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27 March 2013

Nicolas Koline

Nicolas Koline (1878 - 1966) was one of the Russian actors fleeing from the country after the revolution. He played in several French and German films directed by Russian emigré directors.

Nicolas Koline as Tristan Fleuri in Napoléon
French postcard by Editions Cinémagazine, no. 460. Photo: publcity still of Nicolas Koline as Tristan Fleuri in Napoléon (1927, Abel Gance).

Nathalie Lissenko, Nicolas Koline & Nicolas Rimsky in Calvaire d'amour
French postcard, with names written in Russian. The Russian actors Nathalie Lissenko, Nicolas Koline and Nicolas Rimsky in the Albatros producton Calvaire d'amour (1923, Viktor Tourjansky).

Between Yalta and Paris
Nicolas Koline was born Nikolaj Kolin in Russia in 1878. He was one of the Russian actors fleeing from the country after the revolution and during the Civil War. Together with his compatriots he moved to France. There he played in several films directed by Russian emigré directors. The first was L'angoissante aventure/Agonizing Adventure (1920, Yakov Protazanov), a film with several fled Russian actors: Ivan Mozzhukhin (the lead and the scriptwriter of the film, together with Alexander Volkov), Nathalie Lissenko, Dimitri Buchowetzki, Vera Orlova and Nicolas Panoff. The film was started during the trip of the emigrés from Yalta to Paris and finished in the Montreuil studio in Paris. It was the second film of the Ermolieff company, which a few years after turned into Albatros Films. The newly formed company Ermolieff Films (1920) gathered the Russian emigrés; this also included Russian cameramen such as Fédote Bourgassoff and Nicolas Toporkoff.

Nicolas Koline
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1063/1, 1927-1928. Photo: DeWesti Film-Verleih.

Leading Parts
After this first film Nicolas Koline appeared in La tourmente/The Storm (1921, Serge Nadejdine), Justice d'abord/Justice at First (1921, Yakov Protazanov), Les Contes de mille et une nuits/The Tales of a Thousand and One Nights (1921, Viatcheslav/Victor/Viktor Tourjansky), the serial La maison du mystère (1922, Alexander Volkov) which was also released as a feature, Nuit de carnaval (1922, Viktor Tourjansky), and Calvaire d'amour/Ordeal of Love (1923, Viktor Tourjansky). Koline had leading parts in Le brasier ardent/The Burning Brazier (1923, Ivan Mozzhukin, Alexander Volkov), Le Chant de l'amour triomphant/The Triumphant Love Song (1923, Viktor Tourjansky 1923), and Kean/Edmund Kean: Prince Among Lovers (1923, Alexander Volkov). He was even the main star of Le Chiffonnier de Paris/The Ragman of Paris (1924, Serge Nadejdine), after the famous drama by Félix Pyat. In the same year he played leading roles opposite Nathalie Kovanko and Nicolas Rimsky in La Dame masquée/The Masked Lady (1924, Viktor Tourjansky) and opposite Andrée Brabant and again Rimsky in La Cible/The Target (1924, Serge Nadejdine).

Nicolas Koline
French postcard by Cinémagazine Editions, no. 135.

UFA
In the late 1920's, Nicolas Koline started to play in German films by the UFA. First he appeared in the Franco-German coproduction Die geheimnisse des Orients/The Secrets of the Orient (1928, Alexander Volkov), a film with an internatinal cast including Hungarian Ivan Petrovich, Italian Marcella Albani and French Gaston Modot. It was followed by Hurrah! Ich lebe!/Hurray! I Live! (1928, Wilhelm Thiele) where Koline played opposite his compatriot Natalia Lissenko, and Gaukler/Les saltimbanques (1929/1930), a multilingual directed by Robert Land in the German version and by Jacquelux in the French version.

Nicolas Koline
Vintage postcard.

Viktor Tourjansky
From 1934 on, Nicolas Koline played minor parts in German films such as the coproduction Variétés/Vaudevilles (1935, Nicolas Farkas) with Annabella, Menschen ohne Vaterland/People Without Fatherland (1936, Herbert Maisch) with Willy Fritsch, Patrioten/Patriots (1937, Karl Ritter) with Lida Baarova, Ab Mitternacht/From Midnight (1938, Carl Hoffmann) with Gina Falckenberg, and several films directed by Victor Tourjansky: Geheimzeichen LB17/Secret Sign LB17 (1938), Der Gouverneur/The Governor (1939), Feinde/Enemies (1940), and in particular Illusion (1941) with Johannes Heesters and Brigitte Horney, and Tonelli (1943) with Ferdinand Marian and Winnie Markus. Koline had one major part in those years, in Johann (1943, Robert A. Stemmle). He also played several small roles until the end of the decade. He appeared in films by a.o. G.W. Pabst and Hans Steinhoff such as Komödianten/The Comedians (1941) and Rembrandt (1942).

Nathalie Kovanko & Nicolas Koline in La dame masquée
Nathalie Kovanko & Nicolas Koline in La dame masquée
Belgian postcard. Verso. Publicity postcard for the screening of the Albatros production La dame masquée (1924, Viktor Tourjansky) at the Brussels Ciné Palladium, from 12 to 18 September 1924. Palladium was a Brussels cinema on the Rue Neuve No. 35. It opened in 1920 and probably closed in 1954, at the opening of its neighbour on no. 37, cinema Astor.

Zarah Leander
After the war, Nicolas Koline remained in Germany and played small parts in films from 1947 on again, but in 1948 he also had a major lead again in Tragödie einer Leidenschaft/Tragedy of a Passion by Kurt Meisel, an adaptation of the Nikolai Leskov novel. Koline continued to play in German films until his death in 1954. He usually played small parts but occasionally a bigger one as in Cuba Cabana (1952, Fritz Peter Buch), starring Zarah Leander. Some of Koline's parts were again in films by Tourjansky, such as Dreimal Komödie/Three Times Comedy (1949), Der blaue Strohhut/The Blue Straw Hat (1949) and Salto mortale (1953). Nicolas Koline died in 1954.

Nicolas Koline
French postcard.

Sources: François Albéra, Albatros - des Russes à Paris 1919-1929 (1995), filmportal.de, and IMDb.

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