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13 December 2013

Daniel Olbrychski

Today, it's Postcard Friendship Friday on the net. A weekly event in which postcard blogs present themselves. Start at Beth's blog with the great title The Best Hearts Are Crunchy, and enjoy some rare vintage postcards that are preserved on the net by bloggers like me.

For this Postcard Friendship Friday, I have chosen postcards of handsome and athletic Daniel Olbrychski (1945), a Polish actor best known for his leading roles in several Andrzej Wajda films. He also worked with Volker Schlöndorff, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Claude Lelouch and recently he played Russian defector and spymaster Vassily Orlov opposite Angelina Jolie in the Hollywood blockbuster Salt (2011).

Daniel Olbrychski
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 117/73, 1973. Retail price: 0,20 M.

Andrzej Wajda


Daniel Marcel Olbrychski was born in Łowicz, Poland in 1945 as the son of Franciszek Olbrychski and Klementyna Sołonowicz-Olbrychska. He attended the Gimnazjum i Liceum im. Stefana Batorego in Warsaw.

In the years 1963 and 1964 he performed at the Teatrem Młodzieżowym TVP (Youth Theatre) under the direction of Andrzej Konic. He started to attend the Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Teatralna (Academy of Dramatic Arts in Warsaw), but never finished his studies.

In 1964 his film career started at the age of 18 with the war film Ranny w lesie/Wounded in the Forest (Janusz Nasfeter, 1964).

A year later, he worked for the first time with director Andrzej Wajda at the Western-style war epic Popioły/The Ashes (Andrzej Wajda, 1965) which was entered into the 1966 Cannes Film Festival. He also appeared in Wajda’s Wszystko na sprzedaż/Everything for Sale (Andrzej Wajda, 1969) with Beata Tyszkiewicz, and the comedy Polowanie na muchy/Hunting Flies (Andrzej Wajda, 1969).

He then had the lead in the drama Życie rodzinne/Family Life (Krzysztof Zanussi, 1971).

He starred in the drama Krajobraz po bitwie/Landscape After the Battle (Andrzej Wajda, 1970), the story of a Nazi German concentration camp survivor soon after liberation, residing in a DP camp somewhere in Germany. The film is based on the writings of Holocaust survivor and Polish author Tadeusz Borowski.

Olbrychski also starred in the drama Brzezina/The Birch Wood (Andrzej Wajda, 1970) based on a novel by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz. It was entered into the 7th Moscow International Film Festival where Andrzej Wajda won the Golden Prize for Direction and Daniel Olbrychski won the award for Best Actor.

They also worked together on the German drama Pilatus und andere - Ein Film für Karfreitag/Pilate and Others (Andrzej Wajda, 1972), based on the 1967 novel The Master and Margarita by the Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov.

Then followed Wesele/The Wedding (Andrzej Wajda, 1972), an adaptation of a play by Stanisław Wyspiański which Wajda also directed for the theatre. Wesele describes the perils of the national drive toward self-determination after the Polish uprisings of November 1830 and January 1863, the result of the Partitions of Poland.

Ziemia Obiecana/The Promised Land (Andrzej Wajda, 1975) is a drama based on a novel by Władysław Reymont. Set in the industrial city of Łódź, The Promised Land tells the story of a Pole, a German, and a Jew struggling to build a factory in the raw world of 19th century capitalism.

Very popular was the Polish-Soviet historical drama Potop/The Deluge (Jerzy Hoffman, 1974), based on the 1886 novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 47th Academy Awards, but lost to Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973). The film is the third most popular in the history of Polish cinema, with some 28 million tickets sold in Poland and 30.5 million in the Soviet Union.

Olbrychski also starred in Panny z Wilka/The Maids of Wilko (Andrzej Wajda, 1979), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Daniel Olbruchski then played one of the leads in Volker Schlöndorff's masterpiece Die Blechtrommel/The Tin Drum (1979) based on Günter Grass' novel. The Tin Drum was one of the most financially successful German films of the 1970s. It won the 1979 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was jointly awarded the Palme d'Or at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival, along with Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979).

Daniel Olbrychski
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 3191, 1968. Retail price: 0,20 M. Photo: Balinski.

Hot-Tempered Patriot


IMDb describes Daniel Olbrychski as a ‘hot-tempered patriot’, who would enjoy horseback riding on town centre squares. Another amusing anecdote is that once a picture of Olbrychski as an SS-man was displayed in a contemporary art exhibition. As soon as he knew this, he went armed with a saber and with a TV news crew to the exhibition room, where he cut down his portrait, ending its existence.

In the 1980s, he gradually switched from leads to supporting roles. He appeared in the popular French musical epic Les Uns et les Autres/Bolero: Dance of Life (Claude Lelouch, 1981).

Other West-European films include La Truite/The Trout (Joseph Losey, 1982), starring Isabelle Huppert, Eine Liebe in Deutschland/A Love in Germany (Andrzej Wajda, 1983) with Hanna Schygulla, and Die Geduld der Rosa Luxemburg/Rosa Luxemburg (Margarethe von Trotta, 1986) featuring Barbara Sukowa.

Rosa Luxemburg received the German Film Award (Bundesfilmpreis) as best feature film. In 1986 Olbrychski received the French L'Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honor).

In Italy, he made the drama Mosca addio/Farewell Moscow (Mauro Bolognini, 1987) based on the life of Russian Jew Ida Nudel. For this film Liv Ullmann was awarded with a David di Donatello for Best Actress.

He then had his American debut in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Philip Kaufman, 1988), the successful film adaptation of the novel by Milan Kundera starring Daniel Day Lewis.

He also appeared in the third of the ten episodes in Krzysztof Kieślowski's classic Polish TV series Dekalog/The Decalogue (1988).

His films during the 1990s were less prominent. He had a part in the Polish historical drama Ogniem i Mieczem/With Fire and Sword (Jerzy Hoffman, 1999) based on a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz and starring ‘Bond girl’ Izabella Scorupco. At the time of its filming it was the most expensive Polish film ever made.

Olbrychski and Wajda reunited for Pan Tadeusz/Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray in Lithuania (Andrzej Wajda, 1999), based on the epic poem by Polish poet, writer and philosopher Adam Mickiewicz, and for the comedy Zemsta/The Revenge (Andrzej Wajda, 2002), an adaptation of a popular stage farce of Aleksander Fredro with director Roman Polanski in the lead role.

In 2007 Olbrychski received the Stanislavsky Award at the 29th Moscow International Film Festival for the outstanding achievement in the career of acting and devotion to the principles of Stanislavsky's school. Remarkable was his part as the sinister Russian defector who accuses Angelina Jolie to be a Russian spy in the American action thriller Salt (Philip Noyce, 2010).

Since then he appeared in the German film Wintertochter (Johannes Schmid, 2011), the Polish historical film Bitwa warszawska 1920/Battle of Warsaw 1920 (Jerzy Hoffman, 2011) and in the Russian production Legenda No. 17/ Legend No. 17 (Nikolay Lebedev, 2013), a biopic of Russian ice hockey legend Valeri Kharlamov (played by Danila Kozlovsky).

Daniel Olbrychski married three times. His first wife was Monika Dzienisiewicz-Olbrychska (1967-1977), with whom he has a son, actor Rafał Olbrychski (1971). His second wife was Zuzanna Lapicka (1978-1988) with whom he has a daughter Weronika (1982). Since 2003 he is married to Krystyna Demska. He is also the father of Viktor Sukowa, from a relationship with German actress Barbara Sukowa. In the mid-1970s he had a 3-year relationship with singer Maryla Rodowicz.


Trailer Krajobraz po bitwie/Landscape After the Battle (1970). Source: Movie Trailers (YouTube).


Trailer Salt (2010). Source: eLearnable123 (YouTube).

Sources: Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Film Polski (Polish), Wikipedia (English and Polish) and IMDb.

1 comment:

luvlinens said...

Interesting Cards and subjects.