Maretskaya, Vera (1906–1978)

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Maretskaya, Vera (1906–1978)

Soviet actress . Born in Moscow, Russia, on July 1, 1906; died in 1978.

Selected filmography:

The Tailor from Torzhok (1925); Simple Hearts (1928); A Living Corpse (1929); The Black Hut (1933); Love and Hate (1935); The Generation of Conquerors (1936); Member of the Government (1939); The Artomonoy Affair (1940); The Wedding (also called Marriage , 1944); Village Teacher (1947); Mother (1955); My Little Field (1956); Mother and Daughter (1962); An Easy Life (1964).

Born in Moscow in 1906, Vera Maretskaya studied acting at that city's Bakhtangova Studio. Her initial stage appearance came in 1924, followed one year later by her first silent-film role in The Tailor from Torzhok. She achieved a measure of fame as an actress with the help of the Soviet propaganda machine, primarily undertaking stock comedic characters such as domestic servants and the naive villager just arrived in the big city. In the early 1930s, she played a series of frivolous women.

Maretskaya evolved her acting style to match the changing currents in Soviet films. When sound was introduced, Soviet directors began taking on more serious matters. A common theme of many films became the rise of the lowly woman into some type of liberation. Maretskaya achieved stardom as the liberated woman in the films The Generation of Conquerors (1936) and Member of the Government (1939). In The Generation of Conquerors, she portrayed a domestic servant transformed into a revolutionary heroine. In Member of the Government, she played a poor peasant who successfully learns to run a collective farm; as the story progresses, she denounces an enemy of the state (a common thread in all Soviet films of this era), struggles to maintain her relationship with her husband, and ultimately enters the Supreme Soviet. Maretskaya also starred in the talking version of Maxim Gorky's Mother, winning the title role over Vera Baranovskaya , another popular actress who had played the part in the silent-film version.

Vera Maretskaya was admired for her ability to bring her characters to life; the maturity and depth of her performances distinguished her from those actresses of her time known primarily for their beauty. Her last film, An Easy Life, was released in 1964. She died in 1978.

Kari Bethel , freelance writer, Columbia, Missouri

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