May 01, 2013

Vladimir Etush: Vakhtangov Legend

Vladimir Etush, a renowned actor at the Vakhtangov Theater, turns 90 on May 6. Etush played many roles in both cinema and the theater, but his most brilliant portrayal was that of Brighella, one of the four masked characters in the Vakhtangov classic, the unforgettable Princess Turandot.

Etush also left a deep imprint on Soviet-era cinema with his role as Comrade Saakhov in Leonid Gaidai’s Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (Кавказской пленницы). In this delightful 1967 comedy (stills below), a young woman is abducted for a Caucasian party boss. The rosy but not very realistic ending has the captive freed and the villainous Saakhov convicted. Few viewers failed to notice that the foolish and self-satisfied Saakhov bore a striking resemblance to Stalin, right down to his trademark tunic.

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