Comedy "Carnival Night" was released 60 years ago, on New Year's Eve 1957, and immediately gained incredible popularity and became the leader of the Soviet film distribution. It was watched by 50 million viewers, and an unknown 29-year-old documentary filmmaker Eldar Ryazanov and 21-year-old student of VGIK Lyudmila Gurchenko literally the next morning they woke up famous. But at the first viewing on Mosfilm, the comedy was predicted to fail at the box office, and Ryazanov categorically refused to shoot Gurchenko and Ilyinsky in the main roles. Nobody imagined that "Carnival Night" will become one of the most beloved New Year's comedies.
The young director Eldar Ryazanov wanted to shoot a drama, and when the director of Mosfilm, Ivan Pyriev, invited him to take up musical comedy, he flatly refused. Moreover, just at that moment Ryazanov was going to go on vacation. However, Pyriev insisted on his own, and Ryazanov began filming. To help the inexperienced director, the director of the studio has assembled a team of professionals. On the one hand, this helped Ryazanov, and on the other hand, it slowed down the work: everyone strove to explain how to shoot a film.
Once the director saw that the filming process was taking place in his absence. Ryazanov was outraged by the operator's self-will, but decided not to make a scandal. And to remind the film crew about who should lead the process, returning to the pavilion, he said: "This take is not printed!"
In the role of the bureaucrat Ogurtsov, Ryazanov intended to shoot Pyotr Konstantinov, although he, according to the director, "was not so much amused as he was frightening." But Pyryev saw only Igor Ilyinsky in this role, and again insisted on his own. Ryazanov later said that he was glad of this decision. Lyudmila Gurchenko also appeared in the film against the director's wishes: her auditions were unsuccessful, an inexperienced cameraman filmed, and the result did not live up to expectations. Then Pyryev took her to the pavilion and categorically declared: "He will play!"
The controversy did not stop throughout the filming. Ryazanov recalled: “Gradually I began to apply my favorite tactics to Pyryev. When he gave directive advice to me about something that was not to my liking, I pretended to agree. He did not dare to object - he was afraid of Pyriev. Then he went to the pavilion or editing room and did it in his own way. But Ivan Alexandrovich was not one of those who can be deceived. He soon saw through my maneuvers and, calling me a "quiet stubborn", continued to persist and achieved his goal."
The young director did not succeed in everything, many scenes had to be re-shot, the budget was overspending, the deadlines were behind. Therefore, nothing good was expected from the premiere at Mosfilm. Seeing the footage, the members of the artistic council called the material boring and mediocre. But it was too late to change the actors and the director, so Ryazanov was allowed to complete the shooting.
When Ryazanov re-watched Carnival Night many years later, the film seemed hopelessly old-fashioned and naive to him. Although some points are still relevant: “But one, unfortunately, has not faded: the image of a fool who categorically and illiterately tries to lead. In this case, art.Consequently, the social prerequisites that gave birth to the image of Ogurtsov almost forty years ago are still alive in our country and now, despite perestroika, the fact that we allegedly live in a different social society. Only by the vitality of the bureaucracy can I explain the kind words about the satirical film created many years ago. Indeed, over the years, both the manner in which the actors play and the style of shooting have changed. That is why I draw the conclusion: if the picture is still alive, it is only thanks to the problematics that are still relevant,”the director wrote in his memoirs.
The comedy really does not lose its relevance, everyone remembers the song about five minutes performed by Gurchenko, as well as the phrases that have become winged: "We will not take Baba Yaga from the outside - we will bring up in our team", "There is a plan to cheerfully celebrate the New Year", "Comrades! Whether there is life on Mars, whether there is life on Mars - this is not known to science, science is not yet in the know."
The director wrote a book of memoirs about the filming of this comedy and his other films: "Unsummed results" by Eldar Ryazanov