In 1991, a Lord of the Rings Television adaptation titled Khraniteli broadcast on Soviet television. By all accounts, he is the only one Lord of the Rings adaptation made in the Soviet Union, and it was also thought to have been lost forever. However, like the One Ring itself, the Soviet Union Lord of the Rings The TV movie has resurfaced on YouTube. It’s a delightfully low-budget affair, looking more like a TV game show than a JRR Tolkien adaptation, and you can check out it in its entirety below.
Soviet TV movie The Lord of the Rings Part 1
Soviet movie Lord of the Rings, part 2
Before Peter Jackson made film history with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, there was Khraniteli, the only adaptation of Tolkien’s books produced in the Soviet Union. After airing in 1991 on Leningrad Television, the adaptation was thought to have been lost, but is now on YouTube, as The Guardian notes. Leningrad Television’s successor, 5TV, abruptly posted the film on YouTube last week, and you can watch it above.
With a sheet music by Andrei Romanov of the rock band Akvarium and an incredibly cheap production design, no one is going to mistake this. Lord of the Rings with Jackson movies. The Guardian also notes that this was not Leningrad Television’s first opportunity to adapt Tolkien; they also released an adaptation of The Hobbit in 1985. The adaptation featured “ballet dancers from what is now the Mariinsky Theater and a mustachioed storyteller replacing Tolkien. The abridged production, entitled The fantastic journey of Mr. Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit, skips trolls and elves in an hour-long romp that was long believed to be the only final adaptation of Tolkien produced during the Soviet Union. “
And the Lord of the Rings adaptation Khraniteli it seems to be equally unconventional in its approach. The sets look like, well, decorated, and the special effects, if you can call them that, are delightfully fun. This seems to have been on almost no budget, and that only lends itself to the charm. There are no English subtitles on the two videos above, but if you are familiar with the general story, you can a little follow what is happening. This version also includes the character of Tom Bombadil, who did not appear in the Peter Jackson films, not even in the extended cuts. And finally, Gollum also appears here, in the form of a man in what appears to be a homemade Yoda costume. It is quite magical.
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