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HomeLatest NewsThe director of "The Headless Horseman" was associated with the special services...

The director of “The Headless Horseman” was associated with the special services and enjoyed Lubyanka’s support.

Date: May 26, 2024 Time: 06:25:36

In July 1973, the Soviet western “The Headless Horseman” was released.

Photo: still from the film.

Director Vladimir Weinstock was considered a master of adventure cinema. In the 30s, he filmed the most popular films “Children of Captain Grant” and “Treasure Island”. Then there was a long pause in work. Many years later, Weinstock returned to the director to film, perhaps, the most famous Soviet western: “The Headless Horseman”. It was an unusual domestic film, which obviously imitated American westerns. During the first year of rental, the image was viewed by nearly 52 million viewers.

For quite some time, “The Headless Horseman” was one of the most popular film hits, until in the early 80s, lead actor Oleg Vidov left for the United States. And they tried to forget about movies with their participation. According to script author Pavel Finn, after Vidov’s departure, the picture was not shown for a year and a half or two. But then they went back to the screens. He had to make money. The economy won.

We decided to remember how “The Headless Horseman” was filmed.

The events in both Mayne Reed’s book and the film took place in the mid-nineteenth century in the United States, when Texas ceased to be Mexico and became the twenty-eighth state in America. In this historical context, the love story of mustanger Maurice Gerald and the planter’s daughter, Louise Poindexter, unfolded. On the night of their appointment, Louise’s brother, Henry, disappeared. The suspicion of murder fell on Gerald, who was found in Henry’s blood and cloak. He was almost lynched by an angry mob, but suddenly a mysterious headless horseman appeared, which caused mystical horror in everyone…

The script for the film was written at the time by the young playwright Pavel Finn. Vladimir Weinstock was going to shoot “The Rider” in Yugoslavia, where he went with Finn on a business trip. A “western city” was built near Belgrade, where almost all European films about Indians, cowboys, sheriffs and the criminal rabble of the Wild West were filmed.

“In August 1968, Weinstock and I came to Yugoslavia to negotiate a joint production of the film,” Pavel Finn told us. “But it was at this time that our tanks entered Czechoslovakia. Yugoslavia supported the Czechs. And all our plans blew up…

However, Weinstock did not abandon his idea of shooting a western. He began to look for new foreign partners. Thus was born Cuba and the Cuban filmmakers, with whom they agreed on the co-production. That’s why the Mexicans in the film were played by Cuban artists, including key roles. If you look closely, you will see in the frame that they speak Spanish, their lip movement is different from dubbing. The film starred the famous Cuban singer Farah Maria.

“Any co-production gave certain privileges both in economic terms and in all others,” Pavel Finn explained to us. – The film immediately received a higher category. Advertising was better organized to popularize the joint project.

In the lead role of Mustanger Maurice Gerald, Weinstock saw Oleg Strizhenov, but he had already become a star, Strizhenov refused to participate in the “adventure film for teenagers”, joking that he was used to playing “horsemen with a head”. And Strizhenov, 40, was already too old for the role of a young mustanger. Pavel Finn states that the idea of filming Oleg Vidov in the role of Maurice Gerald was born almost immediately. Vidov, as well as Oleg Strizhenov, have already starred in the action film “Mission in Kabul”, staged according to the script by Finn and Weinstock. There he acted in one episode. But the writers remembered it. The actor had a completely Hollywood appearance.

Actor Oleg Vidov in the film “The Headless Horseman”

Photo: still from the film.

The role of Louise Poindexter was played by 60s star Lyudmila Savelyeva. This was the period of his national fame. She has just played Sergei Bondarchuk’s Natasha Rostova in War and Peace. She was a star. She was an actress who was needed.

The role of Louise Poindexter was played by 60s star Lyudmila Savelyeva.

Photo: still from the film.

The endless meadows were filmed in the large-scale “landscape” of Crimea, in the Belogorsk district, in Red Lightning and on the White Rock.To To make the landscape of Crimea look like sunburned meadows, it was necessary to “plant” plastic cactus. The cotton fields were replaced by ordinary cotton scattered on the grass. From the point of view of ideological charge, the film was supposed to condemn violence, racial and class inequality. The disenfranchised black slaves on Texas cotton plantations were played by students at Simferopol universities who came to the Union from African countries. Near Belogorsk, they built their western city, a Mexican-style Texas village along the alley of Crimean poplars. An American fort watchtower was built on the White Rock. Unfortunately, after filming, these roskdecorations were dismantled and distributed to local residents. Some scenes were filmed in Vorontsov Park in Alupka. A Louisiana planter’s estate is located in the Livadia Palace. A prairie fire in… Azerbaijan. Still, some of the filming took place in Cuba.

On the Web, I came across a story that the headless horseman was played by Crimean teenagers, who were put on false shoulders at head height. In fact, the horse was driven by a professional rider of short stature, who worked on a stallion farm near Moscow. In order for the “headless horsewoman” to see the way, a small mesh window was made into her clothes. According to Pavel Finn, the scenes in which the rider appeared are combined shootings.

To collect a herd of horses for the photo, they drove 300 heads from all over Crimea. Luxury horses for the main characters were brought from the suburbs. They say that the manes and tails were painted with silver paint. Pavel Finn believes these are stories. Why repaint so many horses? Although the mustangs really were a special color. And the speckled horse should be on the screen just like in the book.

There is a version that director Vladimir Weinstock collaborated with the special services. He co-wrote playwright Alexander Shlepyanov, who wrote the screenplay for the spy detective “Dead Season”.

“Weinstock was really connected with the special services,” Pavel Finn confirmed. – And he didn’t hide it. Overall, he was a wonderful producer, although at the time this word was not used. He knew how to negotiate with his superiors, he enjoyed the support of the Lubyanka. He was a good film organizer. It was based on a joint Russian-Cuban project. And it was justified: “The headless horseman” became the champion of rent. The result exceeded expectations…

According to even modern film critics, “the home movie seemed absolutely non-native,” and “Vidov and Savelyeva looked like the most perfect Americans on screen, and Spanish America looked like Spanish America on our screen, and not a make-up village.”

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

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