This Day in History – November 19th, 1881

On November 19th, 1881  a meteorite landed near the village of Grossliebenthal, southwest of Odessa, in the Ukraine . . . and that’s about all there is to that story . . . the vastness of the aetherweb has nothing much to say about the sleepy village of Grossliebenthal, but Odessa . . . there’s a lot that can be said about Odessa.

battleship-potemkin-russian-movies-poster-desktop-free-wallpaperIn 1905 Odessa was the site of a workers’ uprising supported by the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin and Lenin‘s Iskra. Sergei Eisenstein‘s famous motion picture The Battleship Potemkin commemorated the uprising and included a scene where hundreds of Odessan citizens were murdered on the great stone staircase (now popularly known as the “Potemkin Steps”), in one of the most famous scenes in motion picture history. At the top of the steps, which lead down to the port, stands a statue of the Duc de Richelieu. The actual massacre took place in streets nearby, not on the steps themselves, but the film caused many to visit Odessa to see the site of the “slaughter”. The “Odessa Steps” continue to be a tourist attraction in Odessa. The film was made at Odessa’s Cinema Factory, one of the oldest cinema studios in the former Soviet Union.

The famous “Odessa Steps” sequence of The Battleship Potemkin has numerous appearances in subsequent homages made to Eisenstein by other film directors . . . you might recognize several of them.

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