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Gaidai Leonid Iovich

Who is Leonid Gaidai

Gaidai Leonid Iovich (January 30, 1923 – November 19, 1993), Russian film director and scriptwriter.

The humor of great Gaidai is timeless. His comedies are clear of edifying or obtrusiveness, he easily managed to avoid hackneyed cliches and smutty jokes. Phrases from his comedies have become winged and are widely used in Russia till day.

‘A cinema comedy should have as few words as you can, and those words must be laconic, sharp-cut and take an unerring aim’ – Gaidai said, and he was as good as his word.

Leonid Iovich Gaidai was born on January 30, 1923. From 1941 he was in the army in Mongolia. When the war began he was transferred to Kalinin front as a scout, as he had learnt German at school. After a severe wounding he got ‘unfit-for-duty’ and experienced to return home. In fact he never completely recovered after that wound which actually made him suffer till the end of his life; no one knew about it but for his family. He did not like to complain.

From early age Gaidai was dreaming of stage. In 1947 he graduated from a theatre studio in Irkutsk regional theatre and for several years played on the local stage. Though a timid and clumsy person struggling in pronouncing noises ‘r’ and ‘l’, he was a good professional beloved by the general public. In 1949 he got into the film path faculty of VGIK (The All-Union Institute of Cinematography) where he fulfilled celebrity Nina Grebeshkova to be his wife and spend all life with him.

Though at the start of Gaidai’s creative life he was supported by well-known experts of Soviet movie theater, such as Ivan Mikhail and Pyriev Romm, his way in movie theater was definately not simple.

‘Bootleggers’ (1961) (Yuri Nikulin, Evgeny Morgunov, Georgy Vitsin) The entire year 1961 found Gaidai’s short-length film that proclaimed the delivery of a superb humor film director. It had been a nine-minute long ‘Pyos Barbos i Neobychny Cross’ (Dog Barbos and Unusual Race), an unpretentious comedy that originated the unique phenomenon of three super popular mask-characters of the Soviet cinematography: Balbes (“Booby”, played by Nikulin), Trus (“Coward”, played by Vitsyn) and Byvaly (“Stager”, played by Morgunov). They also appeared in Gaidai’s next short-length comedy ‘Bootleggers’ (1962) filmed on the tide of Dog Barbos’ success.

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Leonid Gaidai In 1963 Gaidai creates the full-length comedy ‘Business People’ starring Yuri Nikulin, G. Vitsyn, A. Smirnov, R. Plyatt and the novelette ‘The Ransom of Red Chief’ after O. Henry’s story, which becomes a masterpiece of Soviet comedy. However it was the year 1965 that opened the so-called ‘Gaidai’s golden decade’ with the release of ‘Procedure Y and Other Shurik’s Escapades’ starring Alexander Demyanenko. The comedy simultaneously gained people’s love and popularity that last till day somehow. ‘Kidnapping Caucasian Style’ (1966) carrying on the escapades of nice and amusingly coming in contact with Shurik earned still higher love of the general public. Spectators were pleased to start to see the funny trio of Booby, Coward and Stager in both of these kind comedies dazzling with good humour again. Plenty of expressions from those comedies simultaneously became winged.

‘The Gemstone Arm’ (1968) (Yuri Nikulin and Andrey Mironov) Another humor was ‘The Gemstone Arm’ (1968), a gripping ironic detective tale with memorable Yuri Nikulin, Andrei Mironov and Anatoly Papanov.

In 1971 Gaidai creates a display version of Petrov’s and Ilf popular book ‘Twelve Seats’. The film director recognized not once that comedy turned one of is own most favorite films.

Leonid Gaidai Another undoubted masterpiece by Gaidai is ‘Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Profession’ (1973) after Bulgakov’s play. The primary roles in this fantastic comedy are played by Yuri Leonid and Yakovlev Kuravlev.

The 1980s saw Gaidai’s creative force fading gradually. Nevertheless the satirical comedies ‘Borrowing Matchsticks’ and ‘Sportloto-82’ are actually talented works designated by the excellent performing of Mikhail Pugovkin, Evgeny Leonov and Vycheslav Nevinny.

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In the shaky many years of perestroika using its upheavals and uncertainty it was very difficult to create something worthy and Gaidai seems to have had difficulties in adapting to the changed situation. His last comedies are funny however, not as powerful as his previous works still.

On November 19 in 1993 Leonid Gaidai fell sick with pneumonia and died in a healthcare facility. His death made an appearance a sad result of his creative deteriorating over the last years. Immediately after Gaidai’s heading away reappraisal of his masterpieces began and he was finally recognized an indisputable traditional and a distinctive get better at of Soviet eccentric and satiric humor.


[1955] Lyana – actor
[1956] A Weary Road – director [1958] The Wind – actor
[1958] A Groom from the Right Society – director
[1960] Thrice Resurrected – director
[1961] Dog Barbos and Unusual Race (a segment for cinema miscellany Absolutely Seriously) – writer, director
[1961] Bootleggers – director, writer
[1962] Business People – writer, director
[1965] Operation Y and Other Shurik’s Adventures – director, writer
[1966] Kidnapping Caucasian Style, or Shurik’s New Adventures – writer, director
[1968] The Diamond Arm – director, writer
[1971] Twelve Chairs – writer, director, actor
[1973] Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Occupation – director, writer
[1975] Impossible! – director, writer
[1977] Incognito from St.Petersburg – director, writer
[1978] Chest of Drawers Was Lead Through the Street… – art director
[1980] Borrowing Matchsticks – director, writer
[1982] Sportloto-82 – writer, director
[1985] Dangerous for Your Life! – writer, director
[1989] Private Detective, or Operation Cooperation – director, writer
[1992] There’s Good Weather in Deribasovskaya, It’s Raining Again in Brighton Beach – director, writer

Source: History

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