The Fabulous Journey Of Mr. Bilbo Baggins The Hobbit
Director: Vladimir Latyshev
Starring: Anatoly Ravikovich, Ivan Krasko, Igor Dmitriev
There's no quote here, because I'm not fluent in Russian.
And props to Jim Dietz for directing me to this. I had no idea it existed.
We may have beaten the Russians/Soviets to space...but they beat up to developing a live action feature of one of Tolkien's novels. Its also coming upon its 30th birthday. This was a production intended to be a feature film apparently, but wound up becoming a pilot for a television program instead. Not a television series based on the Lord Of The Rings stuff, but sort of a new live action fairy tale or classic book coming to life type of show. Think of that show Fairy Tale Theatre from back in the day that had Shelley Duvall. That show was actually airing during that time, so it may have been the inspiration for the Russians, if they had it in syndication over there. When I viewed this one I immediately had that show on the brain. The style and production values are all akin to a show I caught somewhat during its original run, but most of it would be in reruns during my youth (Friday nights of Super 55 Fox I believe).
Due to such an extremely low budget, there are things that are off about this movie, that you have to give it. Things like Gandolf and the hobbits all being the same height, as well as Gollum. Everything in this is very theatrical. Its more like watching a stage play than it is watching a movie. Well, except from the fact that a lot of this is done in blue screen work. Also, Smaug is glorious puppet held close to the screen for his size. The spider scene in this also proves to be both charming and amusing too. Oh and also there is plenty of song and dance numbers in this. The trolls dancing is especially silly and fun.
I can't really tell you a lick of what's going on in this because there are no subtitles. But, I've seen this hobbit story before and recently because of the animated one to know what's going on and see what they're using and what they're not. And their interpretation of Gandolf is as if Liberace was cast and allowed the freedom of interpretation. And then there's this narrator, an old man in a suit with a cane in a wooden chair, who is overly serious and appear deeply moved and involved in this story about the hobbits. Its kind of comical.
You don't need to sit and watch this whole thing like I did (I torture myself for the cause, and for you my lovely regular readers), but it is an amusing little click to sit and skim through to see what this production is like. Its definitely one of those weird things you find and go "woah, didn't know about that and its crazy" type things.