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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 ...
Elizaveta Alekseeva ...
Vyacheslav Novikov ...
Uncle Yakov Kashirin (as V. Novikov)
Aleksandr Zhukov ...
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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Details

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Release Date:

27 September 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

My Childhood  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
a tough time to come of age
6 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

another viewer commented on the lack of propaganda; that caught my eye, too, because this is a soviet film about czarist Russia. the soviets were surprisingly even-handed on this one. the only overtly political comment i picked up was when the police arrived at the house asking after a former boarder who was known to be against the czar. this does bring up an interesting point though, for the characters in the family are admittedly and obviously guilty of assaults, torture, murder and arson, but the only time the police appear is when seeking the anti-czarist boarder. it would appear that in this time just about anything went and none were responsible for their acts, unless it was failing to feed oneself when the punishment was beggary. very little in the way of human sympathy existed, and when it surfaced it was repaid thrice over with malice. a mean time. but it is beautifully photographed and the acting is wonderful. there isn't that much of a plot, per se, just vignettes of growing up, but that doesn't detract. it is fascinating to see a time like this preserved. i imagine the ussr in 1938 was actually materially very close to the czarist time it represented. change must have been very slow, as it had been for millenia. i have to say i just love the final shot. it seems the very essence of a soviet statement: the child marches off, leaving his friends behind cheering him on, into a vast flat nothingness - mother Russia unending. he is confidence personified.


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