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The Silent Lady

Elegant and sad

Vera Kholodnaya statue by Alexander Tokarev

Vera Kholodnaya statue by Alexander Tokarev

"Empress Of The Silver Screen "- Vera Kholodnaya

In 2019, without planning, I visited Odessa twice in five months, and in my first trip I felt in love with the city, Parisienne boulevards, elegant buildings, Opera building, statues , parks, cafes all were very beautiful, but I had to visit Odessa second time to learn that Odessa was a city of literature and art.

During my second visit I had the opportunity to visit Art Museum, Pushkin Museum, Literature Museum and as a writer felt a connection with the Ukrainian artists.

While strolling in the city, a bronze woman statue caught my attention. It was not big or very grant, a very elegant statue of life size.

I Searched Google, here's what I found :) Vera Kholodnaya... silent movie star... first the photos affect me, and then I went deep into her life. I read articles, blogs, I read...

I imagined a scene in 1919, starting with the death of a silent movie star... how many people were killed by Spanish Flu in those years...flu after the war so sad and dramatic.

In February 1919, civil war, cold nothing could stop the Odessa people from coming to the Popudov house in Sobornoya Square and wait for hours. Young girls, old women, young men, Jews, Russians, Tatars, all Odessa people were waiting, prating, crying. “Empress of the silver screen " the love of all Russia, Vera, who with her misty eyes, childlike sexiness had made millions fall in love with herself in just five years, lay sick at home.

Actually, Vera usually died in her movies, like the Camellian woman, but no one could match her death from real life. Her funeral was also an event, perhaps she played her most important role. Her funeral was a big event and was filmed. People watched all her films a million times until the Russians banned the films in 1924.

Dying at twenty-five... leaving eighty movies behind and then her films got banned what a sad life.

Twilight of the gods


Her Life and Films

In fact Vera started life in a very good era, the late 1800s, early 1900s were glittering days. Electricity, telephone, cinema, cars and many more technological innovations. In Russia's third largest city, Odessa she had a very good life. At the beginning of the late 1990's Odessa was like a fairy tale, in spring blooming Acacia, theatres, operas, concerts, exhibits, entertainment, and the newly established theaters, intellectual people who spoke at least three languages.

Born into a noble family in Odessa, Vera was a timid, dreamy, fragile child who played with her babies for hours. She had dreams of becoming a ballerina and when she moved to Moscow with his grandmother, she became a student of the Bolshov Ballet School. But she was forced to drop out of ballet school when her grandmother said it was out of the question for noble young girls to perform on stage. Vera loved the stage; she loved the audience. After seeing a friend from ballet school play in motion pictures, she applied to become an actress and got a small role in Anna Kararina.

She fell in love with Vladimir Kholodanay, whom she met at a ball, Vladimir, a rich lawyer. They married, had a daughter in 1912, and adopted another daughter in 1913. Because her husband did not want her to act, she stayed at home, but the first World War changed everything. When Vladimir joined the army, Vera started knocking on the directors ' door again. V. Hardin did not want to work with her, he said she didn't have talent, but Yevgeni Bauer had noticed the star light of Vera. Bauer, who planned to shoot “Pesn torzhestvuyushchey lyubvi" (Song of Triumphant Love), a film about a mystical love drama adapted from Turganyev's work, took a risk and gave Vera the lead. They have had an incredible success. The women were crying, the men could not take their eyes off the beautiful Vera.

“A life for a life”, in which she played the lead role, remained in vision for two months, this was a record at that time in the world of cinema, where movies were quickly shot and consumed quickly. She received more love letters than she could read, and men wrote that they would commit suicide because of their love. Each film had more success than the previous film. People watched her films, forgetting about the war, the revolution, the bloodshed. A new movie was coming out every two or three weeks. Vera designed her own dresses, hats, her clothes were published in all magazines, women tried to dress like her. It had been watched in Europe, America, Istanbul and even Japan. Hollywood producers also wanted to work with her.

Behind all this glittering life, she was a lonely woman waiting for her husband. The nobles, the actors, the rich, all the men were in love with her, but she didn't care about any of them. When her husband was wounded in the war, she went to the hospital and looked after him for days.

She loved acting, being on stage, but fame didn't affect her very much,” I'm beginning to think that I no longer exist as a human being, it's not me they admire, it's just my shadow, " she told a friend.

Things got even more complicated when her husband recovered and returned home. Vladimir was bankrupt, he had debts, and he needed Vera's earnings. Needing his wife's money, made him a violent man. He was having fits of jealousy.

In 1919, Vera returned to Odessa, the city where she was born, alone as Vladimir couldn’t get permission to travel. Odessa greeted her with applause and flowers. The governor, the military authorities, even the notorious bandit Misha Yaponchik (who inspired Odessa stories of Babel) worshipped her. But Vera, as usual, was indifferent to all this attention and loyal to her husband.

No one could believe her death. There were a lot of rumors. Like she was poisoned because she was a French spy, actually pretended to be dead and fled Odessa…

Thee silent Queen doesn't have a grave in Odessa. In 1937, the cemetery where she was buried was made Lenin Park. The graves were destroyed.

Her films were banned, her grave destroyed, and she was forgotten.

When Nikita Mikhalkov made the film “Love Slave” in 1976, inspired by Vera's life, the world remembered her.

Odessa people honored her with this elegant statue, her films were searched. Of eighty films, only five have been found, the funeral footage was also revealed.

Odessa Ukraine


Işın Tuzcular (author) from Istanbul on September 25, 2020:

Thanks :)

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2020:

This is a fascinating look at the Silent Lady's life and she died so young. It is great that you decided to research this statue and you discovered a wealth of interesting information. I really enjoyed this article. Thank you for prsenting this information.

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