The second part of Sergei Eisenstein's baroque chronicle of the legendary Russian czar was originally planned as a three-part epic. But Eisenstein had battles with Russian censors over the second part of his trilogy, ostensibly because of a negative depiction of Ivan's secret police force (Stalin feared that Eisenstein was making a veiled reference to himself). Although filmed shortly after Part One in 1946, the film was suppressed and was not released until 1958. In the meantime, Eisenstein, who died in 1948, never completed his project, spending most of his time defending himself before Stalin and his censor boards. Part Two takes up the story of Ivan the Terrible (Nikolai Cherkasov) upon his return to Moscow from Alexandrov. Ivan must deal with a group of unfriendly boyars and becomes even more insulated after his mother is poisoned and an assassination plot is uncovered. The black-and-white film ends with a luminous color banquet scene.
by Paul Brenner synopsis