One day, a teenager in a tracksuit and a short haircut came to the screen test. She was Nastya Vertinskaya, 15 years old. Photo: frame of the film.
Director Alexander Ptushko took up the adaptation of the outlandish story of Alexander Grin during the “Khrushchev thaw.” The choice was symbolic. In the Stalin era
Green fell out of favor, his books were not published. It was not republished until 1956.
The film was aimed at young people. For the first year of rental alone, the picture was viewed by 23 million viewers.
Among the main contenders for the role of Assol was Lyudmila Gurchenko. But once a teenager came to the screen test in a tracksuit, with a short haircut. She was Nastya Vertinskaya, 15 years old. At school, she played basketball, so a tracksuit. She did not make any impression on the director, he did not even want to audition with her until the girl was dressed in a dress. The makeup artists picked up a long wig for her. Ptushko took a closer look, appreciated the cinematic quality of the schoolgirl and approved it for Asol. It is very likely that this story belongs to the category of short stories from movies. The fact is that the director and storyteller, who made the wonderful Soviet films Sadko, Stone Flower, Ilya Muromets, often visited the Vertinskys’ house. Anastasia’s mother, Lydia Vladimirovna Vertinskaya, knew her very well and even filmed in Sadko as the Phoenix bird. In her family, she was a kind guest and, of course, was well acquainted with the daughters of Alexander Vertinsky – Anastasia and Marianna. It was Ptushko who saw the future movie star in Nastya and invited her to her film.
True, Asol had to be voiced by another actress, an experienced Nina Gulyaeva. “Nastya was 15 years old, and she could not professionally voice her character, so the director invited me,” Nina Ivanovna later said.
Vertinskaya’s colleagues on the court were Ivan Pereverzev, Sergei Martinson, Zoya Fedorova, Oleg Anofreev and, of course, Vasily Lanovoy, who played Captain Grey. Alexander Belyavsky and Oleg Strizhenov auditioned for this role, but Lanov was already given the role of a romantic hero. he was chosen
He developed a warm relationship with Vertinskaya. After the premiere, they were called “the most beautiful couple in Soviet cinema.” And according to tradition, popular rumor married them. In fact, there was no romance between them. First of all, Vertinskaya is 10 years younger than Lanovoy, and she did not like schoolgirls. In addition, at that time he was married to actress Tamara Zyablova, whom he loved very much. It was to her during the filming of her that he sailed in the form of a handsome prince on a ship with scarlet sails. Lanovoy persuaded the captain of the sailing ship, who represented Arthur Gray’s sailing ship The Secret, to go through the Yalta embankment and moor in the Akter sanatorium, where Tamara was resting. “When we arrived, Yalta looked like a disturbed anthill! Lanovoy remembered. – When I went ashore, my wife said: “You woke up Yalta!”
The film was mainly shot in the Crimea between Yalta and Koktebel. The barquentine “Alpha” and the sailing ship “Comrade” took part in the filming – they “played” the ship of Captain Gray. Only a few training sailing ships have survived in the Baltic and Black seas. “Alpha” was completely ownerless in the Gulf of Finland and should soon be flooded, but the filmmakers managed to save it. With great difficulty, they found an old master sailmaker who hand-sewn huge panels of scarlet silk. Two thousand meters of red silk was used to make scarlet sails. The sails were sewn from the material that was used for pioneer ties. In real life it looked very impressive, but in the movie it looked dark brown. Operators had to play with the filters to achieve the desired color.
Liss was built in Koktebel, a fictional city of an unknown country… Vorontsov Palace became the English mansion of the Greys.
Subsequently, Vertinskaya called her film debut “an unconscious period of creativity.” “At that time I didn’t really know what to do in front of the camera, how to move, I wasn’t an actress yet, but a guy,” she recalled. At that time, she was not ready for all-Union glory. But critics praised her work. They wrote about her as if she had descended from the pages of a book with all the charm of youth, with a trusting, naive but unshakable faith in her goodness.
The film “Scarlet Sails” made Anastasia Vertinskaya a real movie star, but also deprived her of the opportunity to calmly go to the store for bread and ride the tram, which she bitterly regretted. As soon as she stepped out of the entrance, she found herself at the epicenter of the crowd, and it was hard.