(Tatiana Donskaya) could speak fluent Russian in real life. Wood's parents were Russian immigrants and her real name was Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Brian Keith was an American, as were both his parents. None of his family on either side knew Russian, or had any connection to Russia or Russians, so it is safe to presume that he could not have been a fluent Russian speaker.
Even though Brian Keith really didn't speak Russian, you'd never guess it when you hear him rattling away in "Meteor".
"Unless you're Russian," Natalie Wood pointed out.
Keith's role in the big AIP movie about impending collision between a five-mile-wide meteor and Earth was that of a Russian scientist who spoke only Russian throughout the film, and, considering the circumstances, he did it admirably.
But Natalie, who was of Russian extraction and learned Russian when she was learning English, did it better, and, from her expertise, noted flaws in Keith's pronunciation.
"He was wonderful," said Natalie, one of Keith's co-stars in the picture, "but he spoke with an American accent. However, only a Russian would notice that."
That Keith could deliver his lines in any kind of Russian, American-accented or otherwise, was amazing, because he didn't know the language and had to learn his role phonetically.
Nevertheless, he not only managed to say what had to be said, but did it with appealing warmth and humor.
His performance is particularly remarkable since he was a latecomer to the cast, called in when Donald Pleasance, who'd been set, was trapped in another production which ran longer than scheduled.
"We got lucky with Brian," says satisfied Samuel Arkoff, AIP president. ""His innuendos were wonderful." See more
Dr. Paul Bradley
Why don't you stick a broom up my ass? I can sweep the carpet on the way out.