Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Childhood of Maxim Gorky|
Actors: Aleksei Lyarsky, Varvara Massalitinova, Mikhail Troyanovsky, Yelizaveta Alekseyeva, Vasili Novikov
Directors: Joseph-Louis Mundwiller, Mark Donskoy
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
The memoirs of the great Russian writer Maxim Gorky come to pungent life in part 1 of a prewar Soviet trilogy (it was followed by My Apprenticeship and My Universities). Director Mark Donskoy creates the endless hardships ... more »
Deeply moving film that doesn't betray its Soviet origins
Michael Gebert | Chicago, IL USA | 08/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even good early Soviet films, like Storm Over Asia, often betray some sign of their propagandistic intentions (and the lesser ones have nothing but such intentions). That's not the case with this deeply moving account of the early childhood of the writer Gorky, which (probably because it was based on a well-loved book) simply captures the joys and sufferings of simple people with scarcely a hint of political intent. (An anarchist turns up toward the end, but only as a sort of harbinger of what would supposedly end the miseries of Tsarist Russia and usher in a new age.) The pictures of the Russian character-- emotional, willful, self-destructive-- are as vivid as anything in Doestoevsky or Tolstoy, and the performances throughout are powerfully affecting-- you are not likely to forget wise Grigori,... the grandfather's King Lear..., or most of all the wonderfully warm and loving grandmother,... The print is in excellent shape, with very good contrast, and the disc includes a short newsreel with scenes of pre-Revolutionary Moscow. This is one of those movies that was often talked about as being one of the best of all time, but then was so little seen for so long that it was easy to think it no longer deserved its reputation. It does, and it's remarkable that we can now have it in such a worthy edition."
A truly great movie
Julius A. Elias | Storrs CT | 12/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first part of a trilogy based on Gorky's autobiography directed by Mark Donskoi. It is totally free of Soviet propaganda, but the commissars moved in on Parts 2 and especially 3, so that there is a significant falling-off in the rest of the trilogy. I confine myself to review of the Childhood. The acting is astonishing for its emotional depth and the human feeling that derives from Gorky's sympathy for the poor and downtrodden. Maxim is 12 at the outset, left by his widowed mother to the care of his grandparents. The grandmother is everybody's grandmother (you should be so lucky!) and the grandfather is a reckless and volatile character who, together with the idiot uncles, reduces the family from fair prosperity to utter poverty. There is a gallery of other characters to add local color and an authentic sentiment that sweeps the viewer away. I've seen this movie many times since its 1938 release; newly released in 2002 we have the benefit of a clearer soundtrack, coherent subtitles; the music is deeply touching. Having been a moviegoer for over 70 years I rank this one among the greatest I have ever seen, in a league with the Eisenstein movies, the Jean Gabin movies of the 30s, and American movies like Of Mice and Men or the Ox-bow Incident. I've just watched the 2002 re-release on DVD and cried all the way through."