The director of “Mary Poppins” wanted to see Vertinskaya in the lead role, not Andreychenko

85 years ago, Leonid Kvinikhidze was born, who directed The Straw Hat, Goodbye Mary Poppins and Sky Swallows.  Photo: Kovtun A./TASS newsreel

85 years ago, Leonid Kvinikhidze was born, who directed The Straw Hat, Goodbye Mary Poppins and Sky Swallows. Photo: Kovtun A./TASS newsreel

Leonid Kvinikhidze – one of the few examples when a person manages to rise after the collapse of all hopes. The blow was strong – a film adaptation of the book “The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin” with Oleg Borisov starring. The film was called The Fall of Engineer Garin. The first reviews – “The collapse of the director Kvinikhidze.”

Of course, in the USSR there were worse films. And much worse. There was also a system where a director could lose everything because of a bad review. And Kvinikhidze did it. So fast that you don’t even know how it all happened. Since the “Straw Hat” appeared.

Lisette, Jeanette, Georgette and horses

“Straw Hat” turned out to be both a holiday for the actors and a gift to the audience. A trifle, but with smart songs, subtlety and alignment of relationships two seconds before everything would turn into a farce.

How did it work? Everyone joked and had fun. Even people outside the set, for example, Bulat Okudzhava. He composed the song “Marry” and listed there the names of all the mares (in the truest sense of the word!) From the will of Porthos. A joke Mikhail Kozakov about the shepherdess, “so young”? Andrey Mironov I was sure they would cut it. Wrong. And another episode did not make it into the film: Mironov’s hero approached Kozakov’s character, turned his back to the camera and smiled. And half of his teeth were wrapped in gold foil from chocolates. Kozakov twisted with laughter, the story was included in the encyclopedia of practical jokes, and the episode from the expensive film had to be washed away.

Everything was filmed in Leningrad, Peterhof and Tartu (Estonia). And it was beautiful, and the young Boyarsky for the first time showed his voice as an Italian tenor and the dexterity of a swordsman on the stairs. Well, it was he who stayed with Alisa Freindlich at the moment when Andrei Mironov kissed the actress on the neck and said: “I recommend!” It was improvisation.

Film shooting "Mary Poppins, goodbye!" Photo: Alexander Konkov and Nikolai Malyshev / TASS Newsreel /

Shooting of the movie “Mary Poppins, goodbye!” Photo: Alexander Konkov and Nikolai Malyshev / TASS Newsreel /

“Heavenly Swallows”: how Mironov fed the girl

With this film, it would seem, everything was harmless and did not portend trouble. Beautiful premiere on the night of 1976. And then Sergei Zakharov arrested for fighting. The film is on the shelf, Zakharova – under a show trial as part of the fight against star fever. And to the colony in Slantsy. Before that – half a year in the “Crosses”, the most famous prison in St. Petersburg. After the conclusion, he was released as a bricklayer-concrete worker of the third category.

Sergei was still handsome, his voice was not affected, but “the sediment remained.” However, the ban was lifted from the film.

The operetta was unpretentious: a pious (as it were) music teacher at a school for girls at the monastery (Andrey Mironov) writes frivolous operettas under a pseudonym. And then a cute baby from the boarding house “Heavenly Swallows” falls in love with the theater and music, and they want to give her in marriage.

It’s funny how everything related to sound is weird here. Sergei Zakharov was voiced by Oleg Basilashvili. From the old music “Mademoiselle Nitouche” only the can-can was used. The heroine was also voiced by another woman: actress and singer Elena Driatskaya, who is known for the film Truffaldino from Bergamo. All numbers were written by Viktor Lebedev, who wrote the music for “Midshipmen”, for example.

The main role of Denise was played by a minor Iya Ninidze. Then she was fourteen. It’s funny, but Gurchenko claimed this role, and was very offended that she was offered the role of a 30+ cocotte instead of a heroine girl. Movies were filmed in Yalta and Alupka, and the Vorontsov Palace became a boarding house in the frame.

Andrei Mironov was the main bait for everyone. But he somehow did not understand the director’s choice in the situation with the main actress, after all, Iya Ninidze was too young, thin, and Mironov made friends with the girl’s mother to feed her. The girl quickly understood everything and dragged food to “Uncle Andryusha.”

They say that Boyarsky could play the character of Zakharov, but he refused to shoot because of the film “The Elder Son”. And the jealous warrior, whom Shirvindt portrayed, was offered Vladimir Vysotsky.

Shooting a movie "Today and always".  Chief cameraman Vadim Alisov, director Leonid Kvinikhidze, popular Estonian singer Gunnar Graps and ballerina Yevgenia Zakharova (center, left to right).  Photo: Yury Vendelin / TASS Newsreel

Shooting of the film “Today and Always”. Chief cameraman Vadim Alisov, director Leonid Kvinikhidze, popular Estonian singer Gunnar Graps and ballerina Yevgenia Zakharova (center, left to right). Photo: Yury Vendelin / TASS Newsreel

“June 31” and the villain from “Die Hard”

The premiere of the film “June 31” took place on New Year’s holidays from 1978 to 1979. And in 1979, in August, the dancer Alexander Godunov, who played one of the roles in the film, applied for political asylum. Then he danced with Baryshnikov, and “June 31” was put on the shelf. By the way, then another actress from the film was under attack: Ninel Vlasova, “Lady Ninet.” She stayed in the USSR to care for her mother and dance at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Films were not shown for 7 years, although Alexander Godunov did not play the main role. There was a handsome man in the main Nikolai Eremenko Jr.. Initially, Nikolai was infuriated that there were ballet dancers around, and not professional actors. But for the director it was important that people could dance for real. And soar.

Godunov will still soar above the movie theaters: it was he who became the main henchman of the scoundrel in the first Die Hard. The man pissed off by Bruce Willis’ character epicly appears in the finale, with a chain around his throat. Agree, he here did not at all look like a medieval touching and touched in love with Lady Ninette.

“Mary Poppins, goodbye!” – Tobacco and manicure

I don’t know, sorry at least once Anastasia Vertinskaya that she turned down the role of Mary Poppins, but she acted harshly. Kvinikhidze was thinking about her: beautiful, smart, plastic. But from the very beginning there was some kind of internal mismatch: Vertinskaya did not like anything, from songs to the character and wardrobe of the super-nanny. And the songs of Maxim Dunayevsky already existed and made the film even before the musical was shot. Maxim Dunayevsky also had a wife – Natalia Andreichenkoa woman with forms that in no way suited an English strict governess.

Dunaevsky dragged his wife to Kvinikhidze, but he did not take her seriously. He looked around and said: “Slim!” And he went to look for a new muse for the cinema. A couple of weeks later, Andreichenko returned, dropping 15 kilograms. This story is known to all connoisseurs of Soviet cinema, but the secret of the actress’s wonderful diet has remained a secret.

Andreichenko does not sing herself: instead of her, she recorded songs Tatiana Voronina. For this, Natalya Andreychenko also had to change a lot: in the frame, she began to speak in a higher voice in order to get into the timbre of the singer.

According to legend, the role of Mrs. Andrew went to Oleg Tabakov not because he is a supergenius, but because Leonid Kvinikhidze … could not offer to play such a vile person to any decent woman. So Tabakov looked at his mother-in-law, took a deep breath and went to try on a wig before filming and do a manicure.

Where was all this slightly toy England filmed? Mosfilm pavilions. They were used in other films later, and the miracle of the premiere happened, as usual with Kvinikhidze, during the New Year holidays. January 8, 1984, to be exact. It was a joy for both children and adults, and just for those who loved music: Lenkom actor Pavel Smeyan voiced Lembit Ulfsak, ​​and the next day everyone was already singing about Bad Weather, which is “in fashion now”. And the “Wind of Change” infected with optimism even those who today would be sent to a psychologist to get out of depression. Little Michael and Jane (they were played by Philip Rukavishnikov, the future sculptor, and Anna Plisetskaya, the niece of the great ballerina) have long grown up, the film itself will soon turn 40 years old, but age and old age do not threaten people who fly in to help with an umbrella.


Leonid Alexandrovich Kvinikhidze – the son of film director Alexander Feintsimmer, winner of the Stalin Prizes and author of the films “The Gadfly”, “Girl with a Guitar”, “Tavern on Pyatnitskaya”. Kvinikhidze (he took his mother’s surname) was married three times, his first wife, ballerina Natalia Makarova, remained in London after the theater tour. There are two daughters, Sophia and Maria. Died in March 2018. He was 80 years old.

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