Sergei M. Eisenstein

Born in Riga, Latvia, on Jan. 23, 1898, Sergei M. Eisenstein showed an aptitude for science from a young age and joined the Soviet Red Army as an engineer after the October Revolution of 1917.

His subsequent studies of the technical aspects of moviemaking yielded exciting new theories in the use of montage and editing, which would influence countless generations of directors. While he found critical success with Battleship Potemkin (1925), The General Line (1929) and October (1927), Eisenstein never found acceptance from his country's Communist government, which frowned on his exploration of class conflict and innovative camera angles.

He died of a brain hemorrhage on Feb.11, 1948, at age 50, prompting a rumor to circulate that Russian scientists had preserved his exemplary brain for further study.