Russia Cinema The Hussar Ballad (1962)

The Hussar Ballad (1962)

A musical comedy

Mosfilm, 1962

Director: Eldar Ryazanov

Screenplay: Alexander Gladkov with contributions from Eldar Ryazanov

Cinematography: Leonid Krainenkov

Composer: Tikhon Khrennikov

Cast: Larisa Golubkina, Yury Yakovlev, Igor Ilinsky, Nikolai Kryuchkov, Tatyana Shmyga, Yury Belov, Vladimir Gusyev, Victor Koltsov, Roman Khomyatov, Anthony Khodursky

Box-office leader (1962, 2nd place): 48.64 million viewers

Awards: Vienna 63

Heroic musical comedy by Eldar Ryazanov based on Alexander Gladkov’s play A Long Time Ago.

It is the summer of 1812. A Hussar lieutenant, Dmitry Rzhevsky, arrives at the estate of retired major Azarov. Rzhevsky has been engaged to the major’s niece and is not looking forward to his forthcoming meeting with the affected fashion-plate. Shurochka lives up to his worst expectations. She is headstrong, babbles nonsense and likes embroidery. Rzhevsky is unaware, however, that all this is merely an act, specially put on by the mischievous girl. Raised by two old warriors, Shurochka is actually an excellent horsewoman, a fencer and a fine shot. Disguising herself as a soldier, she runs away from home and joins the Russian army. No one suspects for a moment that “Cornet Azarov” is actually a woman. Even Fieldmarshal Kutuzov is obliged to acknowledge the heroism of the young cavalry girl and allow her to remain in active service.

The figure of Shurochka is based on Nadezhda Durova, a woman who became a decorated soldier in the Russian cavalry in the war against Napoleon.

The creators of this film transform the subject into one of the funniest and most brilliant musicals of the Soviet period. The director displays his masterly command of comedy devices and inexhaustible fantasy, showing the heroic theme of the Patriotic War of 1812 in an unexpectedly new light. Larisa Golubkina looks gorgeous in her military uniform and Yury Yakovlev is irrepressible as Lieutenant Rzhevsky. Tatyana Shmyga is enchanting, while Igor Ilinsky and Nikolai Kryuchkov are as effulgent as ever, even in their minor roles. One of the most important factors in the success of the film was Tikhon Khrennikov’s musical score, which is as rich and diverse as the work of the actors and the director.

Random articles