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Spring (1947)

Vesna (original title)
A drab woman scientist, working on machine to harness solar energy, and a pert concert singer look-alike being courted to play her in a movie swap identities and find personal growth, professional success, love, and happiness.

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, (as A. Raskin) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Prof. Irina Petrovna Nikitina / Vera Giorgieva Shatrova
...
Arkadi Mikhailovich Gromov
Nikolai Konovalov ...
Uncle Lionia Mukhin
Faina Ranevskaya ...
Margarita Lvovich, housekeeper
Rostislav Plyatt ...
Vladimir Ivanovich Bubentsov
Boris Petker ...
Akeki Abramovich, theater director
Mikhail Sidorkin ...
Nikolai Semyenovich Roshchin
Rina Zelyonaya ...
Gabby Film Makeup Designer
Tatyana Guretskaya ...
Tatyana Ivanovna
Vasiliy Zaychikov ...
Prof. Ivan Nikolayevich Melnikov (as Vasili Zajchikov)
Arkadi Tsinman
Mikhail Troyanovskiy
Garen Zhukovskaya
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Storyline

A drab woman scientist, working on machine to harness solar energy, and a pert concert singer look-alike being courted to play her in a movie swap identities and find personal growth, professional success, love, and happiness.

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Release Date:

13 March 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spring  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot utilizing the camera equipment, various sets, costumes, and props confiscated by the Soviet Red Army from the Nazi controlled UFA Studios. Many of the lavish theatrical set pieces and costumes came from Die Frau meiner Träume (1944), starring Marika Rökk. See more »

Goofs

When Arkadi Gromov first meets both characters of Lubov Orlova - Prof.Irina Nikitina and Vera Shatrova, Irina wears a necklace and is stood on the left side of Gromov. But in the next close-up shots, character of Lubov Orlova with a necklace is standing to the left as Vera Shatrova should have. See more »

Connections

References Die Frau meiner Träume (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A rarity but very nice
4 October 2001 | by See all my reviews

Can you imagine a Stalin-era musical shot in 1947 in which Muscovites own cars and telephones (which *work*!) and single lady scientists live in large apartments with their own housekeeper? Oh well, Hollywood didn't exactly show how real people lived in New York either.

"Vesna" (Spring) is a cross between "Ninotchka" (mannish Soviet career woman discovers silliness and sophistication) and "The Prince and the Pauper" - Shatrova, the singer-actress, exchanges roles with Nikitina, the renowned scientist whom she's supposed to portray in a lightweight movie, and each woman (both played by Lyubov Orlova, a real Soviet film star who's not especially glamorous but plenty talented) finds love in the other's universe.

None of this is very serious, but spotting the differences between this and similar formulaic Hollywood romantic comedies of the same era is half the fun. The make-up scene, in which Nikitina's thick spectacles are discarded, eyebrows plucked, lips made up, etc., by the movie-in-the-movie's makeup department, is the exact parallel, in a slightly provincial way, of a hundred such Hollywood scenes.

The film-making process (shot on location in Moscow's studios) is another world altogether: Mukhin, the saturnine and *very* seductive director, is the Stanislavski-like uncontested master of the set, expected to rule on form and content alike, giving an actor playing Gogol the right scansion for one of the writer's poems, or requesting imperiously the studio's source material on "love." (Huge leather-bound books of poetry and literature - take *that*, Louis B. Mayer!) No producer in sight (the director assumes part of those tasks); but the sound stage is cleared mid-afternoon when another film is scheduled to be shot for a few hours there: there's a charmingly academic style to this State-run view of film production.

The musical numbers are a hodgepodge to anyone used to ruthlessly calibrated Broadway-goes-Hollywood musicals; but the talent is no less than the Bolshoi ballet blending operetta with the real thing. Orlova sings like a dream and tap-dances alone à la Eleanor Parker; the camera tries (and doesn't quite succeed) for a Busby Berkeley effect; but the scene that stays in one's memory is the most Russian one: academics and scientists gathered round the piano during an improbably glamorous evening, singing together.

In the West, a romantic comedy like "Vesna" would belong to an earlier, pre-war era (Nikitina's monumental lab is true Art-Déco): by 1948, when it was released, Gene Kelly was dancing in the streets of New York on Leonard Bernstein's glorious score for "On The Town", changing the face of musicals. Still, it has a lot of charm, not least to show us a glimpse of what was expected to make Soviet viewers dream. See it if you can.


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