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Why Mordyukov and Morgunov were offended by Sergei Gerasimov, and why his students fainted in pairs
Why Mordyukov and Morgunov were offended by Sergei Gerasimov, and why his students fainted in pairs

June 3 marks the 115th anniversary of the birth of the famous director, actor, screenwriter and teacher, People's Artist of the USSR Sergei Gerasimov. Together with his wife, actress Tamara Makarova, they graduated 8 courses from VGIK and brought up as many famous actors and directors as, probably, no other master had. His students idolized him, because he communicated with them on an equal footing and gave many a ticket to a big cinema during his studies. However, among them there were those who considered his decisions unjust and harbored a grudge against him. For example, Nonna Mordyukova and Yevgeny Morgunov believed that the teacher almost ruined their careers.

Sergey Gerasimov in his youth

Sergey Gerasimov began his journey as an actor, and later as a silent film director. The first success came to him at the age of 30, after filming the first sound film "Seven Brave". The most significant directorial works of Gerasimov were the films "Young Guard" and "Quiet Don", thanks to which a whole galaxy of his students began their journey to cinema. Pedagogical activity has become almost the main business of the life of Sergei Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova, because in this business they were real jewelers who cut a lot of diamonds.

Sergey Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova

Sergey Gerasimov took his first acting and directing course at VGIK in 1944, and is usually called the most stellar among all his students: Sergey Bondarchuk, Inna Makarova, Klara Luchko, Evgeny Morgunov, Tatyana Lioznova studied there. When they were in their second year, Alexander Fadeev's novel "Young Guard" was published, and Gerasimov immediately decided to stage a play based on it. The production was so successful that the director took up the adaptation.

Hot blood of the Cossack woman

Nonna Mordyukova as Ulyana Gromova

In the play, Gerasimov's student Klara Luchko played the main female role, and everyone was sure that she would also embody the image of Ulyana Gromova in the film. But just before the start of filming, the director saw at one of the student shows Nonna Mordyukova, a student of the course of Boris Bibikov and Olga Pyzhova, who was a year younger. The black-browed Don Cossack woman so impressed him with her inner strength and incredible organic matter that he immediately decided: this is how Ulyana Gromov should look on the screen! After that, Luchko even thought about leaving the acting profession, but her talent also did not go unnoticed - Ivan Pyryev shot her in the film "Kuban Cossacks".

Shot from the film Young Guard, 1948

Later Nonna Mordyukova recalled: "".

Shot from the film Young Guard, 1948

All the students tried so hard not to let their teacher down that the work was incredibly well-coordinated and inspirational. On the set, a romantic atmosphere reigned: two novels began on the set, ending with weddings - with Sergei Bondarchuk and Inna Makarova and Nonna Mordyukova and Vyacheslav Tikhonov. Immediately after filming, Mordyukova introduced her parents to her chosen one, and Tikhonov made a very good impression on them. Imagine their surprise when Gerasimov himself came to woo them soon after! Not only was he 20 years older than Nonna, but the director was also married. But he completely lost his head from his Ulyana Gromova and was even ready to divorce in order to marry her. Of course, the parents insisted that their daughter marry Tikhonov, and she refused Gerasimov.

Elina Bystritskaya as Aksinya in the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958

7 years later, Sergei Gerasimov began filming the film "Quiet Don". Nonna Mordyukova hoped that the director would offer her the role of Aksinya - who, if not her, should play the Don Cossack woman! But instead of her, Elina Bystritskaya was approved, because of which her rival almost killed herself. She could not forgive Gerasimov for this decision and was sure that it was dictated by the desire to take revenge on her for refusing to marry him.

Elina Bystritskaya and Sergey Gerasimov on the set of the film Quiet Flows the Don

In fact, everyone who knew the director well, unanimously repeated: he was not a vindictive person, moreover, professional principles were in the foreground for him, and he would not give them up because of some personal interests. The director's instinct never let him down, and if something influenced his decision, it was the opinion of the author of The Quiet Don, Mikhail Sholokhov: the writer himself insisted on Bystritskaya's candidacy, considering her an ideal fit into the image of Aksinya. And Mordyukova harbored a grudge against both Gerasimov and Bystritskaya.

Obida Morgunova

Evgeny Morgunov in the film Young Guard, 1948

Among the students of Sergei Gerasimov was another actor, who believed that the teacher almost ruined his film career. Together with Sergei Bondarchuk and Inna Makarova, their classmate, Evgeny Morgunov, also starred in "Young Guard", but if the audience noticed him in this film, they did not recognize him. Then he was young, slender, fit and outwardly did not resemble the hero of Gaidai's comedies, which would later bring him all-Union popularity. And in "Young Guard" he got the role of a traitor - an underground worker who handed over his comrades. His classmates played real heroes, the whole country fell in love with them, and during the tour he was trapped and beaten by boys who hunted down the "enemy of the people." And although the episodes with his participation during the final editing were greatly reduced, the negative image created by Morgunov turned out to be so vivid that it played a cruel joke on him.

Evgeny Morgunov in his youth and mature years

Glory and success went to his partners, and he was identified with his character and bombarded with letters with offensive content. Morgunov blamed Gerasimov for this, who did not give him the opportunity to start his career in cinema with a triumphant role. In revenge, the actor decided to play a trick on the teacher and once hid his government award. Gerasimov did not appreciate this evil prank and did not invite Morgunov to his films anymore. The actor believed that he allegedly hindered his further film career, but, judging by his filmography, Morgunov continued to actively star in other directors in other roles. And the audience did not remember his early works for other reasons: at the age of 25, the actor was diagnosed with diabetes, and he began to rapidly gain weight. And those who recognized him from Gaidai's films simply did not recognize him in previous films.

Strict and fair

Sergey Gerasimov with his students

At the same time, most of Gerasimov's students were very grateful to him, because he communicated with them on an equal footing, encouraged and encouraged, knew how to instill in each of them the confidence that he was his best and most beloved student. He lit the brightest stars of Soviet cinema: Alla Larionova, Nikolai Rybnikov, Zinaida Kirienko, Lyudmila Gurchenko, Yevgeny Zharikov, Nikolai Gubenko, Zhanna Bolotova, Galina Polskikh, Natalia Bondarchuk, Natalia Belokhvostikova, Nikolai Eremenko Jr. and many others. Students treated Gerasimov and Makarova as parents, because they took care of them not only in their careers - if they found out that someone did not have money for lunch, they fed them themselves. When the students graduated from the institute, the teachers continued to follow them, worried that they would not be left without work. Larisa Luzhina said that Gerasimov literally imposed her on Stanislav Rostotsky for the lead role in his film On Seven Winds.

Sergey Gerasimov with his students

The teacher Gerasimov was demanding, strict, but fair. He burned with his work and expected the same dedication from his students. Sometimes this led to curiosities. Once, during Gerasimov's fiery speech at a lecture, Yevgeny Zharikov yawned loudly. The teacher was furious: "" The student was so scared that he lost consciousness.Of course, no one began to deduct him.

Evgeny Zharikov in his youth

Sergei Gerasimov was a creative and enthusiastic person, and more than once he lost his head from the actresses with whom he worked. But his wife knew: he fell in love not with women, but with their talent and the images they created, and all his life he loved and idolized only her alone. The Great Union of Equals: Sergei Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova.

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