The Soviet Film Industry

By Paul Babitsky; John Rimberg | Go to book overview
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APPENDIX III
Some Soviet Directors

The following roster is by no means a comprehensive biographical dictionary of Soviet directors. Its purpose is to define the position of some individual directors in the film industry as a whole and to indicate the immediate cause-and- effect relationship between political orthodoxy and the position attained. Soviet films are closely identified with their directors--a general European tendency reinforced in the U.S.S.R. by the policy of holding the director accountable for the ideological content--and with the release of each new film the director's license to practice his profession is at stake.

Aleksandrov, Grigori V. ( 1903- ). Aleksandrov reached independent status and renown after long service with a greater director. He first met Eisenstein at the Proletkul't Theater in Moscow in 1922. Aleksandrov had worked around theaters since the age of nine and served as a film censor before he was twenty.1 He became Eisenstein's assistant director in the silent films Strike ( 1925), Battleship "Potyomkin" ( 1925), October ( 1927), and Old and New ( 1929). When Eisenstein left the Soviet Union in 1929, Aleksandrov accompanied him.

In Paris Aleksandrov had completed a little film called Romance Sentimentale in which Eisenstein had no interest.2 On their return to the Soviet Union in 1932 Aleksandrov agreed to film a musical comedy called Jolly Fellows after Eisenstein had refused it.3 In this genre Aleksandrov found his own forte and began his career as an independent director. He completed Jolly Fellows, also known as Jazz Comedy, in 1934 and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, which carried more prestige than the award given to Eisenstein. Then Aleksandrov directed the musical comedies Circus ( 1936) and Volga-Volga ( 1938).

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