The death of Igor Maslennikov put an end to a long-standing feud with Vasily Livanov

Maslennikov was a professional director.  His main feature is that he always knew how to put together a good creative company.

Maslennikov was a professional director. His main feature is that he always knew how to put together a good creative company.


Today, September 21, St. Petersburg says goodbye to the director Igor Maslennikov. The place of parting – the first pavilion of Lenfilm – was not chosen by chance. It was in this pavilion that the master shot his famous films, including the legendary Sherlock Holmes.

With the death of the People’s Artist of the RSFSR, he put an end to long-standing quarrels and strife. It is known that with Vasily Livanov, who played Sherlock, the director was in conflict and did not speak for almost forty years, just since the end of filming.

However, on the day of Maslennikov’s death, one of the first journalists called Livanov, and the actor found words of condolence:

“Maslennikov was a professional director. His main feature is that he always knew how to put together a good creative company. These are his managerial qualities, they were very expressive in him.”

Because of what Livanov and Maslennikov quarreled

Mean words are worth a lot, because all the previous years, when the actor said very unpleasant things about the director.

A black cat ran between them after filming, and in the 2000s the situation worsened even more after Maslennikov published a book of memoirs, Baker Street on Petrogradskaya, where he spoke unflatteringly about Livanov.

“He puffed up like a bubble because I dared to write in my book that he is a very average actor … and since then he has been throwing mud at me everywhere,” complained producer KP.RU.

In turn, Livanov himself made claims against Maslennikov. The actor told reporters that, as a director, Igor Fedorovich was very weak: he shamelessly used the works of others and attributed them to himself: “In his previous films there was not a single acting success …. When Vitaly Solomin and I improvised, Maslennikov repeated the same his catchphrase: “You guessed the director’s secret plan.” Do you understand?” Holmes was indignant.

And when journalists asked if he felt gratitude to the director for the role that made him famous, Livanov answered sharply:

– I am grateful to Maslennikov in the last place.

However, on the day of Maslennikov's death, journalists called Livanov one of the first

However, on the day of Maslennikov’s death, journalists called Livanov one of the first

A photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN

What Maslennikov wrote in his book

Igor Fedorovich was a delicate person. He did not throw mud at anyone, and in this sense, the “scandalous” autobiography is disappointing. There is nothing of the kind there. Everything is dry, reserved. And even the words that offended Livanov do not seem offensive.

Maslennikov writes that the work was not easy and was aggravated by the actor’s predilection for the green snake:

“I often say that my gray head is the result of eight years of communication with Vasily Borisovich Livanov. Scandals, ultimatums, drinking bouts, catching him all over Moscow to “sew up” with the remedy that Marina Vladi brought from Paris, etc. I endured it because it was a very good choice.”

and also this:

“Livanov is Livanov. With his unpredictable character, quarrelsomeness, and especially his thunderous voice, he resembles Mayakovsky, as his contemporaries described him. True, unlike the two-meter poet, Livanov is short in stature, and Mayakovsky, unlike the artist, never drank vodka and was left-handed. But what they have in common is an excellent memory, polemicism, aplomb, arrogance and arrogance.”

Maslennikov sneers at the artist’s morbid vanity: how Sherlock fusses about erecting a monument to himself at the British Embassy in Moscow or calls all authorities demanding that Maslennikov be deprived of the right to dispose of the series. According to Maslennikov, Livanov even sued him, because it seemed to him that the director was making a lot of money on Holmes, but he, Sherlock, was not included in the “share”.

In general, nothing like that. But, in fairness, it is worth noting that it was not the book that became the reason for insults.

What is true and what is not

In part, Livanov was right in his claims. Everyone knew that Maslennikov was not the strongest director. By specialty, Igor Fedorovich was a philologist, worked as a journalist and television editor. He got into directing at an early age.

As the actors themselves note, Maslennikov behaved passively on the set, giving the actor the right to do whatever he wanted. Subsequently, he accepted the best developments, peeped during rehearsals. When someone was indignant, he answered: “I have the right to use other people’s work. Cinema is a collective art.”

Even after the super-successful Sherlock, the attitude towards the director has not changed radically. When Maslennikov undertook to film “Winter Cherry”, the editor of Goskino publicly complained that, they say, a good director refused and a “half-wit” took up the script. (Under the “good director” was meant Ilya Averbakh, who refused the script for “Cherry”).

Obviously, with this approach, Livanov considered himself the same co-author of the film and therefore was offended when all the laurels went to the director. Finally, the relationship between Livanov and Maslennikov was spoiled by the award of the State Prize to Igor Maslennikov in the year 2000. It was difficult for Livanov to survive this: since the eighties, he has been trying to win an award for all the participants in the filming. But in the end – lucky one. The situation was ugly, given that Vitaly Solomin soon passed away …

Apparently, the director himself was also embarrassed by what had happened. But he justified himself by saying that formally the award was not presented for Sherlock.

– I could refuse this award … but it was given to me for “contribution to the development of television cinema,” he explained.

He scolded himself the most

Delving into a long-standing conflict, you understand that Livanov, of course, had reasons to be offended. But, reading the book, you understand: Maslennikov did not judge anyone as severely as himself.

“The creative path did not work out – there is no general theme. There are nice, honest films of an honest fellow, a well-trained professional … All my life I went with the flow without a rudder and sails, without making any effort. seemed more interesting. And what happened, turned out by itself … “

Livanov’s dry words do not in the least contradict this autocharacteristic.

In the book, Igor Fedorovich admitted that he dreamed of drawing most of all. I was afraid to enter the architectural school – and later regretted it. But in 2015 he released the art album “Shards”, and two years before his death – another art album “Perspectives”. This book was the last in the work of the master.

The People’s Artist of the RSFSR will be buried at the Northern Cemetery.

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