04 October 2016

Marianna Vertinskaya

Beautiful Marianna Vertinskaya (1943) is a Russian stage actress, who starred in several good Soviet films of the 1960s and 1970s. She is the sister of film star Anastasiya Vertinskaya.

Marianna Vertinskay
Russian postcard, no. 71-2185. This postcard was printed in an edition of 200.000 cards.

Marianna Vertinskaya
Russian postcard, no. A 06184, 1968. This postcard was printed in an edition of 300.000 cards.

Emotional trauma

Marianna Aleksandrovna Vertinskaya was in 1943, on a train going to Shanghai, China, which was home to a large Russian colony at the time. Her father, Aleksandr Vertinskiy was a legendary White Russian émigré, who was a popular actor, singer and songwriter. Her mother, Lidiya Vertinskaya (née Lidia Vladimirovna Tsirgvava), was also a Russian emigre who was born into a Georgian-Russian family in Kharbin.

Her mother gave her the in Russia unusual name Marianna after the beloved of Robin Hood. Lidiya simply loved the American film The Adventures of Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz, 1938), with Errol Flynn as the legendary robber.

In order to support his family in Shanghai, Aleksandr Vertinskiy had to give two concerts a day during the first years. They decided to return to Moscow, where a second daughter, Anastasiya Vertinskaya, was born in 1944. Marianna and Anastasiya had a happy childhood in Russia. They were brought up in a multi-lingual family where they enjoyed an intellectually stimulating environment, and a highly cultural atmosphere of their parents circle.

Marianna was fond of her father, who invested much of his talent and energy in his daughter's education. Her famous father died when Marianna was 15, and she suffered from an emotional trauma. From 1962 till 1966 she studied acting under Aleksandr Borisov at the Shchukin Theatre School in Moscow.

Since 1966 she has been a member of the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow. Marianna Vertinskaya shone in the title role in the legendary 1963 re-creation of Vakhtangov's production of Carlo Gozzi's comedy Princess Turandot. She also made memorable appearances in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Idiot (The Idiot), in Moliere's Meshchanin vo dvoryansyve (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme), and in other plays at the Vakhtangov Theatre.

Marianna Vertinskaya
Russian postcard, no. A 03053, 1967. This postcard was printed in an edition of 50.000 cards.

Marianna Vertinskaya
Russian postcard, no. A 309. This postcard was printed in an edition of 300.000 cards.

The Russian answer to the Nouvelle Vague

Marianna Vertinskaya made her film debut with a small part in the crime drama Visokosnyy god/ Leap Year (Anatoli Efros, 1962). She played a supporting part in the coming of age drama Mne dvadtsat let/I Am Twenty (Marlen Khutsiev, 1965). The film is now seen as the Russian answer to the Nouvelle Vague in France.

At the time, the film invoked Soviet premier Nikita Khruschev's sharp criticism. At the censor's insistence the film was re-cut. Mne dvadtsat let follows Sergei (Valentin Popov), his two best friends, Nikolai and Slava, and his eventual love interest, Anya (Vertinskaya), and juxtaposes their aspirations against the harsh realities of everyday life in the Soviet Union in 1960.

The following year, Marianna played the female leads in two films. She starred opposite Nikita Mikhalkov and Oleg Strizhenov in the drama Pereklichka/Roll-Call (Daniil Khrabrovitsky, 1966). The second film was the family adventure Gorod masterov/The City of Masters (Vladimir Bychkov, 1966).

Elaine Freeland at IMDb: “Although far removed from Tamara Gabbe's original theater play of the same name, Gorod Masterov is an excellent work in its own right. A good example of the so-called po motivam Soviet adaptation policy which allowed filmmakers unlimited freedom when it came to changing the plot, characters and even the idea of the original story, Gorod Masterov used that freedom only to emphasize the main points of Gabbe's tale. That turned a meticulously researched, beautifully worded historical play inspired by the events of the famous Marseille rebellion into a never-never-landish children's fantasy movie.”

Vertinskaya also co-starred with Oleg Strizhenov in the Sci-Fi comedy Ego zvali Robert/We Called Him Robert (Ilya Olshvanger, 1967), and was one of the brides in the comedy Sem nevest efreytora Zbrueva/The Seven Brides of Lance-Corporal Zbruyev (Vitaliy Melnikov, 1971). She had the leading role in Nave zem buras/Nave under sail (Ada Neretniece, 1976).

Her later films include Dialog s prodolzheniyem/A continued dialogue (Gennadi Karyuk, Aleksandr Lapshin, 1980), Zhenshchina v more/The Woman in the Sea (Vyacheslav Krishtofovich, 1992) and her most recent film, Vlyublyonnye 2/Lovers 2 (Elyer Ishmukhamedov, 2004).

Vertinskaya was designated Honourable Actress of Russia. She has been married three times: to architect Ilya Bylinkin (1967-1973), to actor Boris Khmelnitskiy (1976-1980) and to businessman Zoran Kazimirovic (1983-1996). She has two daughters: presenter Aleksandra Bylinkina (1970) with Ilya Bylinkin, and designer Darya Khmelnitskaya (1978) with Boris Khmelnitskiy. Marianna Vertinskaya lives and works in Moscow, Russia.

Trailer for Ego zvali Robert/We Called Him Robert (1967). Source: Slava Batareykin (YouTube).

Sources: Steve Shelokhonov (IMDb), Elaine Freeland (IMDb), ivi.ru (Russian), AllMovie and IMDb.

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