Metric montage: Tension … or confusion?

In his writing, Eisenstein stressed that a regular metric tempo was important to a successful montage; he believed that complex rhythmic montages and an irregular metrical beat would cause the montage to confuse the audience. In this clip from October: Ten Days that Shook the World (1927), he accelerates the meter too quickly and leaves us struggling to grasp the images flashed on the screen.

In this clip, several upper class women beat a Bolshevik with canes and umbrellas. Soldiers fire on demonstrators, and the bridge to the workers’ section of Moscow is raised. Eisenstein intended to create tension and even chaos through rhythmic and metric montage in this sequence, but the average veiwer experiences confusion, not tension.