Boris Barnet

Scen.: Mihail Vol’pin, Nikolaj Erdman; F.: Konstantin Kuznecov; Scgf.: Artur Berger, Vladimir Kamskij; Mu.: Vladimir Jurovskij; Su.: A. Gornštejn; Int.: Ivan Skuratov (Ivan Sergeevič Trofimov), Anna Komolova (Marusja, sua nipote), Lidija Dejkun (Evgenija Fëdorovna), Leonid Kmit (Vasja Pičugin), Sergej Blinnikov (Zot Jakovlevič), Ivan Ljubeznov (Kostja), V. Popov (cameriere), F. Kurichin (Saša), V. Lepko (Anatolij Petrovič), N. Nikitič (Pavel Nikolaevič); Prod.: Mosfil’m; Pri. pro.: 23 ottobre 1959. 35mm. D.: 96’. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Barnet loved the authenticity of the characters and the situations “beaming with human passion” in the screenplays by Erdman and Vol’pin, the writers of the most famous musical comedies of the times such as Veselje rebjata [Jolly Fellows] and Volga-Volga. In the eyes of Barnet, the simplicity of how the comedy’s subtext revealed the drama of the aging jockey ruled out the commonly used, forced style of comedy that would have distracted the viewer from the heart of the story.
In December of 1940, the film was approved by the main control authority, but Mosfil’m, without any reason, suspended its release. The enthusiastic words and praise made in public by Šklovskij, Donskoj and Judin had no effect. And just as vain was the letter to Mikhail Romm’s Studios, which contemplated some slight changes so that the film could be screened. As of today, documents regarding its banning are still missing, but it is known that Ždanov included the title among films with a suspicious ideological bent in a speech to the Cinematography Committee in May of 1941. Undoubtedly, the authors paid for the natural way they depicted the racetrack, which could be tolerated in real life but was not viewed as an appropriate image of Soviet life for the screen.
Released in 1959, the film went entirely unnoticed due to the changes in the times and the interest in new forms of cinematic expression.

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