From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein (23 January 1898 – 23 July 1948) was a pioneering Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, often considered to be the "Father of Montage". He is noted in particular for his silent films Strike (1924), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and October (1927), as well as the historical epics Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (1944, 1958).
Eisenstein was a pioneer in the use of montage, a specific use of film editing. He and his contemporary, Lev Kuleshov, two of the earliest film theorists, argued that montage was the essence of the cinema. His articles and books — particularly Film Form and The Film Sense — explain the significance of montage in detail.
In late April 1930, Jesse L. Lasky, on behalf of Paramount Pictures, offered him the opportunity to make a film in the United States. He accepted a short-term contract for $100,000 and arrived in Hollywood in May 1930. However, this arrangement failed. Eisenstein's idiosyncratic and artistic approach to cinema was incompatible with the more formulaic and commercial approach of American studios.
Eisenstein was thus faced with returning home a failure. The Soviet film industry was solving the sound-film issue without him and his films, techniques, and theories were becoming increasingly attacked as 'ideological failures' and prime examples of formalism. Many of his theoretical articles from this period, such as Eisenstein on Disney, have surfaced decades later as seminal scholarly texts used as curriculum in film schools around the world.
- The Glass House (1926–30) was an unrealized project by Eisenstein