

15.7.1926, Der Tag (Germany): “England Prohibits the Potemkin-Film As Well”
The English censorship authority has prohibited the showing of the Potemkin-film even for the press screening. This is of special interest, for especially in England one is quite relaxed about political aspects of film showings.

21.8.1926, Ceský filmový zpravodaj (Czechoslovakia): “V Rumunsku”
BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN was completely interdicted in Romania and the government confiscated all brochures about the film.

26.8.1926, Lichtbild-Bühne (Germany): “Permitted in Holland”
Holland’s film censorship, well known for its rigidity, has permitted BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN with some cuts comparable with those made in Germany.

27.8.1926, Film-Kurier (Germany): “POTEMKIN booked in France”
Paris, August 24th. A newly established distribution firm has bought “Potemkin” and some other films. The firm tries to have “Potemkin” admitted. It can be assumed that “Potemkin” will be publicly shown in Paris this autumn, after some cuts and changes of titles have been made.

1.9.1926, Berliner Börsen-Courier (Germany): “Admission of the Potemkin-Film in Chechoslovakia”
Prague, August 31st 1926: The censorship committee in Prague has decided with five against four votes to permit the Potemkinfilm without cuts. It will be shown in October.

16.9.1926, Prager Tagblatt (Czechoslovakia): „Film Križník Potemkin ve Švédsku zakázán“
A short information about complete interdiction of BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN in Sweeden.

18.9.1926, Ceský filmový zpravodaj (Czechoslovakia): “Križník Potemkin”
Mentions about censoring of BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN in Denmark, Netherlands and England. The film was qualified for public screening in Denmark but with the shortages. The film will be screened also in Netherlands but after the official visit of the British Navy. The film was completely interdicted in England.

22.9.26: Das Deutsche Tageblatt (Germany) announced the ban of BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN in Sweden.

16.11.1926, Berliner Börsen-Courier (Germany): „Potemkin banned in Holland“
As in Germany, the Potemkin-film meets opposition in Holland. It was banned by the mayor in the town of Venlo near the German border.

4.4.1927 „Potemkin: Riots in Munich“
At the “Lichtspiel-Haus” a young group began with a (poorly) prearranged riot. The young people (one was Swastika-festooned) shouted and waved sticks around. The audience panicked. 15 persons were arrested but the rowdies were not identified. Under supervision of the police the film the screening continues. There were very severe disturbances at the “Filmpalast”. Stink bombs were thrown into the cinema, trouble and racket were made, and violent quarrelling took place so that the police had to evacuate the cinema. The campaign by Professor Hermann Bauer has been fruitful, for it is evident that the riots were well-planned. However the film will probably continue to be shown in Munich.

6.4.1927, Film-Kurier (Germany): “POTEMKIN in the U.S.A.”
BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN is being shown in many American cities. Universal Pictures Corporation shows the film in Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburg and San Francisco. In Washington, a moving picture theater for artistic films will be opening with BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN on April 6th.

31.5.1928, Film-Kurier (Germany): „BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN in Brussels”
The article says:
The Belgian distribution rights have been sold to the “Frank-Films“ distribution company. The negotiations had taken so long because Frank-Films wanted the version without cuts. Now, the uncuted version will be shown in Brussels.

It is unsure how the Belgian authorities will react. They can only prohibit a film when it provokes violent demonstrations. This seems to be the goal of some newspapers which review the film only in political terms. It is of interest that the first showing will be held as a welfare event for war invalids.

After POTEMKIN, Frank-Films is planning to distribute Pudowkin’s MOTHER (1925), THE END OF ST. PETERSBURG (1927), OCTOBER / TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD (1927) and BED AND SOFA (1927).

18.6.1928, “Film-Kurier” (Germany): The Soviet Film in Europe. The Argument over „Potemkin“ in Belgium [link-press: 5925]
Two theatre owners who are not members of the association of theatre owners had announced the “Potemkin”-film in Borgerhout and in the “Agora” in Hoboken. The “Syndicat de l’Exploitation Cinématographique“ undertook steps to lead the mayor to prohibit the showing, and the mayor of Borgerhout, based on a catholic city council majority, gave in. The showing was prohibited on police order. In Hoboken, where the majority is socialist, the film was shown with great success. There was no incident.
It is told that the theatre owner-association hopes to get awards from the government by boycotting the film. Cf. Daniel Biltereysts’ project „Forbidden images. A research into the meaning of film as a source for social controversy using archive material from the official and the Catholic film classification boards in Belgium (1920-2000)”. Fund for Scientific Research – Belgium / Ghent University.


 
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Source Edition urrogat Production Introduction Censorship Regulations Battleship Potemkin Horror Films Conclusion Bibliography Germany Introduction Czechoslovakia Austria Synopsis Local vs. central film assessment Potemkin abroad Russian films