A Lark As a Symbol of Piece
One day, either in 1943 or 1944, a correspondent from Moscow told us a story about a Soviet tank crew. It was to become the alive target on the shooting ground in the remote part of Germany where fascists tested quality of their new antitank missiles. A lot of Soviet captured guys were shot there. The tank crew we are talking about was very lucky. Demonstrating tricky maneuvers, it had a chance to save the tank from missiles, escaped out the shooting ground and made a raid along the Reich roads. Of course, we thought this story was a legend. Everyone wished it were true! Sergey Orlov read this story in one of the Komsomolskaya Pravda issues. The newspaper was literally read to tatters but Sergey opened it each time we met to read this feature story about those tank men. He wanted to know more than he had just read. So, Sergey decided to add some details to this story. His idea was to write a ballad or a narrative poem about the heroic crew. He offered Mikhail Dudin to be his co-writer. Why are you racking your brains, guys! – Mikhail’s wife Irina from the Lenfilm production company mentioned one day. – It is a wonderful basis for a script. They had never written either stage plays or scripts before but made a good job however. When professional movie makers, camera operators, actors read the first version of this script finally they could not see what was clearly visualized. They were confused by the romantic mood of the script.
The authors had to cut many things. However, no matter what kind of episodes they gave up, the script was still poetic. Because the story about the Soviet tank raiding along far away roads on the fascist domestic front was written as if it were a song of a lark which flies up first among other birds to sing its jingly joyful spring song to everyone. That’s why the script and future movie itself were called The Lark. When the shooting began, Sergey Orlov was hanging out on the production set all day long. Sometimes he took us, his friends, there. The movie was done! Perhaps, it turned out to be not meeting our expectations but still interesting and thrilling. It was a black and white drama shot by movie makers Nikita Kurikhin and Leonid Menaker at the Lenfilm production company in 1964. Sergey Orlov enjoyed a triumph. Mikhail Dudin was calm. Perhaps, because he let Sergey play a key role intentionally. The movie was well rated by people who watched it. The actors played well. The composer wrote expressive music. Sergey Orlov’s famous poem “He Was Buried in the Earth…” set to music was sounded in the epigraph to The Lark. The movie had its premiere on cinema screens in the USSR on May 1, 1965 and on central TV channels in August 1965. The movie was a Cannes Film Festival nominee in 1965. Yes, perhaps, the movie was not so excited as the legend and did not show that power of the human spirit which was in the script. However, the country got to know about the great deed of unnamed tank men predicting what will happen on the roads of prostrate fascist Germany in spring 1945. The Lark movie made following Sergey Orlov’s and Mikhail Dudin’s script is the so-called monument to courage, longanimity and fearlessness of Soviet soldiers. Nowadays, the movie is still resonant. In 2019, the T-34 new remake came out. This movie is necessary, especially for the new generation, with whom tomorrow is.