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  • Tchaikovsky [DVD][NTSC][Russian Import][1969]
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Tchaikovsky [DVD][NTSC][Russian Import][1969]

2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Majya Plisetskaya, Vladislav Strzhel'chik, Evgenij Evstigneev, Evgenij Leonov, Bruno Frejndlikh
  • Directors: Igor' Talankin
  • Format: NTSC, Colour, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Studio: Ruscico, MosFilm
  • Run Time: 157 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001D18OO4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,391 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


The film is dedicated to the great Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893).It tells of the last twenty years of the great master's life, of his friendship with Baroness von Meck, an outstanding woman of her time, who for many years was Tchaikovsky's guardian angel. The film also includes retrospections of the composer's childhood and adolescent years, with Tchaikovsky's life poetically recounted against the background of fragments from his operas and ballets performed by the best Russian musicians. Awards: Prize for Best Actor (Innokenty Smoktunovsky) and Jury Diploma to the film at the San Sebastian IFF, 1970; Oscar nominations for Best Foreign Film and for Best Musical Adaptation, 1971 Special Freatures: Pictures and filmography of the film's authors; Candids from the shooting ground; Maya Plisetskaya in ballets of P.I. Tchaikovski; Interview with Innokenty Smoktunovsky; Biography and Documentary about P.I. Tchaikovsky; Teasers of the films coming next.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By John Taylor on 17 Jun. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film lovingly made with beautiful scenes shot in Russia offer a sometimes wobbly soundtrack and a story about Tchaikovsky not always in sequence. Do not be put off by this because if you are a lover of Tchaikovsky you will be glad that this was made at all. The actor who plays Tchaikovsky is uncannily like him. Go and buy this now.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By George Bloemers on 7 July 2010
Format: DVD
This very program, was viewed by me, in about 2002, it was listed at the Pueblo,Colorado's library. never seen it again? BUT- it was a real masterpiece, in my viewings. very worth the effort to seek it out and to enjoy,. george b.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
They Don't Make 'em Like This Anymore! 1 Nov. 2004
By Raymond Notley - Published on
Format: DVD
This film is closely linked to what must have a passionate, personal crusade for Dimitri Tiomkin. The film is well crafted and is best watched in Russian with English sub-titles. It was shot in Russia. The dubbed English version is irritating. The flim concentrates on the curious relationship of Tchaikovsky and his rich patron Madame von Meck - they never met. Locations and interiors are superb with some great performances by the large supporting cast. What is missing, of course, is the question of the sexuality of Tchaikovsky but the period detail is fascinating and genuine. There is little for the sensation seeker but a great deal for those interested in Tchaikovsky, 19th century Russia, and, indeed, for Hollywood movie music buffs interested in the great Dimitri Tiomkin. A most interesting contrast to Ken Russell's overheated The Music Lovers
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Another Beautiful Mind 8 Dec. 2002
By Babington - Published on
Format: DVD
There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that this is a film filled to the brim with film cliches portraying Tchaikers as a genius modern artist, struggling with an ungrateful public for recognition. The good news is... Oooh, they do it so well!!! This film really moved me, the portrayal of Tchaikovsky was so absorbing that it really matters to you as you watch it if things go right or wrong for him. I was carried away, and recommend what I expected to be a slightly dodgy soviet biopic which turned out to be a great film. The Soviets could do 'Amadeus' any day of the week!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By Philippe RENAUD - Published on
Format: DVD
Fans of P.I. Tchaikovsky's music will be touched by Innokenti Smoktunovsky's portrayal of the composer. Smoktunovsky gives us the right combination of introversion, pain (not too much, not overdone), shyness, sensitivity, and personal trauma. Those of us who have enjoyed the actor's performance of HAMLET in Kozintsev's movie will not be disappointed. We truly feel sorry for Tchaikovsky in the end. Nadezhda VON MECK and the conceited (but gold hearted) RUBINSTEIN are also well portrayed. Their presence has a powerful impact on us. In the visuals and great acting lie all the power of this movie.
As a biography, the work unfortunately does not break new ground. Tchaikovsky's painful struggle with homosexuality is not touched upon (only suggested through subtle hints). 1972 Soviet censorship would, of course, have blocked any suggestions that one of their cultural icons suffered with this issue. Also, the movie uses a special sound filter on Tiomkin's arrangements that are meant to portray the inner workings of the composer's mind during the creative process. This filtering, however, sounds cheezy and distracts the viewer more than anything.
A beautiful and evoctive portrait of the times otherwise. The movie does cover most of the "acceptable" annectdotes of the composer's life in a most touching manner (Desiree Artot, the circumstances behind his disastrous marriage, Nadezhda Von Meck, and, of course, the matter of "diverging octaves" in the famous Piano Concerto's 1st mouvement). Thirty years later, the movie has the feel of well crafted and sensible PUBLIC TELEVISION production that will touch and educate us. This is not money wasted.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Piotr is alive here 18 May 2008
By Malinka - Published on
Format: DVD
A product of the late Soviet era, this film is a cluster of near-perfection in visual, sound and scenario, all of which with persuading Russianness.
One can hardly believe that all one sees are actors; Piotr is Piotr, in appearance and manners, so are Madame von Meck, Rubinstein and other characters.
The story is rather focused on the relationship between Piotr and Madame von Meck. Obviously the director wanted the film a work of art, not a documentary. Profound words of life's anguish and joy are unforgettable, and persuasive enough to explain the secrets of his music.
Visuals are aesthetic and deliberate. Interesting is the sound; rather than threading perfect recordings of familiar works, one often hears unfamiliar arrangement or unusual patchworking of tunes, as if they were resonating in the composer's head.
In short, this film makes one experience what it is like to be a contemporary of the great composer, or to be himself.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
But don't buy it for the music... 25 April 2011
By Tim Michaels - Published on
Format: DVD
I came to this movie as a great admirer of the pathos of Tchaikovsky's music and of his life story, both of which I relate deeply to. I hadn't known about this film, though I had seen "The Music Lovers" and the 2007 BBC docudrama "Tchaikovsky", both of which left me wanting. Nobody seems to get the Tchaikovsky life story quite right, though each has admirable elements. But "Amadeus" and "Immortal Beloved" are much more inspiring portrayals of Mozart and Beethoven, respectively, than this film is of Tchaikovsky. Had I not already been a great admirer of his, I don't think this film would have made me one.

Overall, I liked the sullen mood of the film as it seemed to fit its subject, though at times he seems a bit too morose. This is made all the more annoying by the fact that the film doesn't delve into the possible reasons for Tchaikovsky's melancholy, and doesn't seem to care to. Certainly his sexual orientation, in a society where being gay was considered shameful and worthy of banishment to Siberia, played a considerable role, but this was summarily ignored. And I find it hard to believe that there wasn't some joy in Tchaikovsky's life, especially when he was being lauded for his brilliant work. He was the most famous composer in Russia, even in his lifetime. His letters indicate great pride and satisfaction at key moments in his life, but in the film he rarely cracks a smile and this gets tiresome. Nobody is morose all the time. His trip to America near the end of his life, which was highly successful, is ignored. The theme from the Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture, arguably the greatest musical expression of love in the world, is also ignored. The 1812 Overture is not mentioned. These are some of the composer's best known works, though admittedly they may not have been in his lifetime. Nevertheless, their absence was notable.

This film does a few things very well. The cinematography is appealing and painted on a large palette, with intriguing locations, grand scenes, and an authentic feel for Russia and Tchaikovsky's world. But perhaps its most striking credential is the amazing physical resemblance of its star, acclaimed Russian actor Innokenti Smoktunovsky, to Tchaikovsky. It is haunting. I felt as though I were watching actual physical footage of the great composer (of which none exists, of course... he died in 1893), and found this mesmerizing. It lends the film an intimate feel, as though we are actually in Tchaikovsky's world because it is so easy to believe that the man we see on the screen is indeed him. This alone bumped my review up to a fourth star.

Yet ultimately, what I find most annoying about the film is the cheap, tinny sound it gives to Tchaikovsky's incredibly beautiful music. It is treated with all the dignity of a carnival merry-go-round, feeling rushed, comic and casual. What a great disservice this does, and this more than anything else hurts the film. Were the music handled with the glory and richness it deserves, the film would have much greater impact and feeling, and would easily win converts. If I were a Tchaikovsky neophyte, I would not rush out to buy a CD after seeing this film, and that is a great shame.

There is one poignant musical scene, however, the likes of which the movie could have used much more of. Tchaikovsky borrowed many of his tunes from folk songs, mostly of Russia, but also from his travels abroad to Europe. In the scene in question, the composer is having lunch in Paris while we hear accordion music coming from the street below. Astute listeners will recognize it as the melancholy tune from the slow movement of Tchaikovsky's fourth symphony. This subtle fact may be lost on the uninitiated, but I found it beautifully executed.

There is also a revealing and poignant(and imaginary) scene on a train between Tchaikovsky and his wealthy patron, Nadezhda von Meck. The two corresponded prolifically for over a decade, but never met (at her insistence), and were perfect soulmates for each other. Their exchanges were often quite frank. She wrote to him, "I am very unsympathetic in my personal relations because I do not possess any femininity whatever; second, I do not know how to be tender, and this characteristic has passed on to my entire family. All of us are afraid to be affected or sentimental..." No wonder she adored Tchaikovsky's music: it exquisitely said what she could not. We feel for her, and instantly realize that Tchaikovsky suffers from the same affliction.

This film could have been so much better, but it contains enough worthy elements that I decided to purchase it. The striking physical resemblance of the actor to his character, the glimpses of Tchaikovsky's genius, the Russian landscape, and the healthy dose of "Queen of Spades" (one of my favorite operas, and one of Tchaikovsky's most successful) all bode well for future viewings. But when I want to enjoy the composer's glorious music, I'll pop in a CD instead.
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