”Battleship Potemkin” homages
Based on a real 1905 Russian mutiny, Sergei Eisenstein’s silent masterwork Battleship Potemkin (1925) — just out in a restored two-disc set — hits a high point in the electrifying ”Odessa Steps” sequence. Think shattering close-ups, you-are-there shots of panicked crowds fleeing armed Cossacks, and an out-of-control baby carriage. It has inspired more than a few memorable homages.
As Jonathan Pryce’s Sam and Robert De Niro’s Harry escape down a set of massive stairs, their pursuers lockstep Cossack-like after them. Director Terry Gilliam substitutes a weird vacuum-cleaner thingamajig for the baby carriage.
THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987)
Brian De Palma’s Eliot Ness — Al Capone gangster epic swaps the siege at the Odessa Steps for a shoot-out at the Chicago train station, milking more suspense from a baby carriage than even Eisenstein could have conjured.
NAKED GUN 33 1/3: THE FINAL INSULT (1994)
In this parody of De Palma’s homage, Leslie Nielsen tangles with four baby carriages plus gangsters, the Pope, and a U.S. president. Eject all four babies simultaneously for laugh-out-loud funny.