Behind the scenes of the film "It can't be!": How Yuri Nikulin and Mikhail Svetin offended Leonid Gaidai
Behind the scenes of the film "It can't be!": How Yuri Nikulin and Mikhail Svetin offended Leonid Gaidai

27 years ago, on November 19, 1993, the famous Soviet film director and screenwriter, People's Artist of the USSR Leonid Gaidai passed away. He went down in the history of Russian cinema as a recognized master of the comedy genre, who shot the films Operation Y and Other Adventures of Shurik, Prisoner of the Caucasus and The Diamond Hand. But besides these works, in his filmography there are other wonderful comedies, which are rarely mentioned these days, such as the film "It Can't Be!". The director, as always, managed to collect a brilliant cast of actors in him, but only after that he harbored a grudge against some of his favorites …

Director Leonid Gaidai

Leonid Gaidai was an admirer of Mikhail Zoshchenko's work: in Operation Y, the plot of the central novella was inspired by his story An Interesting Theft in a Cooperative, and the plot of three short stories was based on the Comedy It Can't Be! the stories "Funny Adventure", "Wedding Accident" and the play "Crime and Punishment" were written. The director's favorite era was the 1920s, which he had already reproduced in the film 12 Chairs. The action of the new film also took place in this era. At first Gaidai wanted to use the same technique as in the comedy "Ivan Vasilyevich Changes His Profession" - to transfer the action to the present, but this idea had to be abandoned. The artistic council stated that the philistine realities of life with all manifestations of lack of spirituality, drunkenness and thirst for profit of the inhabitants remained in the distant past, and therefore they were strongly discouraged from transferring them into Soviet reality.

Director with actors on the set of the film Leonid Gaidai and Yuri Nikulin

Gaidai preferred to work with a proven, well-known team, and therefore invited the same screenwriter, cameraman, costume designer and actors with whom he had already worked. One of Gaidai's most beloved actors was Yuri Nikulin, who became popularly known precisely thanks to the comedies of this director. In the new film, he was supposed to play the bridegroom in the third short story "The Wedding Accident" - it was for him that this hero was written in the script.

One of the most beloved actors of Leonid Gaidai Yuri Nikulin

The actor passed the photo tests, but unexpectedly refused to further participate in the filming. 2 years before that, he did not want to play the main role in the film "Ivan Vasilyevich Changes His Profession", and then again refused. He had his own reasons for this - at that time he was very busy in the circus and could not find time for filming because of his main job. The director reacted to this very painfully, and on this their cooperation with Nikulin ceased forever. Guess harbored a grudge against him for many years and promised himself never to shoot Nikulin again. As a result, he gave the role of the bridegroom to another favorite of his, Georgy Vitsin, who, it must be admitted, coped with it brilliantly.

Georgy Vitsin in the film It Can't Be !, 1975 Vyacheslav Innocent and Mikhail Svetin in the film It Can't Be !, 1975

Gaidaevsky "newcomer" was the actor Mikhail Svetin - before that they had not met on the set. At that time, the actor was already 45 years old, but all of his most famous roles were still to come, and he owed his success to the film "It Can't Be!", After which he gained his first resounding popularity. Later Svetin admitted that on the set he was very worried, having got to the recognized master of comedy Gaidai, it seemed to him all the time that the image he created was not funny enough. To fight his fear, he constantly improvised.In the episode with the costume fitting, it was he who came up with the scene with the clothespins, which became one of the funniest. But Svetin's penchant for improvisation has grown into the habit of arguing with the director's interpretations. He constantly explained to the operator and director how best to shoot this or that scene, which infuriated them.

Mikhail Svetin in the film It Can't Be !, 1975

Thanks to Gaidai, who revealed Svetin's comedic talent, the actor subsequently got other roles, after which he was called the king of comedy films. However, after a few years, relations with him were ruined. Mikhail Svetin never became a "Gaidaevsky" actor. And he himself believed that it was his fault. In 1989, the director invited him to his film "Private detective, or Operation" Cooperation ", and on the set the same story was repeated - Svetin argued with the director. Nevertheless, Gaidai offered him a role in the next film "The weather is good on Deribasovskaya, or it is raining on Brighton Beach honey agaric." The actor read the script and said that he sees his character differently. Here Gaidai could no longer stand it, replaced him with another actor and did not communicate with him anymore. "", - the actor admitted years later. He very much regretted that he had not had time to thank the director for giving him a ticket to a big movie.

Still from the film Can't be !, 1975 Natalia Krachkovskaya in the film It Can't Be !, 1975

But Natalia Krachkovskaya never allowed herself to argue with Gaidai. Later, she said that it was he who discovered the actress in her, and called him her godfather in comedy films. In the film "It Can't Be!" she starred in two short stories, and although the episodes were small, they became very vivid and memorable. The most comical episode in the first story was when the heroine of Krachkovskaya fell, and the character of Igor Yasulovich had to raise her. "", - the actress recalled.

Still from the film Can't be !, 1975 Oleg Dal in the film It Can't Be !, 1975

The actors who were accustomed to seeing in other roles - Oleg Dal and Valentina Telichkina - clearly stood out from the "Gaidaevsky" ensemble. Dal initially refused Gaidai's offer, since he considered his work too frivolous and lightweight. Usually, Dahl refused even dramatic roles if he considered them not deep enough. Later, he still allowed himself to be persuaded, brilliantly coped with the tasks set before him, but he did not change his opinion - he was a fan of another movie. But Valentina Telichkina was very happy with the opportunity to try her hand at the comedy genre and was very pleased with the work with Gaidai.

Oleg Dal in the film It Can't Be !, 1975 Still from the film Can't be !, 1975

When 45 years ago, in October 1975, the premiere of the film "It Can't Be!" And although the new comedy was watched by more than 50 million people and it became one of the leaders of the box office, the opinions of the public were divided. Someone admired Gaidai's recognizable style, someone considered this work unsuccessful.

Valentina Telichkina and Leonid Kuravlev in the film It Can't Be !, 1975 Valentina Telichkina and Leonid Kuravlev in the film It Can't Be !, 1975

Film critic Yuri Smelkov wrote: "".

Movie Posters

Many actors dreamed of filming for Gaidai, because even in episodes he played masters, and participation in his films guaranteed success. One of the actresses who played a cameo role in the comedy “It Can't Be!” Unexpectedly disappeared from the screens shortly after filming: Larisa Eremina's American Dream.

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