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 Igor Maslennikov


Born:   20 October 1931

Film director

      

Film director Igor Maslennikov is renowned as the author of one of the best screen versions of Sherlock Holmes stories. His popularity was also supported by success of the drama Winter Cherries. However, the director’s filmography numbers almost thirty serious and profound works in various genres.

Igor Fyodorovich Maslennikov was born on 20 October 1931 in Gorky, Soviet Union (now Nizhny Novgorod, Russia). In 1954 he graduated from the Journalist Department of the Leningrad University and worked as an editor, script writer, and cameraman for the Leningrad television. In 1965 he entered the Higher Directors’ Courses at Lenfilm Studio and upon graduation found himself one of the studio directors.

Igor Maslennikov debuted as a film director with the feature about the senior pupils Lichnaya zhizn Kuzyaeva Valentina (Private Life of Kuzyayev Valentin) in 1968. From them on he worked in a variety of genres, making children’s films like Zavtra, tretyego aprelya... (Tomorrow, on April 3rd...) (1969), sport features like Gonshchiki (Racers) (1972), historical pictures like Yaroslavna, koroleva Frantsii (Yaroslavna, Queen of France) (1978), etc. In 1974 he directed the Soviet and Norwegian drama Pod kamennym nebom (Under a Stone Sky) with the plotline based on events that had taken place in a Norwegian town during the Nazi occupation. In 1976 he screened Sentimentalnyy roman (Sentimental Romance) by writer Vera Panova.

 


 
The Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson TV-series first broadcast over the central television in the late 1970s-1980s came to be the director’s merited triumph. Having thoroughly cast very apt actors for both leading and supporting parts (Vasili Livanov, Vitali Solomin, Rina Zelyonaya, Borislav Brondukov, and others) and paid great attention to the verisimilitude of historical and everyday details, the film-director imprinted his fascinating interpretation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous characters and plotlines in the minds of multimillion audiences for many years to come.

< In 1985 Maslennikov directed melodrama Zimnyaya vishnya (Winter Cherries) (written by Vladimir Valutsky) that turned to be among the major hits of the decade. Without deviating from the unpretentious plotline of general drama, the film treated the viewer with an intriguing and spiritual image of a “misunderstood” woman (played by Yelena Safonova). The film and its heroine became so popular that five years later Maslennikov directed its sequel, then followed with Winter Cherries-3 (1995), as well as the same-name TV-series (1997).

 


 
In 1989 he came up with the stirring adventure picture Philipp Traum based on Mark Twain’s thought-provoking story The Mysterious Stranger (TVversion titled Khronika Satany mladshego (Chronicles of Satan Jr.)). Here again the director revealed his having an eye for proper actors who never better fitted into their roles and thus created extremely vivid characters.

Maslennikov’s next remarkable work was again the screening of a book story, namely Tma (The Darkness) (1991) starring Oleg Yankovsky and Kseniya Kachalina.

The year 2000 saw the release of the 10 series of Chto skazal pokoynik (What Has the Deceased Said) (2000) after the popular Polish writer Ioanna Khmelevskaya, and start of the filming of Vospominaniya o Sherloke Kholmse (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes), which united all the five famous Sherlock Holmes films with a single plotline.

 


 
In 2002 Maslennikov opened his film direction workshop in VGIK (All-Russian Institute for Cinematography) and released his award-winning Pisma k Elze (Letters to Elsa).

The year 2003 was given to filming the children’s comedy Timur and his Commandos (written by Vladimir Vardunas), which was a success at a number of children’s film festivals.

Then came another screening of a classic: it was Russkie Dengi (Russian Money) (2005) after A. Ostrovsky’s comedy The Wolves and the Sheep.

By his 75th anniversary in 2006 Igor Maslennikov finished his book of memoirs under the title “The Baker Street in Petrogradskaya”.

Funnily enough, Igor Maslennikov extolled as the author of the world-best Sherlock Holmes has no right for those films today and even does not know who their present owner is, since (as cited from his interview) “Lenfilm has sold its entire collection and the string of resales has been lost to view”.

Sources:
 krugosvet.ru
 221b.ru
 rg.ru
 seance.ru
 


Tags: Russian cinema Russian directors    




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