Review: ‘The Assassination of Trotsky’

The last days (1940) in the life of the Russian revolutionary figure, Leon Trotsky, are traced in this fairly cryptic film.

The last days (1940) in the life of the Russian revolutionary figure, Leon Trotsky, are traced in this fairly cryptic film.

Intended as a sort of political thriller, the film remains cloudy vis-a-vis the Stalin menance though it works up dread, and the foreshadowed (pickaxe, skull-shattering) death. But there is too much forced symbolism, diffuse characterization and a sort of schematic feel sans enough interplay of people, historical perspective, or new insights into this political or psychological murder.

Richard Burton sometimes catches a cantankerous and surface aspect of the aging revolutionary, once almost as popular as Lenin in Russia.

The film rarely transcends a sort of banal look at the murder. It has little to say about political hatred and fanaticism.

The Assassination of Trotsky

France - Italy

Production

Cinettel/CIAC/De Laurentiis. Director Joseph Losey; Producer Norman Priggen, Joseph Losey; Writer Nicholas Mosley, Masolino D Amico; Camera Pasqualino De Santis Editor Reginald Beck; Music Egisto Macchi Art Richard Macdonald

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Richard Burton Alain Delon Romy Schneider Valentina Cortese Luigi Vannucchi Giorgio Albertazzi

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