EntertainmentFrom a Komsomol volunteer to a Voroshilov sniper: the...

From a Komsomol volunteer to a Voroshilov sniper: the best roles of Mikhail Ulyanov


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In 1946, Mikhail Ulyanov came to Moscow from Siberia to enter the studio of Alexei Dik (an actor and director of the Moscow Art Theater, the Bolshoi Theater and other major theaters), which he heard about in his small homeland. When he heard that the studio was closed before the war, and the young man was rejected from Sliver and the Moscow Art Theater School, he thought that everything was lost. But still, Ulyanov was lucky, he was accepted into the Vakhtangov Theater at the Shchukin School – and who knew that 50 years later the actor would become its artistic director. During his career, Mikhail Ulyanov played Caesar, Napoleon, Stalin and several times Lenin. He succeeded in the role of generals and traitors, intellectuals and people, heroes of Dostoevsky and Bulgakov. As critics say, he had an amazing ability to elevate earthly characters to the height of true art. On the birthday of the People’s Artist of the USSR, we recall his most iconic films.

Egor Trubnikov

The main character of Alexei Saltykov’s film “The Chair” (1964) is Yegor Trubnikov, a front-line soldier who returns to his native village empty-handed after the war, where he sees complete destruction, drunkenness and poverty. He considers it his duty to restore the economy and return his compatriots to a normal life, therefore he becomes the chairman of the collective farm. His methods are radical and decisive, he is still driven by the inflexibility of the front line, which makes his fellow villagers and the district committee wary and even belligerent towards Trubnikov.

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When Ulyanov was offered to play in the “film about the collective farm”, he was not thrilled, but after reading the script of Yuri Nagibin, he could not sleep all night, in the morning he called Mosfilm himself and agreed to the audition. Later, he repeatedly admitted that the role of chairman was one of his favorites. “It seems to me that it is precisely in his quarrels, perhaps even in the flaws of his character, that he finally believes in the truth that he declares. Believe in goodness, justice. Because Trubnikov lives so hard by the name. About justice,” said the actor. For his work on the character, Ulyanov was awarded the Lenin Prize, and the readers of Soviet Screen magazine named him the best actor of the year.

Georgy Zhukov

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The role of Georgy Zhukov is called the main one in the work of Mikhail Ulyanov – the actor played the famous commander in almost 20 films, several more times on stage. Ulyanov-Zhukov made his debut in Yuri Ozerov’s film “Liberation” (1968-1972). Moreover, Marshall himself decided who would embody his image on the screen: he watched the drama “The Chairman”, appreciated Ulyanov’s strong temperament, his masculinity in the frame. The make-up artists worked diligently on the appearance.

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Ulyanov considered Mikhail Ershov’s painting Blockade (1973-1977) to be his most successful work depicting Zhukov. In it, he was able to show the versatility of his hero, to convey his determination, steel calm, will. At the same time, Ulyanov wrote self-critically in his memoirs:

In total, Mikhail Ulyanov starred as a marshal for 37 years – the last was Yuri Kara’s TV series Star of the Age (2005). It is interesting that the actor and the commander never managed to meet in person.

Nikolai Kaitanov

Director Yuri Egorov brought theater actor Mikhail Ulyanov to the cinema. The role in his film “Volunteers” (1958) is one of the first in Ulyanov’s filmography. The actor played Komsomol member Nikolai Kaitanov, who volunteers with his friends to build the first line of the Moscow Metro. The boys quickly become drummers, fall in love, get married, but life has its own plans for them. The film begins in the 1930s and ends in the 1950s. Ulyanov managed to embody the image not only of a Soviet man devoted to the country, but also of a whole generation who, despite the war, hard work, trials and losses, kept love and found reasons for joy.

Sergey Aprikosov

In Yuli Raisman’s film “Private Life” (1982), Mikhail Ulyanov played Sergei Aprikosov, the director of a large enterprise, who is always at work with his thoughts and even sleeps at home not in his bedroom, but in his office. Abrikosov is suddenly sent to retirement, and he is forced to retrain in an ordinary home by an enthusiastic boss.

“He was unemployed and suddenly saw that life was not going as he had imagined when he was at the helm,” said Mikhail Ulyanov about his hero. Sergei realizes that he knows nothing about his family, the house seems to him like another planet that he has to master. Mikhail Ulyanov was able to brilliantly create the image of a person who underwent a serious restructuring of the entire inner world. For this role, he received the USSR State Prize, a special prize at the Venice Film Festival, and the film “Private Life” was nominated for an Oscar.

Dimitri Karamazov

The actor asked himself the role in Ivan Pirev’s film “The Brothers Karamazov” (1968) – for the first time in his life. At first, the director was embarrassed by the “redness” of Ulyanov’s role, but soon Mikhail was approved. The actress did not deviate from Dostoevsky’s novel, but the more she wanted to look like Mitenka, the worse the filming went.

Dmitri Karamazov, portrayed by Mikhail Ulyanov, is considered one of the most successful film incarnations of the hero. His Mitya is benevolent, loving, passionate, but driven to despair, disappointed in people. In the story, Dimitri is accused of murder, although he did not commit it. Ulyanov managed to create an image of a person who is painfully searching for the truth and is on the verge of madness because no one believes him. “Essentially, the whole flow of the role is a continuous, bewildering desire to understand one theme: Why do people live so badly, so dirty? Why do people hate each other so much?” – said the actor.

Ivan Afonin

In Stanislav Govorukhin’s provocative film “The Voroshilovsky Rifleman” (1999), Ulyanov embodied the image of a desperate man. His hero Ivan Fedorovich Afonin is a war veteran, has lived a long time, seen a lot and adheres to high moral principles. Anger, a sense of revenge and a thirst for justice erupt in him when his granddaughter Katya – the one on whom he invested all his love and care – is raped by bandits. After an unsuccessful attempt to legally punish them, Ivan Fedorovich takes up the weapon himself.

The tape is called Voroshilovsky Shooter, an ode to the 90s. This is a hard-hitting film about how violence begets violence, a story of lawlessness against the “little people” and their response to big power. For the role of the national avenger, Mikhail Ulyanov received several awards, including the Nika Prize and the Kinotavr Prize.

Pontius Pilate

Yuri Kara took on the film adaptation of The Master and Margarita (2011) much earlier than Vladimir Bortko, but the release of the picture was constantly delayed. 17 years passed from the time of filming to the premiere – Mikhail Ulyanov, unfortunately, did not live up to it, and the film itself was in the shadow of the famous series that came out earlier.

Pontius Pilate, played by Ulyanov, is a furious, cruel, wise ruler. He is used to relying only on his own experience, so he listens to the sermons of the wandering philosopher Ga-Notsri with a smile. The actor also managed to convey the tragedy of the figure of Pilate – in his intonations and facial expressions, fatigue, disappointment in people, loss of faith and, most importantly, hatred can be read. “The theme of Pontius Pilate is of all time: the eternal theme of betrayal, which he did not expect from himself … he does not feel betrayed. <...> “Pilate’s head hurts not only from physical vulnerability, but also from all these human vulgarities and harmful trifles,” Ulyanov said about his hero.

Daria Shatalova

The material includes books: Ulyanov M. I work as an actor. – M.: Art, 1987; Ulyanov M. returns to itself. – M.: Center Polygraph, 1996; Ulyanov M. Reality and dream. — M.: Center Polygraph, 2018.

Source: rambler

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My Name is Lisa and I am a news writer at 24 Happenings. I have worked in the industry for over 2 years and have written for many different publications. My experience includes writing about business, technology, health, crime and more. I am excited to work on some of the most interesting stories in the industry.


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