Behind the scenes of the film "Height": Why the shooting was called the acting feat of Nikolai Rybnikov and Inna Makarova
Behind the scenes of the film "Height": Why the shooting was called the acting feat of Nikolai Rybnikov and Inna Makarova
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December 13 would have turned 90 years old, the famous Soviet actor, People's Artist of the RSFSR Nikolai Rybnikov, but 30 years ago he passed away. Most viewers remembered him for his roles in the films "Spring on Zarechnaya Street" and "Girls", but his "acting feat" was called another film - "Height". Together with Inna Makarova, they performed such stunts on the set that the director's knees were trembling. But for the actress, this work became a real test for another reason - just at that time she found out that her husband, Sergei Bondarchuk, decided to leave her for another actress …

Still from the film Height, 1957

In the late 1950s. Nikolai Rybnikov was at the zenith of fame - after the release of "Spring on Zarechnaya Street" he became a star of the all-Union scale, and just a year later another hit with his participation - "Height" was released. These two films were called a symbol of the "thaw" era - they really reflected the atmosphere of that period, a time of hope, optimism and a firm belief that the country is on the right path. Belief in ideals was then still so sincere that the enthusiasm of the climbers in the construction of the metallurgical plant, their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the sake of a common cause did not sound fake, and the film on a production theme was not perceived by the audience as another "propaganda" and "state order".

Nikolay Rybnikov as the foreman of installers Kolya Pasechnik Still from the film Height, 1957

Of course, this was the merit of director Alexander Zarkhi, his amazingly accurate choice of actors and, of course, their skill. They managed to portray the usual production process at the factory on screens as an extreme environment associated with risk and romance, where the best human qualities manifest themselves and strong feelings arise. The director's daughter Nina Zarkhi said about her father: "".

Still from the film Height, 1957 Actors performed complex stunts at high altitude

The audience immediately believed the foreman of installers Nikolai Pasechnik performed by Nikolai Rybnikov and the welder Katya performed by Inna Makarova also because the actors themselves actually lived on the set for several days in the lives of their heroes. Field shooting was carried out at a plant in Dneprodzerzhinsk, at the actual construction of a blast furnace, it was about the work of high-rise installers, and in order to achieve maximum lifelikeness and realism, the actors themselves decided to rise to a height of 40-60 meters and do everything they had to would be in such a situation to make their heroes in the same conditions. At the same time, they did not want to hear about the help of stuntmen.

Nikolay Rybnikov in the film Height, 1957 Actors performed complex stunts at high altitude

Inna Makarova and Nikolai Rybnikov climbed ladders and walkways and worked at a very high altitude. The actress said: "".

Actors performed complex stunts at high altitude

Of course, such stunts were unsafe, and there were some injuries on the set. Later, what Nikolai Rybnikov did was called a real acting feat. In one episode, he had to descend from a great height down on his hands along an iron cable. But Rybnikov did not have time to bring gloves, and he slid down, squeezing the cable with his bare hands! Only when it was necessary to shoot another take, it turned out that his palms were ripped off in blood. Nevertheless, he put on gloves and moved out a second time.

Nikolay Rybnikov as the foreman of installers Kolya Pasechnik Inna Makarova in the film Height, 1957

Director Alexander Zarkhi was terrified of heights and, when he watched the actors, his knees trembled. And Inna Makarova teased him, climbing after filming on a board suspended at a high height and dancing on it.At the same time, she asked the director to evaluate her dance. The actress recalled: "".

Nikolay Rybnikov in the film Height, 1957 Still from the film Height, 1957

For the young actress, these shootings became a test also because just at that time her family with actor Sergei Bondarchuk broke up. At that moment, he was filming in Kiev in the film "Ivan Franko" and hid from his wife the fact that Irina Skobtseva again became his partner on the set. They already starred together in the film "Othello", and even then a spark ran between them.

Sergei Bondarchuk and Irina Skobtseva in the film Ivan Franko, 1956 Inna Makarova as Katya Petrashen

"Well-wishers" brought rumors to Inna Makarova about his affair with another actress, but she did not believe that he could leave the family. But after the filming of "Heights" was completed, it still happened. Sergei Bondarchuk divorced Inna Makarova and married Irina Skobtseva. The actress was going through parting with him for a very long time and painfully.

Inna Makarova in the film Height, 1957 Inna Makarova as Katya Petrashen

But Nikolai Rybnikov, on the other hand, had an old dream come true while filming Vysot - he finally heard the cherished “Yes” from the woman he had been striving for for many years. Actress Alla Larionova had been his only love since his student years, but she then preferred actor Ivan Pereverzev to him. He left her when she was expecting a child from him, and married another. Upon learning of this, Rybnikov immediately rushed to Larionova and proposed to her. On January 2, 1957, they got married, and soon the premiere of "Heights" took place at the House of Cinema, where the actors appeared together. The phrase of the hero Rybnikov "Well, Kolya, your bachelor life is over!" the hall was greeted with applause in honor of the newlyweds.

Nikolay Rybnikov with his wife, Alla Larionova Nikolay Rybnikov as the foreman of installers Kolya Pasechnik

"Vysota" enjoyed incredible success with the audience not only due to the brilliant work of the actors, but also thanks to the wonderful music of Rodion Shchedrin, for whom this film became a debut in a big cinema. The song "March of the Fitters" ("We are not stokers, not carpenters …"), written by him to the words of Vladimir Kotov, performed by Nikolai Rybnikov, became one of the most popular hits of the late 1950s.

Inna Makarova in the film Height, 1957 Soviet screen magazine, 1957

The film by Alexander Zarkhi was appreciated by both viewers and critics. In the year of its premiere, it was watched by about 25 million people. At the beginning of 1958, the magazine "Soviet Screen" for the first time conducted a poll of readers, according to the results of which the best films and actors of the past year were determined. Later it was held annually until 1991, and the winner of the first poll was the film "Height". In 1957, the director received the main prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the Gold Medal at the Moscow IFF for his work.

Still from the film Height, 1957

Unfortunately, the type of the actor, which allowed him to become one of the brightest stars of the 1950s-1960s, later played a cruel joke on him: Why did the guy from Zarechnaya Street Nikolay Rybnikov stop acting in films.

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