Vsevolod Pudovkin

Vsevolod Pudovkin
(Всеволод Пудовкин)

Vsevolod Pudovkin
Born Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin
(1893-02-16)16 February 1893
Penza, Russian Empire
Died 30 June 1953(1953-06-30) (aged 60)
Jūrmala, Latvian SSR, Soviet Union
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, actor
Years active 1919–1953

Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin (Russian: Все́волод Илларио́нович Пудо́вкин) (16 February 1893 – 30 June 1953[1][2]) was a Russian and Soviet film director, screenwriter and actor who developed influential theories of montage. Pudovkin's masterpieces are often contrasted with those of his contemporary Sergei Eisenstein, but whereas Eisenstein utilized montage to glorify the power of the masses, Pudovkin preferred to concentrate on the courage and resilience of individuals. He was granted the title of People's Artist of the USSR in 1948.


Vsevolod Pudovkin was born in Penza, Russian Empire into a Russian family, the third of six children. In four years his family moved to Moscow. His father Illarion Epifanovich Pudovkin came from peasants of the Penza Governorate. He worked in several companies as a manager and a door-to-door salesman. Vsevolod's mother Elizaveta Alexandrovna Pudovkina (née Shilkina) was a housewife.[3]

A student of engineering at Moscow University, Pudovkin saw active duty during World War I, being captured by the Germans. After the war, he abandoned his professional activity and joined the world of cinema, first as a screenwriter, actor and art director, and then as an assistant director to Lev Kuleshov.

His first notable work was a comedy short Chess Fever (1925) co-directed with Nikolai Shpikovsky. José Raúl Capablanca played a small part in it, with a number of other cameos presented. In 1926 he directed which will be considered one of the masterpieces of silent movies: Mother, where he developed several montage theories that would make him famous. Both movies featured Pudovkin's wife Anna Nikolaevna Zemtsova in the main female parts (she left cinema shortly after).

His first feature was followed by The End of St. Petersburg (1927), and Storm Over Asia (also known as The Heir of Genghis Khan), titles which compose a trilogy at the service of the bolshevik revolutionary policy.

In 1928, with the advent of sound film, Pudovkin, Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov signed the Manifest of Sound, in which the possibilities of sound are debated, and always understood as a complement to image. This idea would be brought to bear in his next pictures: A Simple Case (1932) and The Deserter (1933), works that do not match the quality of earlier work. In 1935 he was awarded the Order of Lenin.

After an interruption caused by health concerns, Pudovkin returned to movie making, this time with a number of historical epics: Victory (1938); Minin and Pozharsky (1939) and Suvorov (1941). The last two were often praised as some of the best movies based on Russian history, along with the works of Sergei Eisenstein. Pudovkin was awarded a Stalin Prize for both of them in 1941.

During the World War II he was evacuated to Kazakhstan where he directed several patriotic war movies. He also played a small part in the Ivan the Terrible movie (a God's fool). With the end of war he returned to Moscow and continued his work at the Mosfilm studio, making biographical and war movies. In 1947 he was awarded another Stalin Prize for his work on Admiral Nakhimov, and in 1950 — his second Order of Lenin and a third Stalin Prize for Zhukovsky. His last work was The Return of Vasili Bortnikov (1953).

Apart from directing, screenwriting and acting, Pudovkin was also an educator and a journalist, author of several books on film theory, professor at VGIK, president of the cinema section at VOKS (since 1944) and a member of the Soviet Peace Committee.

Vsevolod Pudovkin died on June 30, 1953 in Jūrmala, Latvian SSR (near Riga) after a heart attack. He was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery. One of the streets in Moscow is named after Pudovkin (see Pudovkin street).


Year Original Title English Title Notes
1920 В дни борьбы In the Days of Struggle actor
1921 Серп и молот Sickle and Hammer actor; screenwriter; assistant director
Голод… голод… голод… Hunger... Hunger... Hunger... screenwriter; assistant director
1923 Слесарь и канцлер Locksmith and Chancellor screenwriter
1924 Необычайные приключения мистера Веста в стране большевиков The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks actor; art director
1925 Луч смерти The Death Ray actor; screenwriter; assistant director; art director
Шахматная горячка Chess Fever director (with Nikolai Shpikovsky)
1926 Механика головного мозга Mechanics of the Brain director; screenwriter
Мать Mother director; actor
1927 Конец Санкт-Петербурга The End of St. Petersburg director; actor
1928 Потомок Чингиз-Хана Storm Over Asia director
1929 Новый Вавилон The New Babylon actor
Живой труп The Living Corpse actor
Веселая канарейка The Gay Canary actor
1932 Простой случай A Simple Case director (with Mikhail Doller)
1933 Дезертир The Deserter director
1938 Победа Victory director (with Mikhail Doller)
1939 Минин и Пожарский Minin and Pozharsky director (with Mikhail Doller)
1941 Суворов Suvorov director (with Mikhail Doller)
Пир в Жирмунке Feast in Zhirmunka director (with Mikhail Doller)
1942 Убийцы выходят на дорогу The Murderers are Coming director (with Yuri Tarich); screenwriter
1943 Во имя Родины In the Name of the Fatherland director (with Dmitri Vasilyev); screenwriter; actor
Юный Фриц The Young Fritz actor
1944 Иван Грозный Ivan the Terrible actor
1947 Адмирал Нахимов Admiral Nakhimov director; actor
1948 Три встречи Three Encounters director (segment)
1950 Жуковский Zhukovsky director
1952 Возвращение Василия Бортникова The Return of Vasili Bortnikov director (with Dmitri Vasilyev)

Published works


  1. Schnitzer, Luda (1973). Cinema in Revolution. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306802856.
  2. Gillespie, David C. (2000). Early Soviet Cinema. Wallflower. ISBN 1903364043.
  3. Vsevolod Pudovkin (1976). Collection of Works in Three Volumes. Volume 3. Moscow: Iskusstvo, 552 pages.

External links

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