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“35 artists auditioned for the role”: Larisa Golubkina revealed why she played Shurochka in “Hussar Ballad”

Date: June 8, 2023 Time: 11:18:42

The painting “Hussar Ballad” recently turned 60 years old.

Photo: video frame

The painting “Hussar Ballad” recently turned 60 years old. It first appeared on the screens in 1962. The premiere took place in the Rossiya cinema. And as it is sung in the song “A long time ago” in quotes. The musical comedy “Hussar Ballad” is rightly considered a popular film. After its release on the screens, Lieutenant Rzhevsky became a folk character on a par with Chapaev. And in 10 years Stirlitz will join them.

And here the other day – a re-release and a re-roll.

We decided to remember how this movie masterpiece was created.


The film was based on the play “A Long Time Ago” by Alexander Gladkov, which was popular in the early 1940s. The playwright said that two books were bizarrely combined in his imagination: “Sons of Captain Grant” and “War and Peace.” And fueled by these impressions, he wrote a joyous work, the plot of which is well known.

Seventeen-year-old Shurochka Azarova, dressed in a bugle uniform, under the name Alexander Azarov, secretly enters the active army, which is at war with Napoleon. None of her colleagues suspect that the graceful cornet Azarov is a girl. Shurochka’s fiancé, Lieutenant Rzhevsky, does not suspect it either…

Eldar Ryazanov asked Alexander Gladkov to rewrite several episodes from the script. The playwright promised, but he did nothing. Besides, he disappeared, he hid from the director. As a result, Ryazanov himself composed the verses for the script and came to the firm conviction that Gladkov was not the true author of the play. It was written by someone else, and the playwright appropriated the authorship.

However, there is no evidence for this

Disputes arose between the director and Goskino’s leadership over the genre of the film. The picture was shot for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino. Officials believed that the genre chosen by Ryazanov – “a heroic musical comedy with elements of a western” – was not suitable for a solemn date. But Ryazanov managed to convince that he had conceived not a frivolous musical comedy, but a heroic romantic film.

The difficulties did not end there. Most of the protests arose when the director chose Igor Ilyinsky for the role of Kutuzov. For some reason, Mosfilm decided: the famous comedian cannot play the great commander! Eldar Alexandrovich coped with this problem with the strength of his conviction: a comedian must act in a comedy.


Today it is difficult to imagine in the role of Shurochka Azarova not Larisa Golubkina, but another actress. But she was not the only candidate. Lyudmila Gurchenko, Valentina Malyavina, Tatyana Nikulina, Svetlana Nemolyaeva, Alisa Freindlich, whom Ryazanov adored, auditioned for the main role. There is almost no doubt that Freundlich would approve of Ryazanov. But suddenly, at the last moment, he chose an unknown GITIS student Larisa Golubkina, for whom this role was the first appearance in the cinema.

To all the other contenders, Ryazanov chivalrously promised to film them in his subsequent films. And he kept his word.

After the release of The Hussar Ballad in 1962, 22-year-old Larisa Golubkina became famous throughout the Soviet Union.

Lyudmila Zykina once told her: “My girl, everything must be done on the bloody tracks.” I mean, enjoy the moment. In 1964, Golubkina celebrated the New Year together with Khrushchev and members of the government. Then Khrushchev was eliminated, Brezhnev came. And she also sat across from him in the front rows of official events. But she didn’t take the opportunity. I never asked for anything.

Many famous actors auditioned for the role of Lieutenant Rzhevsky. However, Ryazanov immediately literally fell in love with Yuri Yakovlev, who did not know how to sit in the saddle. By common efforts, Yakovlev was put on a horse, and he immediately fell off. As the horse took off, the actor clung to the horse’s neck with both hands. He took several days to train him more or less confidently in the saddle. But the tricks were performed by circus performers. And here, too, there were difficulties: circus horses work indoors, run across the arena. And here nature is frost, snowdrifts, wind. Ryazanov clutched his head: “It’s hard! What a fool I am to agree! Nature is gone, the horses are crazy.

Even more difficulties were with the search for snow. The movie began filming in early spring. Halfway through filming, the snow had quickly melted. First they filmed in the shade, where it melted more slowly, then deep in the woods, then snow was brought in by cars, and finally they covered the set with sawdust mixed with chalk and mothballs, and the roof on the property. Major Azarov was painted white. From such a “winter” some actors developed allergies.


“The hussar is still alive,” laughed Larisa Golubkina, who is happy that the legendary film with her participation was again released to the public. – The public received the film remarkably. I watched with interest, though not as much as 60 years ago. But still it’s good that the restored image appeared on the screens.

– How did you win over Eldar Ryazanov, who chose you, and not the more experienced Lyudmila Gurchenko, Larisa Freindlikh, Valentina Malyavin …

– The guys from my course were filmed at Mosfilm as extras. Someone asked them if there was a girl in the class who could play that role. They said: Golubkina! That’s all. As Eldar Ryazanov said: “Nature strained and gave us Golubkina.”

When I wore a costume bugler uniform to auditions, everyone was under the impression that I was born with it.

In fact, 35 actresses auditioned for this role. But a woman in a man’s suit still looks like a woman. And she still wasn’t… she had that adolescent enthusiasm, as a child, when everything burns inside. This is visible on the screen. Hence such a lively and natural presentation. And a woman, even if you break, will definitely give herself away …

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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