INTRODUCTION: When Soviet film-makers were planning the shooting of Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' in the early 1960's, they were faced with a major problem.
INTRODUCTION: When Soviet film-makers were planning the shooting of Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' in the early 1960's, they were faced with a major problem. The story, a historical epic, called for the use of cavalry -- and there wasn't any available.
SYNOPSIS: In grand style, the film-makers overcame the difficulty by creating an entire cavalry unit -- which still exists today, purely for acting purposes. Ordinary horses and riders were not good enough for the makers of 'War and Peace', and the cavalry squadron they set up has since made 240 films.
The cavalry made its debut in November 1972, and since then the troopers have become experts in period costume, tactics, military horsemanship, and the correct use of cavalry swords. In their early years they were trained and advised by Marshal Seym???n Budenny, a legendary cavalry leader in the Soviet army before the real military unit was disbanded.
Among films in which the cavalry have played their role are 'Waterloo', the story of the battle between Napoleon and Wellington; a Second World War epic called 'Liberation'; the Russian civil war film 'The Iron Stream'; 'Dersu Urzala'; and 'The White Sun of the Desert'. Their latest major work is a thirteen-part television series 'The Ordeal', based on Alexei Tolstoy's novel. The filming involves more than 200 horsemen.