The popularly beloved detective trio was called ZnatoKi (after the first letters of the names of the heroes): Lezhdey was responsible for style and beauty, Kanevsky (in the center) for humor and charm, and Martynyuk for moral principles. . Photo: Still from the film.
It’s no secret that the three stars of the “Experts Investigate” series are remembered for this particular series. Georgy Martynyuk was Pal Palych Znamensky for everyone, Leonid Kanevsky was Shurik Tomin, and Elsa Lezhdey was Zinaida Kibrit. Meanwhile, he had about forty more roles in his biography, and not in recent movies; but the “Experts” literally ate all the memories of the previous heroines, as if they were not there.
FROM PAVKA KORCHAGIN’S FRIEND TO PROSTITUTE
While still a student, Slivers played the first role in the cinema, and immediately the central one, in the historical drama “The Sea of Icy” about several Pomors who ended up on a deserted island. And then she starred in “Pavel Korchagin”, based on the novel “How Steel Was Tempered”, fell in love with one of the directors of this film – Vladimir Naumov, married him, bore him a son Alexei, starred in the film. “Wind” … There, by the way, he played a very bright role of the prostitute Marie, in which, with all the desire, it is difficult to notice anything in common with Kibrit. She was an excellent and versatile actress, and the films seemed to meet seriously and associated as a selection – from Vasily Lanovoy to Tatyana Doronina. Few people remember that she even starred in the famous “Soldier’s Ballad”: she played the wife of a disabled front-line soldier (Eugene Urbansky).
But he never became a big star. And she at some point she divorced Vladimir Naumov. By the way, this was not her first marriage: before that, she managed to be married to actor Gennady Yudin, who played her fiancée in The Sea of Cold. And after Naumov, she had an affair with the actor Vyacheslav Shalevich. And then with the artist Boris Messerer … There were rumors that Naumov was intriguing so that she was no longer given serious roles.
She got into the series about connoisseurs almost by accident: actress Anna Antonenko-Lukonina, approved for the role, became pregnant, and the film crew could not wait until she gave birth. In general, the idea was to invite the actors of the Theater on Malaya Bronnaya to play the main roles – Martynyuk, Kanevsky and Antonenko-Lukonin served there. Three actors were not even tested for roles – they were just going to build the entire series around successful performers who knew each other well on stage.
It had nothing to do with the Theater on Malaya Bronnaya, but it was a perfect fit for the Knowers. They say that Olga and Alexander Lavrov, who invented “Connoisseurs” and wrote scripts for all the series, proposed her candidacy. Alexander worked as a senior investigator, and Olga worked as a journalist, and it seems that the husband in this duet was responsible for inventing plots (which were often inspired by real criminal cases), and the wife for literary prosecution.
KIBRIT’S HUSBAND DID NOT SEE
The series was personally blessed by the Minister of Internal Affairs Nikolai Shchelokov. It was a kind of response to movies about intelligence officers, which fell out en masse after Vladimir Semichastny and then Yuri Andropov became KGB chairman. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, as you know, competed with the KGB, and there, in contrast to the image of a stylish spy, they wanted to create images of noble investigators and operatives. But no Home Office could provide the ratings success that accompanied “Insiders.” Initially, it was planned to shoot several episodes and end there, but the audience (including those from the ministry) demanded a continuation. And when Tomin died in the season eight finale, the CT was inundated with angry letters demanding that he be left alive: “If you kill Tomin, I’ll break the TV!”
The actors of “Connoisseurs” talked a lot with real investigators and agents, and Lezhdey had to learn many terms from the lexicon of forensic experts. Martynyuk recalled that this was the most difficult for her: “This text was sometimes a burden for her, but she carefully memorized everything. And Kanevsky and I helped her. Between filming, these words were inserted into the conversation for Elsa to remember. She was a great friend and person. All our joint “znatokovskie” meetings took place in Lezhdy.
The actress tried to “humanize” her character, considering that she came out “dry” in the scripts. At the same time, for some reason, she did not want to emphasize the personal life of the heroine: at some point, she Kibrit says that she is getting married, but we do not even see her husband. In real life, her happiness finally came to her: she fell in love with the actor Vsevolod Safonov, whom she had known for many years (in the 50s she starred with him in the film “Thunderstorm”). In the early ’70s, she drank a lot; it seemed to her that he had not been claimed and that fame was behind him. But thanks to Lezhdey, she gave up alcohol. And her career magically revived: she starred in Belorussky Station, in the popular TV series Consciousness…
Vsevolod Dmitrievich and Elza Ivanovna lived together for more than 20 years. In the early 1990s, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and he died in 1992. And his widow lived in the world for another nine years, only to die in the summer of 2001 of the same disease. And all these years she did not act in films. In her last series of “Connoisseurs”, released in 1989 (it was called “Mafia”), the heroine of her appears only for a minute. In 1992, another, now forgotten, film “Wolves” was released, and that’s it …
BY THE WAY
How was the fate of other connoisseurs?
In the film “Listen in the compartments” Martynyuk played a submarine officer. Photo: Still from the film.
Georgy Martynyuk worked at the Malaya Bronnaya Theater all his life. And he said that he recovered on the stage after filming in “Connoisseurs” (obviously, it was boring for him to endlessly play the positive Pal Palych Znamensky). “My favorite roles were perpetually drunk plumbers,” he once said in an interview. But there was no escaping the image of the investigator. In one performance, he and Leonid Kanevsky played convicts, and the audience in the hall frankly laughed when they saw them in these roles. And once Martynyuk received a ticket for a plane, for which there were no more tickets on sale. He was simply written not by his last name, but by Pavel Pavlovich Znamensky … They also turned to him for help, like a real investigator: an inconsolable woman complained that her son received a term because of an accident and dreamed that the El case would be reviewed under the leadership of Pal Palych. At the same time, the famous hero seriously interfered in his career: for example, he was not approved for the role of Shervinsky in Vladimir Basov’s Turbin Days, since this character did not fit the image of an ideal investigator.
Martynyuk was married first to actress Valentina Markova (their only daughter died in 1985, at the age of 20, of cardiac arrest), and then to a doctor named Niele, with whom he lived for more than thirty years. After completing The Connoisseurs, he worked primarily in the theater. He passed away in 2014.
In the early 90s, Kanevsky left for Israel.
Leonid Kanevsky, like Martynyuk, lost parts due to Tomin; for example, he did not play Tristan’s servant in The Dog in the Manger (he was replaced by Armen Dzhigarkhanyan). Instead, in the images of Mr. Bonacieux in “D’Artagnan and the three musketeers” or of a digger in “Mary Poppins, Goodbye”, he appeared nonetheless. The problem is that they gave him mostly small roles, and there were few.
In the early 90s, Kanevsky left for Israel, became a co-founder of the Gesher Theater, and in the early 2000s he again began to actively perform in Russia. He played in the updated “Connoisseurs”: two parts – “Umpire” and “Pud of Gold” – were released in 2002 and 2003, but the audience did not accept them. But on weekends, NTV has been broadcasting “The investigation was carried out …” for many years, where Kanevsky talks about the high-profile crimes of the Soviet era (about one of the high-profile crimes committed in the USSR, and revealed only this year).
5 films from the “Experts Investigate” cycle*
“Black Racer” (1971)
“At Any Cost” (1977)
“Shepherd with Cucumber” (1979)
* In total, 22 films were released between 1971 and 1979, plus two more in 2002 (now without Legends).