MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
We leave for Moscow in 1960 together with the heroes of Georgy Natanson and Anatoly Efros and find out what places in the capital at that time could be called backwater.
The melodramatic comedy A Noisy Day is one of the most important films of its time. Everything came together in it: the script based on the play by Viktor Rozov, one of the first Soviet playwrights who made an ordinary person a hero, and the director’s duet, and the acting ensemble, consisting of the stars of the Central Children’s Theater and Sovremennik. The history of the painting can be found in the mos.ru article.
One summer day in 1960 turned out to be very noisy in the Savins family, who lives in the most ordinary apartment in an old house, lost somewhere in the Arbat lanes. The family is large: mother Klavdia Vasilievna and her children – senior Fedor, scientist-chemist, weathermen Tanya and Kolya (student and repair shop worker) and the youngest Oleg – he is 15, he writes poetry and cannot stand lies and meanness. The Savins have no father, only a saber from the Civil War, kept in a large room, reminds of him.
However, now it is not easy to see the family heirloom: in this room, which was once the center of attraction, everything is filled with furniture – old and new, fashionable, in covers. The eldest son recently got married and, while waiting for his own apartment, lives with his mother at his mother’s. Lenochka, the Savins’ daughter-in-law, so as not to waste time, buys furnishings for the future family nest. So this morning, she, barely waking up, runs away to stand in line for a Czech sideboard. Savins treat her bourgeois manners with irony – no one likes living in a furniture store, but no one admits it out loud.
The father’s checker hangs on the wall for a reason – very soon it will be torn from it. Realizing the depth of the abyss between Lena and his family, Oleg will desperately chop it right and left: on the polished doors of a brand new sideboard, on freshly bought bedside tables and a lacquered table. This is not just a boyish protest against injustice. As if the ghost of a Red Army father would appear in the room, and it would turn into a battlefield of the ideals of the first communists and the aspirations for hoarding of the Soviet man of the sixties. Oleg became the spokesman for the ideas and sentiments of Soviet youth during the Thaw – a short but bright period in the country’s life that lasted from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s.
After Nikita Khrushchev’s accusatory speech at the XX Congress of the CPSU in February 1956 about the personality cult of Stalin, much has changed in the country. They started talking about returning to the ideals of the Civil War and trying to start all over again. Censorship has somewhat weakened – freedom of speech appeared in literature and the press, in cinema, where until recently the triumph of optimism reigned supreme, new themes and heroes began to appear. Theater directors tackled the plays of contemporary authors, architects began to fight excesses – and the magnificent Stalinist Empire gave way to the modest and elegant Soviet modernism. Massive housing construction began, improving conditions for millions of families.
The USSR opened up to the world. The USA has turned from an “enemy” in public rhetoric into an “opponent”. In 1957, Moscow hosted the International Festival of Youth and Students, which opened the Soviet capital to young guests from different countries, and to Muscovites – a hitherto unknown Western world. Two years later, the US Industrial Products exhibition opened at Sokolniki Park, attended by President Richard Nixon. During the exhibition, the heads of the two countries held the so-called kitchen debate, where they discussed the advantages of the capitalist and communist economies. The debates were watched by both countries – both in the USA and in the USSR, they were shown on television.
About Soviet cinema again – almost for the first time since the days of Sergei Eisenstein and Lev Kuleshov – they started talking abroad, especially after the victory of Mikhail Kalatozov’s film “The Cranes Are Flying” at the Cannes Film Festival in 1958. It was this attention that was almost worth the appearance on the screens of “A Loud Day” in the form in which it was conceived and filmed.
Initially, the film was called not “A Noisy Day”, but “In Search of Joy” – just like the play by Viktor Rozov, which formed the basis of the script. Natanson, who studied under the legendary Eisenstein and Kuleshov, had very few works by 1960: an animated film based on the performances of Sergei Obraztsov’s theater “Heavenly Creation”, a film version of Isaac Dunaevsky’s operetta “White Acacia” and the drama “Annushka”, filmed together with Boris Barnett.
The desire of the young director to film Rozov’s play was accepted by the then leadership of “Mosfilm” without enthusiasm. He was dissuaded: the play is too theatrical, the action of a modern film cannot unfold in the scenery of one apartment, such films-performances are doomed to failure … Finally they gave the go-ahead, deciding in case of failure to write off the costs of marriage. “The first low-budget film” – this is how Nathanson later called his picture in his book “320 pages about love and cinema. Memoirs of the last of the Mohicans. “
Anatoly Efros, who at that time headed the Central Children’s Theater (now RAMT), joined the work on the film. Most of the cast came from his troupe – Valentina Sperantova (mother), Gennady Pechnikov (Fedor), Tatyana Nadezhdina (Tatyana), Evgeny Perov (Lapshin, a guest of the Savin family). Young actors of “Sovremennik” Oleg Tabakov (Oleg) and Lev Krugly (son of Lapshin Gena) were also associated with the CDT – Efros often invited them to participate in performances. Lilia Tolmacheva, one of the founders of Sovremennik, played the daughter-in-law, Lenochka.
Natanson went to show the finished film at the Ministry of Culture alone – Efros and Rozov could not. Having looked at the picture, the then Minister of Culture Yekaterina Furtseva became stern. Most of all, she was embarrassed by Oleg’s conversation with his classmates Fira and Vera and the choice of Arbat as a location for shooting. This is how Nathanson recalled her verdict in his book:
“I will not accept your film, Georgy Grigorievich. You have swearing on the screen. “All Firas and Faiths are fools beyond measure!” These words will be repeated by schoolchildren, insulting girls. Cinema is a huge force, and a bad example is contagious … And then why did you shoot a film in the backwaters of old Moscow, when there are beautiful avenues? For example, Kalininsky … Our friends abroad wonder why slums are shown in Soviet paintings? No, no, I won’t accept the film in this form … “
The young director insisted on his own, then a “representative of the Komsomol” – the first secretary of the Komsomol Central Committee Sergei Pavlov was invited to view. He was also not very pleased. “This is an Italian neo-realist painting, just replace the name“ Oleg ”with an Italian one. An old courtyard, dirty streets … “, Nathanson quotes him.
The decisive word was for the party, that is, the first secretary of the Moscow city committee of the CPSU, Peter Demichev. And that … really liked the film. He laughed where the creators of the picture foresaw a comic effect, became serious where such a reaction was expected. When the lights were turned on after the third screening, Demichev praised the picture, and in a conversation with Furtseva stressed: everyone needs such a movie.
As a result, in the conclusion that came from the Ministry of Culture to Mosfilm, there were two changes: to change the name “In Search of Joy” to “Noisy Day” and to soften the word “fools”.
The audience was delighted: in the first two months of distribution, the film was watched by 18 million people.
Moscow in the film
What kind of backwaters so embarrassed the Minister of Culture and the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Komsomol, if initially they did not dare to shoot because of the intimate nature of the play, which takes place in the same apartment?
Firstly, “Noisy Day” opens with panoramic views of the morning capital, waking up to the chimes. First, we see a skyscraper on Kudrinskaya Square (then – Vosstaniya Square), taken from somewhere on the upper floors of the Ukraine Hotel. An interesting view for today: there is still neither the Government House (it will be built in 1981), nor the CMEA building on Novy Arbat (it will be built by 1970).
Further we will see a skyscraper on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment, Tverskaya (then – Gorky Street), Triumfalnaya Square (then Mayakovsky) with an unfinished building, which today houses the Theater of Satire, the now defunct first building of Sovremennik, and finally we will reach Arbat lanes. The house in which the Savins’ family lives is located in Starokonyushenny Lane – this is house 5/14. At the entrance there are two people – Kolya Savin and a girl next door, they wandered around Moscow all night and still cannot say goodbye.
The second exit to the city will take place in the afternoon – after a quarrel between Oleg and Lena. Learning that the boy accidentally flooded ink on her brand-new table while feeding the fish, Lena throws his aquarium out the window in a rage. “They are alive! – Oleg shouts in horror. “Because of this junk?” And at this moment he tears a checker off the wall. Having chopped up the furniture, the hero of Tabakov runs out of the house and runs for a long time, then walks, then wanders the streets, breaking through the crowds, skirting houses and still rare cars. Together with him and Gena (Lev Krugly), who ran after him, we will visit Sretenka (thanks to the installation – straight from Starokonyushenny), then – on the Garden Ring and get to the beginning of Prospekt Mira.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.