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Gorgeous film actress Olga Baclanova and Freaks

Gorgeous film actress Olga Baclanova and Freaks

Gorgeous film actress Olga Baclanova and Freaks

Gorgeous film actress Olga Baclanova and Freaks
Born on August 19, 1896 in Moscow, the future brilliant Russian and American actress of silent film era Olga Baclanova grew up in the creative family. Her parents were actor Vladimir Baklanov and his wife Alexandra, also an actress in early Russian silent films. The girl studied drama at the Cherniavsky Institute before entering the prestigious Moscow Art Theater in 1912. Over the next decade Olga appeared in Russian films. In addition, she performed extensively on stage, touring in many countries of the world.
Meanwhile, Baclanova first came to New York with the 1925 touring production of the Moscow Art Theater’s Lysistrata. Although the rest of the company returned to Russia in 1926, she chose to pursue career in the United States.

Olga Baclanova

Tod Browning’s unique horror movie Freaks (1932)

Russian blonde Baclanova established herself in American silent movies as a talented actress. In particular, she achieved a success with The Docks of New York (1928), directed by Josef von Sternberg. Later that year, she appeared in The Man Who Laughs. By the way, the creators of “Batman” based the appearance of their character “the Joker” on the titular protagonist in this film.

Named the Russian Tigress, she remains most noted by modern audiences for portraying the leading lady in Tod Browning’s unique horror movie Freaks (1932). Noteworthy, the film features a cast of actual carnival sideshow freaks.

At the height of her career, the audience knew her by her last name only: Baclanova. However, the introduction of talking films proved difficult for Baclanova, as audiences did not respond to her heavy Russian accent. As a result, she no longer secured leading roles, and received only supporting parts.

Her career was in decline when she received the role from the director of Dracula. It was the role of the cruel circus performer Cleopatra in the a horror movie “Freaks” (1932), that featured actual carnival freaks.

Cleopatra is a beautiful acrobat. In love with her midget Hans, she prefers him to a strongman Hercules. When Cleopatra learns that Hans – heir to a fortune, she decides to marry the first unhappy midget, and then to poison him. But after an unsuccessful attempt to poison circus freaks (Siamese twins, armless girl and a hermaphrodite) decide to take revenge on Cleopatra.

In fact, the film was highly controversial to say the least, and screened only briefly before being withdrawn and suppressed. It would be 30 years before Freaks gained a cult following. Unfortunately, the movie did not revive Baclanova’s film career, which ended in 1943.

Meanwhile, Baclanova worked extensively on stage in London’s West End and in New York, for about ten years starting in the mid 1930s. In 1943 she appeared in “Claudia” at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Washington.

Despite the fact that “Freaks” – one of the key words in the history of world cinema, its fate was dramatic. Immediately sent to the leadership of the Hollywood studio MGM on the shelf and prohibited for a public demonstration in the U.S.. However, it did not prevent clever adventurer Dwayne Esper show it around the country in their mobile show with sensational titles, “Forbidden Love” and “Errors of nature.”

This film directed by Tod Browning’s forty-year became “bad example” ostensibly because of the painful attention to human deformities. Incidentally, the year before he created the first American version of “Dracula,” a success at the box office. In fact, “Freaks” – a kind of “horror melodrama,” which is stylistically foreshadows many contemporary cinematographic. And in particular, David Lynch, especially his early work, “Eraser-head” and “The Elephant Man.”

Browning did not speculate on the apparent ugliness of specially collected all sorts of types, although, of course, can not impress the audience by very impressive gallery of different deformed creatures. However, the overall tone of the story devoid of morbid curiosity. Almost inevitable in such cases, the scandalous voyeurism in relation to the creatures of the circus “freak show.” The film is imbued with sincere sympathy and even respect to how appear normal human emotions in defective and monstrous individuals.

Love and jealousy among the Lilliputians, or a friendly and mutual touching the unity of all the freaks who spoke against the vile lead of a strongman Hercules. In addition to attractive gymnast Cleopatra, still in love with her tiny little man, Hans, and with his money. All this makes it possible to understand that people’s actions and their mental qualities are not connected with the external appearance and idle notions of normality.

After her retirement she settled in Vevey, Switzerland, where she died after several years of poor health, and possibly Alzheimer’s.

Selected filmography of Olga Baclanova:
The Czarina’s Secret (1928)
The Man Who Laughs (1928)
Three Sinners (1928)
Street of Sin (1928)
The Docks of New York (1928)
The Wolf of Wall Street (1929)
The Man I Love (1929)
A Dangerous Woman (1929)
The Great Lover (1931)
Freaks (1932)
Downstairs (1932)
Billion Dollar Scandal (1933)
Claudia (1943)

Gorgeous film actress Olga Baclanova and Freaks