The film “The Living and the Dead” is 60 years old: the truth about the film has become known

The film “The Living and the Dead” is 60 years old: the truth about the film has become known

60 years ago, viewers were able to see on screen one of the most honest, truthful films about the Great Patriotic War. On February 22, 1964, the premiere of the two-part film “The Living and the Dead” took place. This masterpiece of Soviet cinema has been awarded several awards, and the history of its creation is marked by some amazing and even unique facts.

The power of truth about the war and its heroes, which the film, shot by director Alexander Stolper, carries within itself, turned out to be so great that it even influenced the writer on whose work it was based.

The author of the novel “The Living and the Dead,” Konstantin Simonov, at first did not particularly approve of the actor’s choice for one of the main roles – brigade commander Serpilin. It seemed to the most famous Soviet writer that Anatoly Papanov, who had already become famous by that time for his work in comedy films, was not even suitable for such a dramatic character. However, the artist, who himself was a front-line soldier, turned out to be so convincing in the role of commander of first a regiment and then a division that Konstantin Mikhailovich not only completely agreed with the correctness of director Stolper, but even under the influence of Papanov’s talented acting “reformatted” his idea of ​​the character in his own novel: now He began to associate the image of Serpilin with the very person Papanov played in the film.

And this association was reflected in Simonov’s further work on the trilogy under the general title “The Living and the Dead.” A unique case of “feedback”: the film adaptation influenced the literary work itself.

Konstantin Mikhailovich later confirmed: “It so happened that Papanov played this role before I finished the last book (meaning the novel “The Last Summer,” which also features some of the main characters from “The Living and the Dead” - A.D.). And he played in such a way that when I finished the novel, I saw Serpilin exactly as Papanov played him.”

Among the secrets of the film, which have been revealed to a few, is the participation of Vladimir Vysotsky in it. Even then, the very young artist found himself in a short episode: after the division left the encirclement, political instructor Sintsov (the role was played by Kirill Lavrov) together with several other fighters rode in the back of a semi-truck, heading to the rear. It was one of these Red Army soldiers - a joker, a buffoon - who was played by Vladimir Semenovich. Although the role even has words, the face of the future famous bard is only shown for short moments in the frame due to the figures in the foreground, so many viewers, even after watching the film several times, still do not notice Vysotsky.

Another secret of “The Living and the Dead” is on everyone’s lips. That is, it can be easily heard. Or rather, not to hear. The fact is that in both episodes of the film there is no music at all (except for two short episodes where a radio broadcast is heard). Such a non-standard move was conceived by director Stolper. That's why the credits don't include the traditional line with the composer's name - he simply didn't exist. And as the soundtrack of the film, its creators used natural sounds that accompany the events that unfold in the frame: the crackle of gunfire, the distant roar of guns, the rumble of car engines, the roar of bombers flying high in the sky...

According to the plot, the actions shown in the film take place first in Belarus, then near Moscow. However, these scenes were filmed in completely different places. The filmmakers liked the area in the Vladimir region (where the fighting did not actually reach).

There was even a short report in the local newspaper about the filming of the film in the Vladimir region:

“Not far from Suzdal, in the village of Batyevo, a group of Mosfilm members is currently filming a two-part widescreen film “The Living and the Dead.” All day long tanks rumble in Batyevo, columns of people dressed in soldiers' greatcoats walk through the snow. It seems that nineteen forty-one has come to life again. The village sledges are carrying the wounded Malinin (one of the characters in the film, the company’s political instructor - A.D.). Tanks are moving towards us, as if giving a menacing salute to the courage of the Soviet people... Costume designer Ganna Ganevskaya is also having a lot of trouble. We need to ensure that everything is as it was then, in the difficult times of one thousand nine hundred and forty-one - greatcoats, gas masks. After all, these seemingly little things make up the deep and great truth, the authenticity that the filmmakers strive for...”

As they say, you can’t erase a word from a song. Let us mention another remarkable, although not unequivocally praiseworthy, fact from the history of the creation of “The Living and the Dead”, and reveal another secret of the film, which is now celebrating its 60th anniversary.

For the sake of greater authenticity of the events shown on the screen, the authors of the film decided to sacrifice an ancient building - the dilapidated stone Church of the Resurrection of 1835. Production designer Stalen Volkov spoke about this in an interview with a newspaper correspondent: “Here (in the abandoned village of Batyevo - A.D.) there is everything that was required for filming: ancient houses and a dilapidated church, which we can complete the destruction at our discretion...”

Indeed, in order to make the village “barbarously destroyed by the Nazi occupiers” look more impressive in the frame, before filming the episode with the chance meeting of Sintsov and Serpilin, it was partially blown up.

But the cars burning after a German air raid at the Belarusian Orsha station were filmed 170 kilometers north of the capital - at the railway station of the regional center Kalinin (present-day Tver).

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