Table of contents:
- Alla Larionova's finest hour
- Beauty Award
- The actor is always alone
- Chekhov without a Chekhovian atmosphere
Video: Behind the scenes of the film "Anna on the Neck": Why Alexander Vertinsky did not want to act with Alla Larionova, and later showered her with flowers
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
21 years ago, on April 25, 2000, the famous Soviet actress Alla Larionova, who was called the first beauty of Russian cinema of the 1950s, passed away. One of her first roles, after which they started talking about her not only in the USSR, but also abroad, was the main role in the film adaptation of A. Chekhov's story "Anna on the Neck." Her partner on the set was the legendary artist Alexander Vertinsky. At first, he was categorically opposed to Alla Larionova playing this role, but after meeting her, he not only changed his mind, but even sent her whole baskets of white lilacs …
The director Isidor Annensky was entrusted with the screening of A. Chekhov's story of the same name, who by that time had already shot several films based on Chekhov's works: his diploma short film The Bear and the full-length Man in a Case and The Wedding. As a rule, he wrote the scripts for his paintings himself, and this film was no exception. The director managed to assemble a brilliant cast: the film starred the stars of the Soviet theater and cinema of that time Mikhail Zharov, Alexey Gribov, Vladimir Vladislavsky. The role of the prince was played by the famous singer, composer, poet and actor Alexander Vertinsky.
Alla Larionova's finest hour
The most difficult choice for the director was the choice of the main character. 22 actresses took part in the tests, and among them Annensky chose Alla Larionova, a graduate of VGIK. She made her film debut just 2 years before that moment, but already managed to become famous not only in the USSR, but also abroad: the film "Sadko", where Larionova played the main female role, was presented at the Venice Film Festival, and abroad the actress made a splash … Journalists and film critics wrote about "the sun of Venice in Alla's hair" and called her "the youngest, most fun, most beautiful." She was invited to act in Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin himself offered her a role in his film, but, of course, she was not allowed to go abroad. But upon returning to the USSR, Larionova learned that she had been approved for the main role in the film "Anna on the Neck", which became her calling card and finest hour.
The choice of the main character seemed to many to be unfortunate and incomprehensible. Alexander Vertinsky was categorically against the candidacy of Alla Larionova and insisted that the main role be given to a more experienced actress. In addition, in his opinion, Larionova absolutely did not correspond to the type of Chekhov's heroine, who was described in the story as follows: "". The blonde-haired blue-eyed Larionova not only outwardly was completely different - she did not correspond to Chekhov's heroines in her inner nature. But Annensky was adamant. He said: "".
Film studio them. M. Gorky, on which the shooting took place, did not have the same capabilities as "Mosfilm", constantly there were problems with the pavilions and props. After the ball, the heroine had to wake up in a luxurious huge bed, which was not at the film studio. Only the actor Yevgeny Morgunov found a mahogany bed of suitable size, and he agreed to borrow it for filming. And later he joked more than once that Alla Larionova was sleeping in his bed.
Watching Larionova's work on the set, Vertinsky radically changed his mind - he saw a professional in the aspiring actress. Due to the lack of pavilions, one of the scenes was filmed in the garage of the film studio. The room was not heated, it smelled of gasoline, it was 20-degree frost outside, and Larionova was to “bask” in the bed of the “luxurious bedroom” in a light negligee. The actress coped with the task set before her brilliantly, without complaining about the extreme conditions of filming. Vertinsky watched her work from the side, and at the end of the shooting he came up and kissed her hand, saying: "Bravo … Bravo …".
The ice between them melted with each day of their joint work. And when his hero complimented the heroine Larionova, it already seemed that Vertinsky was addressing all these words to the actress herself: “” Larionova admired Vertinsky's aristocratic manners and listened to his advice on the rules of etiquette, in response he admired her beauty and dedication in work. Of course, they were immediately credited with a novel off-screen. But in fact, from then until the last days of Vertinsky, they had warm friendly relations.
The actor is always alone
The beautiful actress has always had many fans, and their attentions constantly gave rise to gossip. Vertinsky was no exception. A well-known connoisseur of beauty and incredibly gallant gentleman, he knew how to exquisitely express his admiration, but there was no ambiguity in this. They met and after filming in different cities, he sent Larion's basket of white lilacs, which seemed simply incredible in February, when the actress had her birthday. When the actress had a daughter, Alena, Vertinsky wanted to become her godfather. Unfortunately, he did not have time to do this - on May 21, 1957, the legendary artist died.
Once Vertinsky sent Larionova his photo with the following words on the reverse side: “”. The meaning of these words about the public loneliness of the actors Larionova really understood only years later …
Chekhov without a Chekhovian atmosphere
When the film "Anna on the Neck" was released in May 1954, it had an incredible success among viewers: it was watched by almost 32 million people, the picture became the leader of the box office this year. Huge queues gathered at the cinemas, postcards with the image of Alla Larionova were scattered in thousands in kiosks. At the 1957 International Film Festival in Italy, Anna on the Neck received the Golden Olive Branch. The film collected full cinemas not only in the USSR, but also in South America, where the creative group went on tour.
But film critics did not share these enthusiasm. They reproached the director for not recreating the main thing - the atmosphere of the literary source. The film turned out to be bright, effective, but at the same time devoid of Chekhov's subtlety. The main character was very convincing in the image of a gorgeous beauty at the ball, who enjoys the brilliance of high society, but at the same time, it seems, does not suffer at all from the fact that she had to marry a rich old man.
Viktor Shklovsky wrote: "". Director Mikhail Romm agreed with him: "".
Nevertheless, “Anna on the Neck” was unanimously called by many as one of the best film works of the actress, whose further creative destiny was not as successful as one might expect after such a triumph: A tale with a sad ending by Alla Larionova.
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