The Soviet Version of The Lord Of The Rings

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Skipper, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper Commodore Commodore

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    (From Wikipedia)

    A live-action adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring, Khraniteli ("Keepers" or "Guardians" [of the Ring]) was made on a low budget by Leningrad Television and aired once in the last days of the Soviet Union in 1991. The film was thought lost, but was in 2021 rediscovered and republished on YouTube by Leningrad Television's successor, Channel 5. The film has attracted interest for its inclusion of characters such as Tom Bombadil, Goldberry, and the Barrow-wight, featuring in a detour made by the story's Hobbit protagonists through the Old Forest, and omitted from Peter Jackson's version of The Lord of the Rings as not furthering the plot. The film was made on a low budget, with a score by Andrei "Dyusha" Romanov of the Russian rock band Akvarium. It used the 1982 Russian translation of Tolkien's book by Vladimir Muravyov and Andrey Kistyakovsky.

    Part One


    Part Two
     
  2. crookeddy

    crookeddy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I watched part 1 (and I speak Russian). This is low budget even by Soviet made for TV standards... Not sure why they even bothered when operating on a budget of $100.
     
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  3. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    I saw some clips on Colbert. Pretty funny stuff. :lol:
     
  4. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    So that wasn't a standard budget for Soviet TV in the '90s?
    I only skimmed a few bits and pieces, but what I saw was hilariously bad.
    The one thing it's got going for it is the fact that as far as I know it's the only adaptation to actually include Tom Bombadil.
    The effects they used to make the Hobbits small were so bad.
    And why are the Nazgul, who are usually associated with everything being black riding brown horses with bright red tack? I don't think the tack is specially described in the book, but when everything else associated with them is black, it would make sense for their tack to be too.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    This is a little pedantic of me, but did the Soviet Union even exist for enough years of the 1990s to talk about "Soviet TV in the '90s?" The USSR was dissolved before 1991 even ended! ;)
     
  6. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    "In Soviet Russia the One Ring wears you!"
    (Sorry, couldn't resist)
     
  7. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Vice Admiral Moderator

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    The Lord of the Rings was written by a little old lady from Leningrad.

    You have not experienced it until you have watched it in the original Russian.
     
  8. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The opening song in Part 1 is actually kind of catchy. I have no idea what the words are, but it sounds nice.
     
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  9. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Ooops, you're right, I just saw other people referring to it as Soviet and didn't really think about it.
     
  10. crookeddy

    crookeddy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The movie is indeed Soviet. It's just that the union didn't last too much longer after it came out.
     
  11. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    I think perhaps the only negative of the dissolution of the Soviet Union was that they never finished this trilogy. ;)
     
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  12. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, there's a thing that I never knew existed. I can't imagine the Tolkien estate was paid any money for the adaptation rights.

    The BBC made a very good radio adaptation in 1981 with Ian Holm as Frodo.

    The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series) - Wikipedia

    There have been two other radio adaptations, one by the BBC in the mid 1950s, and one by US National Public Radio in 1979. The first BBC adaptation has been lost but the US one survives. It apparently includes Tom Bombadil, who was omitted from the 1981 BBC adaptation.

    I'm going to ignore the attempts at animating the story. While that worked out ok (sort of) for The Hobbit, it wasn't suitable for TLOTR.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  13. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    IDK - I thought to the Ralph Bakshi animated take on "The Lord of the Rings" was okay, and it was too bad he couldn't finish the second film he had planned.

    When Rankin Bass tried to finish what Ralph Bakshi had started, yes for me that definitely didn't work. Especially since they went back to referring to the Orcs as Goblins (which is what they were called in "The Hobbit" and in the Rankin Bass animated adaptation of that book.)

    I don't know if it was something that the Rankin Bass was contractually obligated to do because of whatever licensing deal they',d struck with the Tolkien estate, or if it was something the production team decided to try and tie it back to their version of "The Hobbit", but yeah that and a lot of other things in their animated continuation of "The Lord of the Rings' didn't sit well with me.

    To be fair though, I didn't like Peter Jackson's live-action take on "The Hobbit". Trying to expand the story in that book to encompass three films (and adding in extraneous material from "The Simarillian"), and some of his own suppositions about certain backstory elements didn't work for me at all.

    But I digress...;)
     
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  14. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, OK.
     
  15. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    For my part, I've always appreciated R-B's work over the Bakshi movie. Certainly the Rankin-Bass versions are not perfect, though their ROTK did have some pretty cool music. :D I agree with you too about Jackson expanding The Hobbit into a trilogy and changing some events fairly radically to do that. I honestly wish he'd been content to do a single film adaption, or maybe a dual installment, that was reasonably faithful to the book.
     
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  16. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I've never seen the animated Return of the King, but this thread has piqued my curiosity that I might have to check it out.
     
  17. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    I'd say it's decent, although it does take some liberties with elements of the story (partly for dramatic purposes, partly because the scope is smaller than the full book). Aragon chooses to confront Sauron's army directly because he infers it's better than simply enduring siege after siege, but the actual plot reason for that (keeping Sauron's attention on his army and not Frodo and Sam) is not mentioned. The fight between Eowyn and the Nazgul Lord is arguably a bit odd, in the sense that he has a rather robotic sounding voice. It's a cool voice but doesn't entirely seem to fight the setting. :lol:

    As mentioned, the music is one of the better aspects IMO. :) I'm not entirely sure if these are the same singers who provided the songs in the R-B Hobbit, but it's certainly possible.









     
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  18. crookeddy

    crookeddy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ah, you meant the animated one is decent. Hard to call the Soviet one anything other than horrible with the below high school level budget.
     
  19. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You joke, but you're closer to the mark than you know. There's a Russian Tolkien Expanded Universe -- retellings of The Silmarillion from Morgoth's perspective, retelings of The Lord of the Rings from Mordor's perspective (notably, The Last Ringbearer, which has unofficially been translated into English), massive novels about the First Age, sequels to The Lord of the Rings, etc. All published by reputable Russian publishing houses. And there are some gorgeous illustrated editions of Tolkien's work in Russia, notably a version that has paintings in a Byzantine icon style. All completely unlicensed.

    I'd very much doubt it, too. :)

    Rankin-Bass always intended to adapt only The Hobbit and Return of the King. I don't know why they wanted to do it that way. The Bakshi film had nothing to do with their decision to skip ahead.

    Bakshi intended to do The Lord of the Rings, Part 2. He hoped that releasing Part 1 would get him the money he needed to do Part 2, but Part 1 wasn't successful and the project died.

    I like the Rankin-Bass Return of the King. Yeah, some of it is cringey. Yeah, "Where There's a Whip." But some of it is really effective; I think it does the Eowyn-Witch King fight better, and much as I love John Noble, William Conrad's Denethor and his madness is incredible. (Conrad's line reading on "The West has failed" is chilling.) And I'm sorry, but Glenn Yarbrough as the Minstrel of Gondor is great. It's not a deep film, but where else are you going to get those John Huston soliloquies? :)

    I read The History of The Hobbit a number of years ago, a two volume set that delves into Tolkien's writing of The Hobbit and how it all came together. The books pointed out that 1) The Silmarillion was always a part of The Hobbit, even if Tolkien wasn't entirely sure when and where The Hobbit was set in time and space when he wrote it and 2) Tolkien had an unfulfilled desire later in his life to make The Hobbit more like The Lord of the Rings in tone and style, to the point where he started a whole new version of the book. Peter Jackson, in my view successfully, was able to accomplish what Tolkien could not, a version of The Hobbit that matched the tone and style of his version of The Lord of the Rings. It doesn't work for everyone, and I understand that, but it works for me, and I enjoy it, even if I think that the third film needed a serious rethink.
     
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  20. crookeddy

    crookeddy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    One of the russian sequels was even translated into english. You can find it on ebook now.