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The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (1938)

Detstvo Gorkogo (original title)
A drama reveals the great writer's inauspicious early years as an orphan raised by conniving relatives.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Aleksei Lyarsky ...
Varvara Massalitinova ...
Mikhail Troyanovsky ...
Vasili Vasilyevich Kashirin, grandfather
Elizaveta Alekseeva ...
Varvara Kashirina Peshkova, mother (as E. Alekseeva)
Vyacheslav Novikov ...
Uncle Yakov Kashirin (as V. Novikov)
Aleksandr Zhukov ...
Mikhail Kashirin, an uncle
K. Zubkov ...
Old Grigori
Daniil Sagal ...
Ivan, aka 'Gypsy'
Sergey Tikhonravov ...
The Lodger (as S. Tikhonravov)
Igor Smirnov ...
Alexei, aka 'Lenka' or 'Lex', a crippled boy
E. Mamaev ...
Sacha Kashirin, nephew
V. Korochentchikov ...
Mikhail's son, also named Sacha
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Storyline

This haunting, unforgettable film, based upon Maxim Gorky's 1913 autobiography, shows a twelve-year-old's journey in life against the tumultuous backdrop of 19th century Russia. With tableaux beautifully vivid and forceful, it recounts the touching relationships which develop when Gorky is put into custody at his grandparents' home. His grandmother, a simple woman who knows how to make people laugh, represents optimism in the direst situations, honesty in a world of deceit. Gorky's poverty-stricken childhood formed his life-long compassion for the underdog, and the film is filled with powerful portraits of lower class people whose qualities of integrity and dignity shine through their hopeless circumstances. Among many others are the half-blind Grigory, who works at the grandfather's dye factory, and Gorky's little orphaned friends, who live out of garbage cans, dreaming of a utopian neverland. From these portraits come an inspiring, panoramic view of human conditions and conflicts. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Release Date:

27 September 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

My Childhood  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in The Final Cut: Episode #1.3 (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A heartbreakingly honest film.
25 March 2008 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

When Dwight Macdonald (a brilliant, iconoclastic film critic for decades, for Esquire, Paris Review, the New Yorker, and other magazines) taught a film course at the University of Wisconsin in the '70s, this was one of only about 15 films in his course. (Others included Rules of the Game, Children of Paradise, Keaton's Cops, and Seven Samurai, to give you an idea of the range and level of films he chose.) This film has stayed with me-- in a way, it has haunted me-- for thirty years, since I first saw it back then. I only recently rented it from Netflix and discovered, all over again, the mature and sophisticated style of early Russian filmmakers, and the power they could generate, particularly with material as touching and honest as Gorky's autobiography. Even minor characters, like the crippled boy who keeps insects as pets (metaphor alert--this movie is about serfs), dreaming he can some day set them free in the fields around the Volga, are utterly believable. It really is a must for every serious film-goer.


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