Behind the scenes of the film "Quiet Don": What Nonna Mordyukova could not forgive Elina Bystritskaya
Behind the scenes of the film "Quiet Don": What Nonna Mordyukova could not forgive Elina Bystritskaya
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Elina Bystritskaya as Aksinya

On April 26, 2019, the famous actress, People's Artist of the USSR and one of the most beautiful women of the twentieth century Elina Bystritskaya died. There are few roles in her filmography - only about 40, but among them there are real masterpieces. This was the role of Aksinya in the legendary film by Sergei Gerasimov "Quiet Don". Much has remained behind the scenes of the film. Why the director forced the actresses to scrape the floors and do hand washing, and what Nonna Mordyukova could not forgive Elina Bystritskaya all her life - further in the review.

Still from the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958

The first film based on Mikhail Sholokhov's novel "Quiet Don" was released back in 1931 - it was a silent film based on the first two volumes of the book, with Andrey Abrikosov and Emma Tsesarskaya in the lead roles. Sergei Gerasimov conceived to shoot his own version of the adaptation of Sholokhov's novel back in 1939, but then he failed to implement the plan due to the suddenly aggravated relationship between Stalin and the author of the work. It was possible to return to the plan only after Stalin's death, and in 1955 the director began work. The first thing he did was send the script to Sholokhov. The writer approved the idea, then the script was approved by the artistic council, and Gerasimov began filming.

Elina Bystritskaya and Sergey Gerasimov on the set of the film On the set of the film

He presented his task as follows: "".

Still from the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958 Elina Bystritskaya as Aksinya

The director approached the selection of actors very carefully - a whole card index of all applicants was compiled not only for the main roles, but also for the secondary ones. As a result, more than 200 actors have gathered! Emma Tsesarskaya, who played this heroine in the silent film of 1931, and Nonna Mordyukova, a graduate of Sergei Gerasimov's course, took part in the role of Aksinya.

Sergey Gerasimov with actors on the set of the film Still from the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958

Elina Bystritskaya dreamed of this role since her youth - since she rehearsed this role for a student production. True, then this attempt was unsuccessful - the master of the course criticized her, saying that her destiny was to play the romantic heroines of Schiller. This time she plucked up the courage and called the director herself, asking him to give her a chance to participate in the auditions. Sholokhov himself insisted on her candidacy, considering her an ideal fit into the image of Aksinya, and Bystritskaya was approved. According to her, because of this, Mordyukova almost killed herself, and after the premiere of the film, when meeting with her rival, she hissed: “” After that, they never publicly expressed antipathy to each other, but Mordyukova was never able to forgive this defeat to her rival …

Elina Bystritskaya as Aksinya On the set of the film

For this role, Elina Bystritskaya had to recover, which was difficult for her. In addition, graceful "city" hands gave her away, and to make them coarse, before filming, the actress was engaged in washing clothes by hand and went to the Don for water with a yoke. Local Cossacks taught her how to do it “right”: “”. Gerasimov also warned other actresses that their hands should look like those accustomed to hard peasant labor: "". To achieve maximum believability, Gerasimov, even during filming, forced the actresses to wash a mountain of linen, and then did not allow them to powder their faces.

On the set of the film Still from the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958

Years later, Bystritskaya admitted that the role of Aksinya became both fateful and fatal for her at the same time - she brought her nationwide love and popularity, but it was very difficult for her and for many years she did not let her go - since then millions of viewers have associated her only with this heroine. The actress said: "".

Still from the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958 Peter Glebov as Grigory Melekhov

Difficulties also arose with the search for an actor for the main male role - none of the candidates seemed suitable for the director.Actor Peter Glebov at that time was already over 40, and he had not yet played worthy roles. He asked one of his colleagues to attach him at least to the crowd scene on the set of "Quiet Don", and there Gerasimov noticed him. Later, the director recalled: "". Locals talked about the actor: "" And Sholokhov, seeing Glebov in the role of Melekhov, exclaimed: "".

Still from the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958 Still from the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958

Sholokhov helped to choose the location for filming - he advised filming in the Cossack regions, in the same place where the first silent film "Quiet Don" was made - on the farm Dichensk, near the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky. Local Cossacks were involved in the crowd scenes, the actors spent their free time among the villagers, observing their manners and adopting their dialect, gestures and gait.

Still from the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958

The first spectator of the film was Mikhail Sholokhov. After watching all 3 episodes that had just been edited, the writer said: "". "Quiet Don" was released in 1957 and became the leader in distribution - almost 47 million viewers watched it in a year. A year later, he was awarded the Crystal Globe Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Czechoslovakia) - for creating a wide panorama of the life of the people, as well as the Honorary Diploma of the US Directors Guild for the best foreign film of the year and the prize at the World Exhibition in Brussels. According to the results of a survey of readers of the magazine "Soviet Screen" "Quiet Don" twice - in 1957 and in 1958. - was recognized as the best film of the year.

Still from the film Quiet Flows the Don, 1957-1958

In fact, the roles in the filmography of this wonderful actress could have been much more: How Elina Bystritskaya had to pay for her straightforward character.

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