Donskoi, Mark Semenovich
Born Feb. 21 (Mar. 6), 1901, in Odessa. Soviet film director and screenwriter. People’s Artist of the USSR (1966) and Hero of Socialist Labor (1971). Member of the CPSU since 1945.
Donskoi graduated from the division of law of the University of Simferopol’. He began his film career in 1926. His first films, made with M. A. Averbakh, were In the Big City (1928) and A Man’s Worth (1929). The film The Song of Happiness, made with V. G. Legoshin in 1934, brought him renown. Donskoi’s most important work of the 1930’s was the motion picture trilogy on the childhood and youth of M. Gorky—The Childhood of Gorky (1938, scenario by I. Gruzdev and Donskoi), In the World (1939; State Prize of the USSR, 1941), and My Universities (1940, scenario by Donskoi). The development of the writer’s personality was depicted against the broad background of provincial life in prerevolutionary Russia. The film presents original characterizations and organically combines a universal poetic principle with colorful scenes of everyday life.
During the Great Patriotic War, Donskoi filmed How the Steel Was Tempered (1942, Donskoi’s scenario based on N. A. Ostrovskii’s novel), The Rainbow (1944, after V. L. Vasilevskaia’s novella; State Prize of the USSR, 1946), and The Unvanquished (1945, after B. L. Gorbatov’s novella; scenario by Donskoi and Gorbatov). A significant achievement was the film The Rural Schoolmistress (1947; State Prize of the USSR, 1948; starring V. P. Maretskaia in the leading role), devoted to the beauty of selfless creative work. Donskoi made the film versions of Gorky’s Mother (1956, scenario by Donskoi and N. A. Kovarskii) and Foma Gordeev (1959, scenario by B. G. Bialik and Donskoi). In the 1960’s Donskoi turned to the subject of Lenin, making the films A Mother’s Heart (1966; State Prize of the USSR, 1968) and A Mother’s Fidelity (1967). He was awarded two Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and various medals.
WORKS“Kak ia stal rezhisserom.” In Kak la Stal Rezhisserom. Moscow, 1946. Pages 95-104.
REFERENCE“K 60-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia Marka Donskogo.” Iskusstvo Kino, 1961, no. 6.
L. A. PARFENOV