Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Tatiana Samoilova (1934-2014)

Tatiana Samoilova became an emblem of the Thaw while starring in Mikhail Kalatozov's The Cranes Are Flying (1957) with Aleksei Batalov. She also starred in another magnificent Kalatozov movie, The Letter Never Sent (1959). There have been many major screen versions of Anna Karenina, but the only actress who has fitted Leo Tolstoy's description was Tatiana Samoilova in the Alexander Zarkhi film adaptation (1967): intelligent and sensual in a dark and full-figured way. Vronsky was played by Vasili Lanovoy, an ex-husband of Samoilova! During the Brezhnevian years of stagnation Samoilova had difficulty finding good roles.

Tatiana Samoilova's father Yevgeni Samoilov was an actor, as well. Her mother Zinaida Levin was an engineer from Poland. The family escaped the siege of Leningrad, the young Tatiana studied music and ballet and was even invited by Maya Plisetskaya to study at the Bolshoi Theatre, but more than anything she wanted to act.

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