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24 November 2014

Vladimir Gajdarov

Ukrainian actor Vladimir Gajdarov (1893-1976) (on Germany known as Wladimir Gaidarow) began his film career in Russia before the October Revolution. Later he became a popular star of the German and French silent cinema. Sound film made his return to his home country, but in the Soviet Union he had a hard time getting work.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 977/1, 1925-1926. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1412/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3401/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Hanni Schwarz, Berlin.

Stanislavski


Vladimir Georgiyevich Gajdarov was born in Poltava, Russian Empire (now Ukraine), in 1893. He supposedly was the son of a noble family.

He studied history, philosophy and German language before he became a pupil of the famous stage director Konstantin Stanislavski. Soon he became a very popular actor on the Russian stage.

He began his film career in Russia before the October Revolution. His first appearance was opposite his wife-to-be, the famous Stanislavki actress Olga Gzovskaya, in Yeyo zhertva/Her Sacrifice (Cheslav Sabinsky, 1917) based on a play by Henrik Ibsen.

Next he played with Ivan Mozzhukhin in Ne nado krovi/Blood Need Not Be Spilled (Yakov Protazanov, Alexandre Volkoff, 1917). The two actors were also featured in Otyets Sergei/Father Sergei (Yakov Protazanov, Alexandre Volkoff, 1917-1918), based on a Leo Tolstoy story. This popular film tells the tale of an officer who becomes a monk after hearing of his fiancée's affair with the Tsar.

Another film was Iola (1920) by animation filmmaker Wladyslaw Starewicz. In 1920 Gajdarov and Olga Gzovskaya left Russia. They eventually arrived in Turkey, and in Constantinople he directed two films to raise money to aid the many stranded Russian refugees who had fled the Bolsheviks.

Vladimir Gajdarov
Latvian (?) postcard by KLTD.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 883/1, 1925-1926.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 893/4, 1925-1926. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

Vladimir Gajdarov and Olga Gzovskaya
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 937/2, 1925-1926. Vladimir Gajdarov and Olga Gzovskaya in Schuld und Sühne, an adaptation of Dostojevski's Crime and Punishment (Raskolnikov). Unclear which film this is, as a 1922/1923 German version, called Raskolnikow (directed by Robert Wiene), starred Grigori Chmara and not Gajdarov.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 977/2, 1925-1926. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Vladimir Gajdarov
French postcard by Europe no. 291. Photo: Cinéromans Films de France.

Haunted, pale face


In the following years Vladimir Gajdarov worked in various European countries. Especially in Germany he found rewarding roles in films.

With his haunted, pale face he acted in Der brennende Acker/The Burning Earth (F.W. Murnau, 1922) opposite Lya de Putti, and in Die Gezeichneten/Love One Another (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1922).

Other popular German films were the Alexandre Dumas père adaptation Der Mann mit der eisernen Maske/The Man in the Iron Mask (Max Glass, 1923) starring Albert Bassermann, the serial Tragödie der Liebe/The Tragedy of Love (Joe May, 1923) with Marlene Dietrich, and in Manon Lescaut (Arthur Robison, 1926), again opposite Lya de Putti.

In France he appeared as Vladimir Gaidaroff in Le roman d'un jeune homme pauvre/The Novel of a Poor Young Man (Gaston Ravel, 1926) with Maly Delschaft, and in La Madone des sleepings/Madonna of the Sleeping Cars (Marco de Gastyne, Maurice Gleize, 1927).

He starred as an exotic lady-killer in Die Weisse Sklavin/The White Slave (Augusto Genina, 1927) opposite Liane Haid, and in Frauenraub in Marokko (Gennaro Righelli, 1928) with Dolly Davis.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1412/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 1412/4, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard. Ross Verlag, no. 1602/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Schneider, Berlin.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1602/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Schneider, Berlin.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1673/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1675/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Siberia


When the sound film arrived Vladimir Gajdarov's possibilities on the international film scene were seriously reduced. In 1930 he took on the position of film director and producer and made Kire lained/Wells of Passion (1930) with Ita Rina, but soon he had to return to acting again.

He appeared in a few German productions like Nachtkolonne/Night Convoy (James Bauer, 1931), and Luise, Königin von Preussen/Luise, Queen of Prussia (Carl Froelich, 1931), starring Henny Porten.

In 1932 he and Olga Gzovskaya returned to the Soviet Union. As former émigrés, they were unable to find employment until 1937.

During the Stalinist repression, with hundreds of people arrested every day, Gzovskaya wrote to Stanislavski twice, begging for his help. Stanislavski responded with a letter, which helped them both to find professional work in theatres in Leningrad.

Later Gajdarov appeared in the propaganda film Stalingradskaya bitva/The Battle of Stalingrad (Vladimir Petrov, 1949-1950), Geroite na Shipka/Heroes of Shipka (Sergei Vasilyev, 1954), and the Norwegian-Russian coproduction Bare et liv/The History of Fridtjof Nansen (Sergei Mikalyen, 1968).

Vladimir Gajdarov published his memoirs in 1966. He died in Poltava, Siberia in 1976.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross, Berlin, no. 1978/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross, Berlin, no. 1974/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Atelier Hanni Schwarz, Berlin.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag no. 3619/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Kipho Production.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3830/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Hanni Schwarz, Berlin.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 4155/1, 1929-1930. Photo: FPS.

Vladimir Gajdarov
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 4448/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Tonka, Zagreb.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Silents are Golden, The Silent Cinema Reader, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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