Nov 222010


When I saw this young guy with the chipmunk jowls (the shorter of the two bridegrooms) I was sure I had finally found a film where Oleg Tabakov plays a sympathetic character. The film is “Из Ада в Ад” (“From hell into hell” or “From one hell into another”).  There is hardly any English-language information about it on the web, but  it seems it was made too recently (1996?) for Tabakov to be that young.   Besides, it’s not him.   It might be Mark Goronok, if my picture-matching at is any good.

May 012010


While watching Meri Poppins, do svidaniya, Myra commented that Miss Andrew looked like she was played by a man. I hadn’t noticed that. But it turns out that she was — by Oleg Tabakov, who we’ve also seen in several other movies. As in Mary Poppins, he often plays an obnoxious character.

In a post a few months ago about his role in Unfinished Piece for Player Piano, I had wondered if he ever played a sympathetic character. I still don’t know. We’ve seen him in Moskva slezam ne verit, Neskolko dney iz zhizni I.I. Oblomova, and Semnadtsat mgnoveniy vesny. But those are just a few of his many roles. So maybe we’ll find one yet where he played a nice guy.

Dec 182009


I’ve seen discussions on other topics that go like this one in Neokonchennaya pyesa:

Shcherbuk: All the best that humanity possesses, it owes to the representatives of the blue blood. … Where are the representatives of our high-class aristocracy? Where are the Pushkins, the Lermontovs, the Gogols, Goncharovs, Turgenevs?

Platanov: Gonchorov was a merchant.

Shcherbuk: Yes, that’s right. What?

Platanov: Gonchorov was a merchant.

Shcherbuk: Exceptions only prove the rule. So there, young man. Besides, it’s a debatable issue whether your Goncharov was a genius.

(I’m not sure these subtitles are a good translation, but I noticed one throwaway phrase that wasn’t translated, so I added it.)

I had never heard of this Goncharov, so I looked him up. Wikipedia says that author Ivan Goncharov’s father was a wealthy grain merchant. Ivan Goncharov himself was a writer and government worker. His most famous novel was Oblomov.

Well, I’ve heard of that one because I’ve seen the movie version, done by the same Nikita Mikhalkov who did this movie, a couple of years after this one. And in the movie Oblomov, the main character is played by the same Oleg Tabakov whose character is pontificating here in Unfinished Piece for Player Piano.

I’ve seen him in other movies, too, usually playing some obnoxious character, though usually it’s a more subtle, nuanced one than Shcherbuk. I wonder if he ever had a role playing a sympathetic character.

(I wish I could find Russian subtitles for this movie.)