Primarily a biographical documentary about the military career of Alexander Suvorov, who was Field Marshal of the armies of Catherine the Great and Czar Paul I.
After many military successes during the reign of Catherine, General Suvorov broke with her successor, Paul I, the Mad Emperor, over questions regarding army policy. He went into retirement and wrote "The Science of Victory," containing maxims such as "Swiftness of movement accompanies victory," and "the real general is he who defeats the enemy before reaching him." The czar recalled Suvorov to become the leader of the joint armies of Russia and Austria against Napoleon.
A truly magnificent biopic co-directed by Pudovkin and Doller who had previously worked together on 'The end of St. Petersburg' fifteen years earlier. The subject of this is the brilliant military commander who served under Catherine the Great and her blockhead of a son Paul and achieved the rare feat of never having lost a battle. This inspirational figure is portrayed by Nicolay P. Cherkasov with Aleksandr Khanov as his second-in command, both of whom are excellent. By far the most effective scenes are those in the Swiss Alps. Pudovkin's preferred cinematographers Golovniya and Lobova have captured extraordinarily majestic and beautiful images whilst the editing by V. Sukhova of the taking of the Gotthard Pass and Devil's Bridge is breathtaking. Also effective is the scene where Suvorov addresses his weary, hungry and battle-scarred veterans known as the 'gentleman cavaliers' who proudly declare that they have never retreated in forty years. After his successful Italian campaign against the French, Suvorov was prevented by 'politics' from marching on Paris. Interesting to speculate how history would have changed had he been allowed to press on. (review by brogmiller)