Black-and-white sun. War, pain and glory Paul Luspekaev
“His image of the customs officer Vereshchagin of “White sun of the desert” forever entered the Golden Fund of cinema. But how many highlights of his roles had forgotten how much he could still play! It’s a shame, bitterly,” says close friend Luspekaev Oleg Basilashvili.
Life on the brink of a feat
Luspekaev was born 20 APR 1927 in a small village in the Rostov region. About acting career did not think. He worked as a mechanic. “I don’t think the actor I saw in the end was by accident. Too obvious was his talent bordering on genius, too strong-willed character he had. He was much given by nature. But the war robbed him of the main thing is health,” — says Oleg Basilashvili, colleague and friend Luspekaeva.
In 1943 Boris as a teenager he volunteered for the front. Got to guerrilla group. In one battle by an explosive bullet he was severely wounded in the arm. The doctors insisted on amputation. If you do, at your own risk, not allowed to do. The hand was saved, but the most serious challenge crippled his life, was to come. Being in intelligence, if you had more than four hours still lie in the snow. These unfortunate hours become fatal in the fate of the future star of the Soviet cinema. But then he never thought about it. He wanted to survive.
“After the war, Pasha graduated from the Schepkin drama school and enrolled in the Leningrad Big drama theatre, — tells Basilashvili. We not only served the same stage, but also lived on the same landing. If we were close friends? No. Rather good buddies. I admired and feared him at the same time. We were too different. Roles in theater he was a little, but he played them on the verge of genius. And then about themselves gave to know the trauma of war. He tried not to show how he is physically tough, but we all knew that he plays at the limit of human possibilities. Every role for him now is akin to a feat.”
In 26 years Luspekaev, young handsome men who developed atherosclerosis of the legs. Doctors were forced to amputate some of the fingers on the feet. A few years later, during the filming of the film “Republic SHKID”, the disease escalated so severely that there was a question about amputation of both legs to knees. After a long consultation, the doctors were limited to amputation of the feet.
“The physical pain he was experiencing was the wildest. No, he didn’t complain. Suffered. But there is a limit to everything. As a result, he began stabbing a potent analgesic drug. It was very painful to see how in force majeure circumstances the person was an addict, recalls Basilashvili. — He once said to me: “I’m mired in this filth and want, to quickly it was over.” It wasn’t entirely true. In fact, he wanted to return to the scene in the movie. In the end he succeeded. He took himself in hand, refused the drugs. The true drug has been and remains the scene. Pasha asked his wife for her to buy him a huge bag of sunflower seeds. So he tried to escape from the pain.”
For the actor it’s a shame…
Of the plight of the actor learned the then Minister of culture Ekaterina Furtseva. She intervened in the situation: ordered to get overseas need drugs to bring from France the dentures. Even if only slightly, but it eased his life, though the filmmakers were afraid to invite Luspekaev in a movie, because they were afraid to risk the health of the artist.
Risk was not afraid directed by Vladimir Motyl. He invited him initially to a small but colorful role Vereshchagin. If initially refused, and then agreed, stipulating that he will play without any crutches, sticks and doubles. The moth surrendered when Boris showed him the drawing of the metal stops, which he will be inserted into boots and allow you to move independently for short distances. During the filming originally a cameo role Luspekaev grew almost into one of the main.
“Hard to believe, but in “White sun” Pasha played exclusively on will power. Special metal prosthesis was in poor help — tells Basilashvili. — And had to work on a rocking ship, where the deck is constantly slipping from under his feet. And the ship still had to walk several kilometers in heavy sand, which sank the wheels of cars, not that leg. Only in one scene the Pasha had replaced stuntman — where Vereshchagin feet confronts the bandits in the water.”
In 1970, the film was released, becoming one of leaders of hire. In Luspekaeva collapsed nationwide fame. Vereshchagin, brilliantly played by Paul, became the unofficial symbol of the customs service, and his phrase has gone down in folklore. “I do not take bribes — I hurt for the power!” — talked to TV screens harsh customs in the years of stagnation, when there was already no customs, no power, which he once served, and, it seemed, would not have had.
But this Union, the recognition came too late. Boris died on April 17, 1970 — three days before his 43rd birthday. He went, full of plans and offers from the best Directors of the country. He knew that Andrei Konchalovsky without any trial invited him to play Chekhov’s Dr. Astrov. Vladimir Motyl invited him to Caress role in the film “the Forest”. Tatyana Lioznova called Luspekaev in the number of applicants for the role of Mueller in “Seventeen moments of spring”. Called and the film, talked about the roles of Otello and Boris Godunov… Nothing that I saw play did not. Lady Luck proved to be too treacherous in relation to the outstanding actor.