Video: Lyubov Orlova and Grigory Alexandrov in and behind the scenes: What was hidden behind the facade of an ideal marriage
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
January 23 marks the 116th anniversary of the birth of the famous Soviet film director, screenwriter, actor, People's Artist of the USSR Grigory Alexandrov. His films "Funny Guys", "Circus", "Volga-Volga", "Spring" became classics of Soviet cinema, thanks to him the star of Lyubov Orlova, who was his wife and muse all his life, lit up. They were called the perfect couple, although was it really so?
Grigory Aleksandrov shot his first film as a director in 1933. It was the musical comedy "Merry Fellows". There were no problems with the main character - the director initially knew that Leonid Utesov would play him. But the heroine could not be found for a long time. His assistant invited Lyubov Orlova to audition. Alexandrov at the first meeting did not even pay attention to her, but she remembered this moment forever: "". He was 30 years old, she was 31. Both at that time had already been married and divorced.
Someone advised the director to visit the musical theater at the Moscow Art Theater, and the actress, whom he did not pay attention to at the screenings, amazed him on the stage of the theater - at that time Orlova was shining in the play "Pericola". On the same evening they met, and Aleksandrov decided on the choice of the main character of "Merry Children". True, his choice was not clear to everyone - the 30-year-old actress was to play an 18-year-old heroine. They say, seeing her, Utesov asked: "" And the director reduced the number of episodes with Utesov and changed the script in favor of the actress. Since then, Orlov and Utesov disliked each other. During the filming of the film, her romance with Aleksandrov began, and after the end of work they got married. Many believed that for Orlova it was a marriage of convenience - she understood that the director would make her a star.
As a director, Alexandrov surrounded Orlova with incredible attention - he put her every gesture, every turn of the head, determined the points from which the cameras should not approach her - so that she would appear in the frame from the most favorable angles. Many reproached him for this. Sergei Eisenstein did not take seriously the work of his student Aleksandrov for a long time, and after filming Circus he christened the three creators - director Aleksandrov, composer Dunaevsky and poet Lebedev-Kumach - “Orlov trotters”. In all her husband's films, she really not only played the main roles, but also sang and danced.
In 1947, at the Venice Film Festival, Lyubov Orlova received the award for Best Actress in the film Spring. In those days, it was very rare. Orlova and Aleksandrova were called the only Soviet married couple who could freely travel abroad - obviously, the leadership relied on the fact that it was they who could improve the country's image abroad. Orlova spoke fluent French and German, knew how to behave at social events and official receptions and was in no way inferior to foreign film stars.
Lyubov Orlova and Grigory Alexandrov were the most famous pair of Soviet cinema in the 1930s-1940s. They always attracted attention, they were jealous, their success annoyed, which gave rise to a lot of gossip. It was said that the director allowed himself novels "on the side", although these rumors were not confirmed. He was credited with romances even with Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, when he was abroad even before meeting his wife. It was also said that the director "sculpted" from the brunette Orlova a dazzling blonde in the image of Marlene Dietrich, who was his ideal.
But most biographers are sure: the only triangle in their life was far from a love triangle - Orlova became Stalin's favorite actress, and Aleksandrov did not enjoy his favor, although he patronized his work. There was a legend, obviously, with real grounds: once Stalin, as if jokingly, told Aleksandrov that if he offends Orlova and even a hair falls from her head, the offender will be shot. In mid-1952, the director's son from his first marriage, Douglas (named after the famous American actor Douglas Fairbanks), was arrested. But in 1953, Stalin died, and soon after, Douglas was released.
When her relative once asked Orlova why she almost never starred with other directors, the actress replied: "" She kept all his notes all her life, even such as "I will be at 6". Each New Year they celebrated together at a dacha in Vnukovo - this has become a long-term tradition.
Many wondered why this beautiful and strong couple did not have children. Alexandrov explained this by the fact that at first the wife did not want, and then she could not. Orlova joked that she already had a son - this is her Grishechka. Many were amazed that the spouses slept in different bedrooms, called each other on "you", that Orlova appeared in front of her husband only "in full dress", with hair and makeup. This gave rise to rumors that their marriage was fictitious, although in reality this was not the case.
Of course, many doubted that their marriage was as exemplary as it looked from the outside. There were also those who argued that both were simply beneficial to this union in their careers. She was accused of being Stalin's mistress, he was suspected of being gay - what kind of speculation did this alliance generate! But they helped each other overcome all difficult periods in life - for example, in the late 1930s. Lyubov Orlova began to abuse alcohol, but Aleksandrov managed to save her from this addiction - he threatened her with the end of her film career.
In the mid-1950s. another difficult period began in the life of the couple. Both were already in their 50s, both of them left their times of incredible popularity behind. Orlova performed on the stage of the Mossovet Theater, Alexandrov led the association at Mosfilm and taught at VGIK. His new works were far from the success of the films "Funny Guys", "Circus", "The Bright Path", "Spring" and "Volga-Volga". Age took its toll, and gradually Orlova's roles in the theater began to be given to young actresses. Her last attempt to remind the viewer of herself was Alexandrov's film "Starling and Lyra", which evil tongues immediately renamed into "Sclerosis and menopause" - 70-year-old Orlova played a 25-year-old heroine in it, which even with her excellent external data looked comical … As a result, the film was not released on screens, which completely crippled the actress. But during this period they supported each other.
In early 1975, Lyubov Orlova died - she had pancreatic cancer. Her husband survived her by almost 9 years. Together they spent 42 years - maybe their marriage was not perfect, but it is unlikely that the fictitious union would have lasted that long. Some time after the departure of the actress, Aleksandrov's son Douglas died, and soon everyone was shocked by the news that Aleksandrov had married his widow Galina. But in fact, she became a nurse and au pair for him, and the director made sure that he had a legitimate heir.
Many interesting moments remain behind the scenes of the film "Circus" - it is amazing how much Lyubov Orlova was devoted to her profession.
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