Porfiri Podobed
Porfiri Artemyevich Podobed

(1886-10-16)16 October 1886
Died9 November 1965(1965-11-09) (aged 79)
Occupation(s)Film director, actor
SpouseLydia Redega-Podobed

Porfiri Artemyevich Podobed (Russian: Порфирий Артемьевич Подобед; 16 October [O.S. 3 October] 1886 — 9 November 1965) was a Soviet film director, actor and manager at the Moscow Art Theatre.[1][2]

Early life

Porfiri Podobed came from a Russian Orthodox family of Artemy Podobed and Elena Fyodorovna Karry (1868–1932), a well-known opera singer at the Bolshoi Theatre and a stepsister of Vasily and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko.[3][4][5] In 1910 Porfiri finished the Sea Cadet Corps in Saint Petersburg in the rank of michman. As a Gardes-Marine he took part in the 1908 Messina earthquake rescue and was awarded for it. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1912.[5]

In 1915 Podobed joined the World War I. He served aboard the Gangut battleship and took part in the Gulf of Finland mining for which he was awarded the 3rd class Order of Saint Stanislaus.[5] On 19 October a mutiny happened among the lower ranking members which led to an investigation and a trial. According to the memoirs of one of the rebels, Dmitry Ivanov, Podobed was relieved of duty for expressing support to the sailors, but was later restored and returned to war. Ivanov also claimed that Podobed helped underground revolutionaries. Following the October Revolution he took part in the Russian Civil War and served in the Soviet Navy headquarters under Aleksandr Nemits.[5][6]


In 1918 Podobed took a managing position at the Moscow Art Theatre headed by his relative Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. He left it in 1919, but regained in 1921 following the demobilization and worked there up until 1926. He was one of the founders of the MKhAT Museum. His correspondence with Nemirovich-Danchenko contains many important facts about the theatre life during the New Economic Policy.[7] Also in 1918 Podobed performed his first role in the Swamp Mirages drama movie directed by Victor Tourjansky and based on the Swamp Lights novel by Vasily Nemirovich-Danchenko. The film was released only in 1923 and is considered lost today.[2][8]

In 1919 Podobed joined the Moscow Film School and then — the famous Kuleshov's Collective headed by Lev Kuleshov where he studied cinematography along with Vsevolod Pudovkin, Boris Barnet, Vladimir Fogel and other acclaimed actors/directors. Kuleshov highly regarded his discipline and commitment, and in 1924 he gave Podobed the leading role of a goofy American John West in one of the first Soviet comedies The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks.[9] He later performed in several other movies by Kuleshov.

In 1929 Vsevolod Meyerhold decided to make his directorial debut with Eugeny Bazarov, a film adaptation of the Fathers and Sons novel by Ivan Turgenev. He invited Podobed to be his assistant. The troubled pre-production lasted for three years, and the movie was finally abandoned.[10]

From 1930 to 1943 Podobed worked predominately with Yakov Protazanov, first as a camera assistant and then — as an assistant director and a co-director. From 1942 on he worked at Mosnauchfilm (known as Voentechfilm during the World War II) dedicated to popular science and educational films. He also taught filmmaking from 1920 to 1939.[1][2]


Porfiri Podobed died on 9 November 1965 aged 79. He was buried at the Moscow Armenian Cemetery near his mother Elena Karry and his wife fr:Lydia Redega (Lydia Konstantinovna Redega-Podobed (1888–1946)), a ballerina and ballet master at the Moscow Art Theatre Musical Studio.[11]


Year Title Original title
Function Role
1918/1923 Swamp Mirages (lost film) Болотные миражи
1924 The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks Необычайные приключения мистера Веста в стране большевиков
Mr. John West
1925 The Death Ray Луч смерти
engineer Podobed
1926 By the Law По закону
1927 The Yellow Ticket Земля в плену
1929 Eugeny Bazarov (unfinished film) Евгений Базаров
assistant director
The Living Corpse Живой труп
Adventures of Munchausen (animation) Похождения Мюнхгаузена
1930/1935 St. Jorgen's Day Праздник святого Йоргена
camera assistant/co-director
1931 The Thaw Ледолом
assistant director
1932 The House of the Dead Мёртвый дом
assistant director
Horizon Горизонт
1934 Marionettes Марионетки
1936 About Oddities of Love О странностях любви
1937 Youth Юность
1940 Salavat Yulayev Салават Юлаев
second unit director
1956 Automatic Workshop (documentary) Цех-автомат
19?? Toys Игрушки


  1. ^ a b Cinema: Encyclopedic Dictionary // ed. Sergei Yutkevich. — Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia, 1987, p. 325
  2. ^ a b c Podobed, Porfiry Artemyevich (1886–1965) at the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art
  3. ^ "46th International Philological Research Conference / Текст, музыка, перевод / Е. Ф. Карри — респондент и адресат. Из переписки начала ХХ в." conference-spbu.ru. Retrieved 2022-12-02.
  4. ^ Valery Zarubin (1994). Bolshoi Theatre. Opera Premieres on Russian Stage 1825–1993. — Moscow: Ellis Lak, p. 282 ISBN 5-7195-0027-8
  5. ^ a b c d Podobed Porfiri Artemyevich at the Navy Officers database (in Russian)
  6. ^ Dmitry Ivanov (1987). I Am the Gangus Sailor! — Moscow: Voenizdat, pp. 34—80
  7. ^ "МХТ им. А. П. Чехова: Порфирий Подобед". mxat.ru. Retrieved 2022-12-02.
  8. ^ Newsreel by Sergey Kudryavtsev at KinoPoisk, 17 May 2013 (in Russian)
  9. ^ Lev Kuleshov, Aleksandra Khokhlova (1975). 50 Years in Cinema. — Moscow: Iskusstvo, p. 83
  10. ^ "«Евгений Базаров» В. Э. Мейерхольда. Новые материалы - Номер 76". www.kinozapiski.ru. Retrieved 2022-12-02.
  11. ^ Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko (2003). Artistic Heritage in 4 Volumes. — Moscow: Moscow Art Theatre, pp. 1355, 2718 ISBN 5-9000-2012-6