It turned out to be not easy to find actors who wanted to appear in the film by director Vladimir Fetin "Striped Flight" - after reading the script, they together refused roles. The prospect of being on the set next to tigers and lions attracted few people. The Actors' Life and Health Commission even worked with the actors, which instructed them in detail on safety issues when dealing with predators.
Evgeny Leonov, who got the role of Shuleikin's "trainer", was also not enthusiastic about working with tigers. The film crew even had to cheat. When the famous bathroom scene was filmed, the actor was assured that bullet-proof glass would protect him from the predator. But the director was dissatisfied with the first takes, there were reflections from the glass, which means that the audience could notice the catch. Then they decided to remove the glass, but the actor was not told about it. Therefore, Leonov was in real danger.
Vasily Lanovoy's phrase "They swim beautifully!" the audience remembered it well. But the actor himself got into this film by accident. At this time, he was vacationing in Odessa and was asked to star in the episode. For these few seconds in the film, Lanovoy received a decent fee for those times - 50 rubles.
Rehearsals for the shooting took place on the dry cargo ship "Sailor Zheleznyak". The shooting itself was carried out on the motor ship "Fryazino". And in the picture the ship had a completely different name - "Eugene Onegin".
The film was shot based on the stories of Viktor Konetsky. In the original version, instead of tigers, there were polar bears. Before filming began, director Vladimir Fetin said: "We will try to make a funny, interesting film." After thinking he added: "If we stay alive."
The professional trainer Margarita Nazarova starred in the role of Marianne. Perhaps she was the only one in the film crew who was not afraid of predators.
A chimpanzee named Pirate was found in the Kiev zoo. True, one problem arose: he flatly refused to work if his "wife" Chilita was not around. I had to take her too. During the filming, they bought her her favorite delicacy - marshmallows, so that she could sit quietly and watch the Pirate's acting work.
The film was released in 1961 and immediately won the love of the audience. In the first year alone, the picture was watched by more than 45 million viewers. And in 1973, the Striped Flight won the Silver Prize at the Kolkata International Film Festival.
There is a legend that the idea of the film was submitted by Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev himself. In 1959, he, together with the king of Nepal, visited the circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard. Seeing Margarita Nazarova in the arena, Nikita Sergeevich was delighted and said that a movie should be made about such brave women. Film officials took this as a guide to action.