Protazanov, Iakov Aleksandrovich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Protazanov, Iakov Aleksandrovich


Born Jan. 23 (Feb. 4), 1881, in Moscow; died there Aug. 8, 1945. Soviet film director. Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1935) and the Uzbek SSR (1943). One of the founders of Soviet cinematography.

Protazanov directed some 80 films between 1911 and 1918, including such important films as The Queen of Spades (1916) and Father Sergii (1918). Even at this time he displayed professional mastery, interest in the Russian literary classics, and sensitivity to the actor’s art. He was often compelled to direct commercial productions, but in his best films demonstrated the potentialities of the Russian cinema.

In 1923, after a stay abroad, Protazanov returned to Russia. For his first films made in Soviet studios, Aelita (1924) and His Call (1925), he chose themes from contemporary Soviet life. He also directed the comedies The Tailor From Torzhok (1925), The Trial of the Three Million (1926), Don Diego and Pelageia (1928), and Saint Jorgen’s Day (1930), which brilliantly displayed the talents of such popular performers as I. V. Il’inskii, V. P. Mar-etskaia, A. P. Ktorov, M. M. Klimov, and M. M. Bliumental’-Tamarina. In the historical revolutionary film The Forty-first (1927), Protazanov achieved great authenticity of characterization and successfully conveyed the atmosphere of the Civil War epoch. He engaged V. I. Kachalov and V. E. Meyerhold for the leading roles in The White Eagle (1928). With the advent of sound, he directed The Marionettes (1934), a satirical musical comedy, and later The Girl Without a Dowry (1937), which became one of the best Soviet screen versions of a classic play. The historical film Salavat Iulaev (1941) and the comedy Nasreddin in Bukhara (1943) were his last works.


Zorkaia, N. M. Portrety. Moscow, 1966.
Arlazorov, M. S. Protazanov. Moscow, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.