Wednesday, July 29, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MALEVA!
When Maleva, the "Gypsy Woman", intones "De vay you valked wus torny", over the dying Larry Talbot in Universal's 1941 THE WOLF MAN, she lifted the curse of the werewolf forever, or at least a few years later until FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN.
Russian-born Maria Ouspenskaya (1876-1949) will be remembered by horror film fans for her brief, but indelible appearances as the aforementioned Maleva. She appears to come, literally out of the mist, to Talbot's aid in the most fortuitous of situations, as if she were his guardian angel.
The chain-smoking Ouspenskaya was quite respected as an actress in her day. IMDB states that she was "addicted" to astrology and would interrupt a film's production until the stars were right for her to go in front of the camera, which added a colorful but problematic dimension to her persona.
Following is an article from SCREENLAND, April 1941. In it, she reflects on her life and the struggles she had along her own "thorny way". When told by her mother, "You are an Ugly Duckling. Men will not seek you out. Your salvation lies in developing your intelligence", she knew she was telling her the truth and took her advice. The result was a remarkable life and career in the theater and films.