Skanderberg (1953)

February 21st, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Sergei Yutkevich | War drama 120’

Seventy years after its release this film stands testament to the brief honeymoon between Albania and the Soviet Union between the death of Stalin and Enver Hoxha’s inevitable falling out shortly afterwards out with his successors in the Kremlin.

The Soviet cinema had already been the beneficiaries of the unintended largesse of the Germans when they took possession of Agfacolor at the end of the war – which explains why colour was such a surprisingly common feature of Eastern European films of the 1950s – and when the time came to play father bountiful to little Albania the choice of subject was a no-brainer: it had to be a film depicting Albania’s greatest national hero.

To that end the Russians dispatched veteran director Sergei Yutkevich to Albania with a large consignment of colour film and evidently one of Mosfilm’s dollies, since both the frequent battles scenes as well as the interiors abound in dynamic lateral tracks and sweeping camera movements. @RichardChatten

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