Kalatozov, Mikhail

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kalatozov, Mikhail Konstantinovich


Born Dec. 15 (28), 1903, in Tbilisi. Soviet film director. People’s Artist of the USSR (1969); member of the CPSU since 1939.

Kalatozov began working in the Georgian cinema in 1923 and became a director in 1928. His films tended to emphasize space and dimension and made effective use of acute foreshortening and lighting. These features are particularly noticeable in his film Salt of Svanetia (1930), for which he was both director and one of the cameramen. In 1933, Kalatozov enrolled in postgraduate study at the Leningrad Academy of Art. Later he became head of the Tbilisi Film Studio. He returned to directing with his film Courage (1939). Valerii Chkalov, made in 1941, was among his most important films. The breadth of Kalatozov’s artistic range and his ability to utilize diverse means of expression are apparent in his film comedy True Friends (1954).

The Cranes Are Flying, made in 1957, is Kalatozov’s best-known film; it won both him and his cameraman, S. P. Urusev-skii, worldwide recognition and a number of international prizes (including the Golden Palm at the 11th International Film Festival in Cannes). The acting of T. E. Samoilova and A. V. Batalov, the inspired montage of the crowd scenes, and the unusual mobility of the camera combine to give the film a subtle lyric beauty and a tragic force. In 1970, Kalatozov made a film based on U. Nobile’s expedition to the north pole (The Red Tent; a joint Soviet-Italian production). The cast of major actors from various countries and the impressive nature footage made the film an important event. Kalatozov received the State Prize of the USSR in 1951. He has been awarded three orders and various medals.


Litso Gollivuda. [Moscow] 1949.


Kremlev, G. Mikhail Kalatozov. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.