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Behind the Scenes of the Headless Horseman: Why the Cult Soviet Western Was Banned 10 Years After Filming
Behind the Scenes of the Headless Horseman: Why the Cult Soviet Western Was Banned 10 Years After Filming
Anonim

4 years ago, on May 15, 2017, the actor, film director and producer Oleg Vidov passed away. In the 1960-1970s. he was called one of the most beautiful and popular Soviet artists, but after he emigrated to the United States, his name was long consigned to oblivion in his homeland. One of the most famous films with his participation was the Western Headless Horseman. In 1973, it made a splash: it was watched by almost 52 million viewers, but 10 years later it was banned from showing. What was the reason for the ban, why many were sure that the film was filmed in Cuba, and who actually played the role of the headless horseman - further in the review.

Western without Goiko Mitic

Shot from the movie The Headless Horseman, 1973

The Headless Horseman was the penultimate work of director Vladimir Vainshtok. He was a recognized master of adventure cinema: in the 1930s. he directed Captain Grant's Children and Treasure Island. After a pause in work that lasted for more than 30 years, the director decided to return to cinema, while he really wanted to surpass his past achievements in his favorite genre. For the film adaptation, the novel by Mein Reed "The Headless Horseman" was chosen, the author of the Russian translation of which was a friend and co-author of the director, writer, historian, journalist Lev Rubinstein. Then these novels were read not only by teenagers - many in the USSR dreamed of learning about the Wild West at least from books.

Lyudmila Savelyeva in the film Headless Horseman, 1973

The director co-wrote the script with Pavel Finn, and together they went to Yugoslavia, where they planned to shoot. They wanted to involve Gojko Mitic in participation, because the Yugoslav paintings with his participation were in great demand among Soviet viewers. A western town had already been built near Belgrade, and in this case it would not have been necessary to look for new sets for filming. But in 1968 Soviet tanks entered Prague, and Yugoslavia supported the Czechs. Further cooperation with the USSR was out of the question. Weinstock's plans fell through, for several years he sought a new permission to shoot and looked for new foreign partners, because the director dreamed that the picture would appear not only in the Soviet box office.

Eslinda Nunez in The Headless Horseman, 1973

They managed to agree with the Cubans, and they offered to use their stars in the filming: the beautiful Eslinda Nunez and the brutal Enrique Santiesteban. In addition to them, several Cuban artists came to the USSR. The director saw Oleg Strizhenov in the title role - mustanger Maurice Gerald, but he refused the offer, saying that he was used to playing horsemen with a head.

Lyudmila Savelyeva in the film Headless Horseman, 1973

And then the role was offered to Oleg Vidov - a bright courageous handsome man with a "non-Soviet" appearance. Now his type would be called Hollywood. In the role of romantic heroes, he looked incredibly impressive, and his hit in the image was one hundred percent. And in a duet with Lyudmila Savelyeva, they became one of the most beautiful Soviet cinema couples.

Crimean Wild West

Enrique Santiesteban in The Headless Horseman, 1973

In the crowd scenes, the slaves were supposed to be portrayed by dark-skinned extras, and it was too expensive to transport extras from Cuba. Fortunately, then many Cuban students studied in Simferopol, and they were attracted to the filming. But the biggest problem was the search for four-legged "actors". It was not possible to find the Mustangs, and the manes and tails of ordinary Crimean horses were painted with silver paint.The horses looked fantastic on the screens, because in nature this color does not exist.

Shot from the movie The Headless Horseman, 1973

They planned to shoot in the Crimea, in the Belogorsk region, at the White Rock. But at the same time the film "Cipollino" was being filmed there, and a cowboy town was built in the neighborhood, in Krasnaya Balka. And the White Rock in the background became the main scenery of the film. The Crimean landscape did not look like the sun-scorched prairies of Texas, and the vegetation had to be repainted, adding plastic cacti to it. The decorators made cotton fields by scattering ordinary cotton wool on the grass.

Shot from the movie The Headless Horseman, 1973

As a result, the Wild West looked so believable that not only many viewers, but even film critics decided that the shooting took place in Cuba. One of them wrote: "e".

Headless horsewoman

Shot from the movie The Headless Horseman, 1973

The most important mystery of the film was the performer of the role of the headless horseman. At first, they said that for this they attracted schoolchildren, putting fake shoulders with a cloak on their heads. However, at the same time, the horse had to be driven without a bridle and reins, which required a certain level of skill. And the boys would hardly have coped with this.

Shot from the movie The Headless Horseman, 1973

Another version seems more likely: in the saddle there was a short girl trainer from the Ramensk stud farm, a champion of equestrian sports. She was put on the same frame with holes for the eyes, and she controlled the horse only with her legs. The mystical scene with the rider, as if floating on the clouds, was filmed without special effects - the director just waited for a thick fog.

How one of the highest grossing Soviet films was banned

The Headless Horseman movie posters, 1973

When the Headless Horseman was released in the summer of 1973, critics greeted him very cool, but the audience was delighted: the film was watched by 51, 7 million people, and he became one of the leaders of the box office, taking 33rd position in the list the highest-grossing films in the entire history of the existence of Soviet cinema. In Cuba, the film enjoyed the same immense popularity.

Oleg Vidov as Maurice Gerald

The role of Maurice Gerald became Oleg Vidov's calling card and one of his best films. The Headless Horseman owed much of its success to the leading actor, but 10 years later he also became the reason that the film was banned from showing. After in the 1980s. the actor decided to emigrate to the United States, his most famous film work was immediately stopped showing on television, and the name of Oleg Vidov was consigned to oblivion. The “Headless Horseman” was even excluded from the tables for internal use by employees of the Glavkinoprokat. Only after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the film returned to the screens, and although years later it seemed too naive, the audience still loves it today.

Oleg Vidov as Maurice Gerald

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