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The Lounge => Media and Inspiration => Topic started by: Reckall on May 14, 2021, 11:59:31 AM

Title: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: Reckall on May 14, 2021, 11:59:31 AM
For some reason only today I became aware of one of the current "must see videos" on YouTube: "Khraniteli" the unauthorised TV version of "The Fellowship of the Ring" made by the Soviets right before the country collapsed in 1991. It is not "inspired": they openly mention Tolkien's book in the opening credits.

It was considered lost, until, out of the blue, what apparently is the original producer (The Leningrad TV Channel - yes, "They Are Taking the Hobbit to Leningrad" is already a meme) published it on YouTube.

Part one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vquKyNdgH3s

Part two: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLevCLNnLmg

It is awe-inspiring. I watched it in a sort of dazed stupor. It starts with, I think, Leon Trotsky narrating the affair and... let's say that how they tackled the whole Balrog attack and Gandalf's "death" big set piece is just genius.

It is also more faithful to the book than Jackson's version! In two hours they managed to put in The Old Forest, Tom Bombadil (!), the Barrow Down, the Warg Attack... all things absent from even the Extended version.

Since the "What they were thinking?? No, really???" is strong in this one, Variety tracked down the survivors of the original cast and published an in-depth "making of" piece - which shows even more how the production itself bordered on surrealism. A Tim Burton in his prime could have shot a movie about this production. If you want to watch the uhm... movie... I suggest to read this piece afterwards because it spoils... Well, exactly what they were thinking - for example about Legolas.

https://variety.com/2021/film/actors/russian-lord-of-the-rings-khraniteli-1234968603/

A curiosity: the Soviet government never intended to do the whole trilogy. For some reason, "The Fellowship of the Ring" was considered the only "politically acceptable" part of LotR. The other two books were banned (even if they circulated in translations done... by hand and then photocopied - those were the days in the SU!)
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: HappyDaze on May 14, 2021, 12:45:04 PM
RPG relevance? Perhaps the media inspiration section would be better for this.
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: Reckall on May 14, 2021, 01:07:39 PM
RPG relevance? Perhaps the media inspiration section would be better for this.

Hmmm... you are right. Is it possible to move a thread?
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: HappyDaze on May 14, 2021, 01:28:20 PM
RPG relevance? Perhaps the media inspiration section would be better for this.

Hmmm... you are right. Is it possible to move a thread?
Pundit can, and so can mods. Just send them a message (or "report" your own post with a request to relocate it).

That aside, what you posted about is fairly interesting stuff.
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: Trond on May 14, 2021, 01:47:03 PM
I can unequivocally prove that this is superior to the Peter Jackson version. The reason? It includes Old Man Willow, Tom Bombadil, and the Barrow-Wights! Q.E.D.

Bonus: the Barrow-Wight looks a bit like a Kabuki character :D 
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on May 14, 2021, 05:16:14 PM
Speaking of barrow-wights and RPGs... the way barrow-wights are depicted in Tolkien is different from (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Barrow-wights) how they're depicted in D&D and derivatives. Namely, the "barrow" part of the same.

Like Clark Ashton Smith, Tolkien was a fan of archaic words and using them even when nobody else understands them. The barrow-wights are wights of the barrows. They're spectral entities sent to haunt the barrows by Mordor, going so far as to desecrate and puppet the bones of the long-dead in order to terrorize and murder any interlopers. There are probably other kinds of wights, like forest-wights, river-wights, hearth-wights, land-wights and so forth, but we never see mention of them in the books.

In D&D, the spectral and barrow parts are removed and the reanimated bodies alone are conflated with wights as a whole.

I find this frustrating, because I wanted to pull a Clark Ashton Smith and feature stuff like (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A6ttir) (actual) barrow-wights, forest-wights and river-wights in my world building, but my readers are going to erroneous assume they're undead and if I provide an explanation then they'll just be even more confused.

Visit http://www.eldritchdark.com/ and search for "lich" in the sidebar. Clark Ashton Smith's stories use the word the way that we would use "zombie." I can internalize the original meaning easily, but I fear that modern readers would be left hopelessly confused by the descriptions of (to them) CR21 undead wizards being treated as mindless soulless automatons by the empire of the necromancers.
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: Trond on May 14, 2021, 05:29:04 PM
Speaking of barrow-wights and RPGs... the way barrow-wights are depicted in Tolkien is different from (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Barrow-wights) how they're depicted in D&D and derivatives. Namely, the "barrow" part of the same.

Like Clark Ashton Smith, Tolkien was a fan of archaic words and using them even when nobody else understands them. The barrow-wights are wights of the barrows. They're spectral entities sent to haunt the barrows by Mordor, going so far as to desecrate and puppet the bones of the long-dead in order to terrorize and murder any interlopers. There are probably other kinds of wights, like forest-wights, river-wights, hearth-wights, land-wights and so forth, but we never see mention of them in the books.

In D&D, the spectral and barrow parts are removed and the reanimated bodies alone are conflated with wights as a whole.

I find this frustrating, because I wanted to pull a Clark Ashton Smith and feature stuff like (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A6ttir) (actual) barrow-wights, forest-wights and river-wights in my world building, but my readers are going to erroneous assume they're undead and if I provide an explanation then they'll just be even more confused.

Visit http://www.eldritchdark.com/ and search for "lich" in the sidebar. Clark Ashton Smith's stories use the word the way that we would use "zombie." I can internalize the original meaning easily, but I fear that modern readers would be left hopelessly confused by the descriptions of (to them) CR21 undead wizards being treated as mindless soulless automatons by the empire of the necromancers.

Wights are "vetter" in Norwegian. And you're right, they were assumed to be in different parts of the landscape. The latest reference I have heard of people believing in vetter was actually in reference to barrows: locals were scared of the wights when they were excavating viking barrows around T√łnsberg in the early 1900s.
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: RPGPundit on May 14, 2021, 10:07:31 PM
Moved.
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: Omega on May 15, 2021, 04:44:16 AM
I like the other Russian adaption of the Hobbit.

Also the Finnish Lord of the Rings is actually pretty good and I really like their version of Gandalf.
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: Lurkndog on May 15, 2021, 12:47:48 PM
For comparison, this is the BBC adaptation of The Silver Chair from 1990, around the same time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQD1hpwSrzo

They're not completely on different levels, but the BBC costuming and effects are much better done. I wouldn't say their puppet Aslan was convincing, but at the very least, it is impressive.
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: Reckall on May 15, 2021, 04:29:40 PM
It must be said that the West robbed Russia first. The Ralph Bakshi version of LotR used Eisenstein's "Alexander Nevski" as the basis for some rotoscoped battles.
Title: Re: Move on Peter Jackson - the Soviet Fellowship of the Ring is here
Post by: Trond on May 15, 2021, 05:29:10 PM
For comparison, this is the BBC adaptation of The Silver Chair from 1990, around the same time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQD1hpwSrzo

They're not completely on different levels, but the BBC costuming and effects are much better done. I wouldn't say their puppet Aslan was convincing, but at the very least, it is impressive.

Alsan: "I have swallowed up girls, boys, women and men"

Jesus, is that you??