The modest stars of Soviet cinema: Alisa Freindlikh and Evgeny Steblov
Beloved by many, an actress with an outlandish German surname is a real Petersburger. She was born in the center of the northern capital, in a house overlooking St. Isaac’s Cathedral, near the monument to the Bronze Horseman. “The charm of my city from childhood entered the soul and bewitched for the rest of my life …”
Intelligent acting fate linked Alice Freindlich primarily with the theatrical stage. She played in the Komissarzhevskaya Theater and the Lensovet Theater. She has gone from the role of travesty to serious dramatic roles. In her repertoire, and the role of the Kid in the children’s play “Toddler and Carlson”, and – the dream of any actress – the young Juliet, whom Freindlich played at the age of 30.
To reach dramatic roles, she had to defeat her image and institutional characterization. The fact is that after graduating from the Ostrovsky Theater Institute in a diploma they wrote about her: “can play striking roles, children and old women.”
She really played the old woman often, since school. She was Feklusha in “The Storm”, Tatyana the cowgirl in “Autumn Boredom” and many others. But her most famous “old woman” is not an old woman at all. Lyudmila Prokofievna: a beautiful woman and “mumra” – a weakly reminiscent of a woman senior employee in one person. Her role in Office Romance is the most amazing reincarnation in Soviet cinema. The actress became interested in the role precisely because of this metamorphosis of the heroine.
The role of Lyudmila Prokofievna opened Alisa Freindlich’s talent for cinema: before that, she had no noticeable roles in the movie. And for many spectators, Freindlich, together with Akhedzhakova, revealed an important secret: “what makes a woman a woman.” After the release of the film, the actress received letters from many women who sewed themselves the same dress as Lyudmila Prokofievna’s, did the same hairstyle, and in general “put themselves in order.”
The very next year after the release of the Office Romance, Freindlich played another amazing and beautiful woman – Queen of France Anna, a beauty and a real Spanish woman. By the way, all the songs of Queen Anne in the movie about the musketeers were sung by Freindlich herself.
Well, how then could you imagine the actress as an old woman or a child? But Freundlich’s talent is capable of destroying any role and stereotypes. In 2004, in the year of her 70th birthday, she played the 87-year-old heroine in the film On Verkhnyaya Maslovka and the 10-year-old boy in the solo performance Oscar and the Pink Lady. Fourteen Letters to God. This is an amazingly sad story about a little boy who is in the hospital. He has cancer, and he has no more than 10 days left to live. One of his carers, the Pink Lady, invites him to play a game, as if for every day he lives 10 years of life. So for 10 days he lives his whole life from childhood to old age, and every day he writes letters to God. Throughout the performance, Alice Freindlich constantly reincarnates – now in the boy, then in his mentor.
The awkward heroes of Evgeny Steblov
Evgeny Steblov is a hereditary nobleman, an intellectual of Moscow sourdough. He grew up in completely different scenery – in a communal apartment near Maryina Roshcha, a famous gangster district. He saw many fights, but the feeble and awkward guy was not drawn into the brawls. It was as if he lived his life separate from reality.
The Steblov family was not associated with the theater. The only father, a radio engineer, when Zhenya was three years old, helped him make a folding screen and taught him how to cut dolls out of cardboard. So the future actor created his first theater – puppet.
Unlike Alice Freindlich, Steblov starred a lot – his filmography includes more than fifty films. In the movie, the actor got from college. And right away – into a cult. He played Sasha Shatalov, an awkward, sincere young man who wants to get married before leaving for the army, but cannot agree with his beloved in the comedy of George Danelia. I walk around Moscow. Probably, such a confused young man, he came to the audition of the film.
The actors who played in this film instantly became the “stars” of Soviet cinema. Steblov was almost immediately invited to play a major role in the film Goodbye, the boys, telling about friendship and first love, about life that the war would soon turn around. Then there was the main role in the film A lesson in literature. The young teacher Kostya is as confused and awkward as many other Steblov’s heroes. He is a man out of place, he does not like his job and, just like his students, already on the first of September he dreams of a vacation. One day he decides to change his life and speak only the truth. Perhaps this is the only Soviet film about a bad Soviet teacher. If you decide to look at it, I will post the whole picture.
But perhaps the most famous role of Steblov is the role of the young spouse Igor, who has no relationship with his mother-in-law in the film For family reasons. The newlyweds live in her apartment, and Igor experiences constant quarrels and claims on her part. And here he is again – essentially unhappy person, crushed by these very “family circumstances”.