Interesting facts about Leonid Gaidai's comedy "Moonshiners"

In 1960, the young director Leonid Gaidai shot a short comedy "The Watchdog Dog and the Unusual Cross". It was in this picture that viewers first saw the famous troika Coward, Goonies and Experienced performed by wonderful actors Georgy Vitsin, Yuri Nikulin and Yevgeny Morgunov. The success with the audience was enormous, and a few months later Leonid Iovich Gaidai began filming the next film about the adventures of three lawbreakers. This time Coward, Goonies and Experienced tried to make money on illegal production of moonshine. The comedy was called "Moonshiners".

The plot was suggested to the director by Yuri Nikulin, who in the circus had a chance to participate in an issue of a similar theme. But already at the beginning of work, Gaidai had problems, he refused to act in the film Yevgeny Morgunov (Experienced), and without him the three actors so beloved by the audience collapsed. I had to intervene in the situation, the head of the Higher Directing Courses, Ivan Pyriev, who managed to get the actor's consent to take part in the filming.

The scenario was simple: Coward, Goonies and Experienced set up a moonshine still in a wooden house in the forest and set about making an alcoholic drink that generates an annual income. But, all plans were interrupted by the dog, who grabbed the coil and took it to the police station. There were also moonshiners who were trying to catch up with the dog.

Yuri Nikulin offered Gaidai not only a plot, but also his own song on an alcoholic theme. In which, by the way, there were the following words: "And we will drink, but we will drive, and we will increase the culture of production!" But the high authorities immediately rejected this version of the song, because it would instantly become a hit all over the country! Then the poet Vladimir Lifshits got down to business, and his song sounded in the film. The leadership approved the text, especially since in the last verse Dunce warned of criminal liability for moonshine.

The script was ready, the song was written, the actors were ready to start working. It remains only to find a dog, which, according to the plot, destroyed the entire business of underground moonshiners. In the film "Dog Watchdog" a dog named Brekh was shot, but the four-legged actor did not have a relationship with Yevgeny Morgunov. In addition, Brech was not strong enough to carry a heavy serpentine from a moonshine in his teeth.

One of the crew members saved the situation, who brought a dog named Rex. He turned out to be a capable actor, but one day he almost disrupted the shooting - for several days he ran away in an unknown direction. The whole group searched for Rex, but to no avail. He appeared as suddenly as he disappeared. During this time, the dog became very emaciated, to continue filming, he had to intensively feed him.

The shooting took place in the suburban village of Snegiri near Moscow, in the same place where they recently worked on the film "Barbos the Dog and an Unusual Cross". In the vicinity of the dacha of the famous singer Ivan Kozlovsky, the scenery was built and the work began. As a result, the short comedy ran on screens for only 18 minutes, but this is almost twice as long as "Dog Watchdog" with a duration of 10 minutes. A significant part of the "Moonshiners" time was occupied by the song performed by the main characters.

During the filming, Yuri Nikulin was injured. According to the script, he was rolling in a snowball, which crashes into a tree and explodes. The lump was made of papier-mâché, and explosives were placed inside for greater effect. Too many, as it turned out. The explosion was so strong that the actor was injured. I had to shoot another take, this time the amount of explosives was reduced.

After the release of the comedy "Moonshiners", many viewers were sure that Yuri Nikulin, Georgy Vitsin and Yevgeny Morgunov were great friends in life, especially since they later appeared together in several more films by Leonid Gaidai. But, it was not so, in ordinary life it was impossible to call them friends, outside the set, the performers of the roles of Coward, Goonies and Experienced practically did not communicate.

In addition to the famous troika, another actor starred in the comedy. The episodic role of a policeman in the last shots was played by Vladimir Picek. In total, he starred in more than a hundred films, mostly in episodes. For example, attentive viewers could have noticed him in another film by Leonid Gaidai "Business People", which was released in 1962. In this film, Vladimir Picek got the role of a machinist in the novel "The Roads We Choose".

Many critics believed that the success of the comedy "Watchdog and Unusual Cross" was more impressive than the popularity of "Moonshiners". The creators of the second part were even reproached with the fact that for the script they took an already "hackneyed" plot about illegal distilling in the USSR. But, both comedies brought a good income to the state treasury. "Dog Watchdog" was purchased for distribution in 100 countries of the world, and "Moonshiners" in 68.