Soviet Art

USSR Culture

1936 Soviet film Circus

1936 Soviet film Circus

80 years to the legendary 1936 Soviet film Circus

1936 Soviet film Circus
Right 80 years ago, May 25, 1936 on the first show in the Green Theater of Gorky Park in Moscow have gathered more than 20 thousand people. The administration was forced to use Moscow mounted police to keep order – all who wanted to watch the comedy film could not fit an open area for the audience. To say that the film enjoyed a huge, well-deserved success with the audience – to say nothing. The film was adored by many generations of Soviet people. Music from the film, created by outstanding composer Isaac Dunaevsky is known to every Russian, and the role of Mary is one of the best film works of great Diva of Soviet Hollywood – Lyubov Orlova. In 1937 the film was awarded the Grand Prix in Paris at an international exhibition, and in 1941 – the Stalin Prize.

Soviet film of 1936 'Circus'

Soviet film of 1936 ‘Circus’

Film director Grigory Alexandrov (by the way, the student and co-director of Sergei Eisenstein and a few of his works, including “Battleship Potemkin”), saw the comedy “Under the Circus Dome” at the Moscow Music Hall, found the authors of the play – writers Ilf and Petrov, and invited them to make a movie. Writers enthusiastically set to work, and even starred in a tiny episode.

Soviet film of 1936 'Circus'

Soviet film of 1936 ‘Circus’

They were joined by the elder brother of Petrov – Valentin Kataev. Three great author wrote an outstanding script, but, to failed to complete the end – quarreled with director Aleksandrov and gone, prohibiting even mention their names in the credits. Alexandrov invited no less strong playwright – Isaac Babel and finished the script.

Soviet actor Sergey Stolyarov

Soviet actor Sergey Stolyarov

The play premiered on 23 December 1934 in a Moscow theater Music Hall. The plot of the play was used by director G. Alexandrov in his movie “Circus”. During the filming Ilf and Petrov were in America. Writers returned home only in late February 1936. In May 1936, the film was released, without mentioning the name of the writers.

Sergei Stolyarov as Ivan Petrovich Martynov, Soviet performance director

Sergei Stolyarov as Ivan Petrovich Martynov, Soviet performance director

After sounded in the film song “Wide is My Native land,” there was talk about how to make it a hymn. This is the most solemn and well-known song about the country, composed by Isaac Dunaevsky on poems of Vasily Lebedev-Kumach. It had been created for six months, in the course of work were written masterpieces not included in the film, such as: “Come on, sing me a song, the cheerful wind”, later used in the film “Children of Captain Grant”. Total proposed and rejected by artists Aleksandrov – 36 options, while not born genius “Song of the Motherland”.

Sergei Stolyarov as Ivan Petrovich Martynov, Soviet performance director and Lyubov Orlova as Marion Dixon, American actress and circus artist

Sergei Stolyarov as Ivan Petrovich Martynov, Soviet performance director and Lyubov Orlova as Marion Dixon, American actress and circus artist

The film tells the story of an American woman who escapes from racism in the United States after giving birth to a black-skinned child. She comes to the USSR in the team of circus artists, and soon falls in love with a handsome performance director Ivan Martynov. Gradually, her love for Martynov blossoms into a love for the Soviet country, and the newly found freedoms of Soviet society. The melody and chorus of the song appear throughout the film, and the song gained immediate popularity. The song was translated into several languages, including German and Hungarian. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the song remains a popular patriotic tune in the Russia.

1936 Soviet film Circus

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