Behind the scenes of "Autumn Marathon": Why Danelia thought he had made a "male horror film"
Behind the scenes of "Autumn Marathon": Why Danelia thought he had made a "male horror film"
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Stills from the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

37 years have passed since the release of this film, but it still does not lose its relevance and still enjoys the same popularity among viewers, although after the premiere, director Georgy Danelia heard a lot of indignant reviews: women were unhappy that the main character was so and did not make a choice between his wife and his mistress, and their spouses called "Autumn marathon" a male horror film. And this was not an exaggeration - almost all the members of the film group admitted that they themselves are very close and understandable to the situation in which the hero of Oleg Basilashvili finds himself.

Natalia Gundareva and Oleg Basilashvili in the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

The script, titled "The Woeful Life of a Rogue", remained unclaimed on Mosfilm for a long time - none of the directors took up the adaptation of an unpretentious story about the throwing of an elderly intellectual between his wife and his mistress. The scriptwriter Alexander Volodin said that this plot was autobiographical and based on his personal experience. Perhaps, for the same reasons, Georgy Danelia took up the adaptation - later the director admitted that at that moment very similar events took place: "". And after the release of the film, hundreds of men recognized themselves in the main character and lamented: you won't go to this film with a woman!

Oleg Basilashvili as Buzykin

The main character was actually supposed to be played by Alexander Kalyagin - it was for him that the script was written. However, Danelia thought that in this image he would look inorganic. The search for the actor lasted quite a long time - Stanislav Lyubshin, Nikolai Gubenko and Leonid Kuravlev applied for this role. The director did not even consider Oleg Basilashvili among the main contenders. He appeared on the set at the initiative of the assistant director Elena Sudakova, while she did not even warn anyone that she had invited him to audition.

Shot from the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

Danelia found himself in an awkward situation - he had to pretend that the actor was really expected. However, he made the final decision only after he drove Basilashvili home and saw him hesitantly treading on the crossroads, not daring to cross the road. As it turned out later, this was part of the plan: the director's assistant asked the actor to stay longer in the image of the main character, so that Danelia was convinced that in front of him was the real Buzykin.

Marina Neelova in the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

But the actress for the role of his mistress was immediately found - Danelia had long wanted to work with Marina Neyelova and saw only her in this image. Although at first it was difficult for them to find a common language on the set - it turned out that the actress herself experienced a similar situation and tried in every possible way to justify the heroine, make the image deeper and more dramatic, and arouse sympathy from the audience for her. The director had a slightly different interpretation of this image, but he made concessions and agreed with Neelova.

Shot from the film Autumn Marathon, 1979 Natalia Gundareva in the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

Like the main character in the film, the director found himself between two fires on the set: Natalya Gundareva, who played the role of Buzykin's wife, also saw the image in her own way and became a serious rival to Neelova in the struggle for audience sympathy. The actress, who also played the role of a deceived wife in life, made so many comments during the filming that the director had to delicately remind her of who was in charge of the filming process: "".Although, perhaps, thanks to the two brilliant actresses who played the main roles, the film turned out to be so deep and ambiguous: there are no guilty ones in this triangle, everyone was just hostages of the situation.

Galina Volchek in the film Autumn Marathon, 1979 Galina Volchek in the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

The director had a hard time with another actress - for the role of Buzykin's colleague, translator Varvara, Galina Volchek was approved, who herself was the director and head of the Sovremennik theater. Nevertheless, she gave her consent to take part in the filming, although she remained extremely unhappy with the result: it seemed to her that her heroine came out so disgusting and unpleasant that it simply could not be shown on the screens.

Evgeny Leonov in the film Autumn Marathon, 1979 Shot from the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

But Danelia really enjoyed working with Yevgeny Leonov - this was one of his favorite actors, whom he filmed in almost every film. At first, he was offered the role of the neighbor of the heroine Neelova, who constantly expressed his sympathy for her, but after that they decided that in the role of the charming drunkard Vasily Ignatievich, the actor would look much more spectacular. The calculation turned out to be correct: all the phrases of Leonov's character immediately diverged into quotes:.

Norbert Kuchinke and Evgeny Leonov in the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

The role of the Danish professor Hansen was played by the West German journalist Norbert Kuchinke. He got to the set by accident - due to the fact that he was familiar with the second director. True, in order to get a foreigner in the cast, it was necessary to bypass many instances - from the foreign department of the State Film Agency to the KGB.

Shot from the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

The director was very pleased with the result, although in the year of the premiere, the picture did not enjoy such incredible success as it expected a few years later. Danelia said that he made three films for the "top five" - ​​"I walk around Moscow", "Do not cry" and "Autumn Marathon". "" - said the director.

Norbert Kuchinke in the film Autumn Marathon, 1979

Each of her roles was an accurate hit on the target, perhaps because in her life she had to go through a lot of dramas: The difficult path to happiness of Marina Neyelova.

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