April 05, 2021

Tripping on Tolkien


Tripping on Tolkien
Gandalf with Bilbo. Screenshot from "Хранители / Часть 1" by Youtube channel Пятый канал Россия.

Are you a member of that rare breed who yearns to stumble on the magical intersection between Russophilia and kitschy nerd-dom? Or a fan of hairy fairy folk with mystical inclinations and a hint of пошлость (crass banality)? If so, then look no further!

Russia’s Channel Five recently published two episodes of a supposedly “lost” television show on YouTube. The series is based on “The Lord of the Rings” and was filmed at the Leningrad Television Studio in 1991. The show aired only once, but it has only now resurfaced, much to the delight of Russian Tolkien fans.

The series was based on a translation by Vladimir Muravyov and Andrey Kistyakovsky from the 1980s. Actor Viktor Kostetsky took the role of Gandalf, Georgy Shtil played Bilbo and Valery Dyachenko starred as Frodo.

Russian music aficionados, a little easter egg for you: the music was composed by Andrey "Dyusha" Romanov, a member of the Russian rock group Akvarium.

In addition, "The Fabulous Journey of Mr. Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit" based on the book "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again," was also shot at the Leningrad studio in 1985. You can watch this film on YouTube, too.

All episodes come highly recommended for their special Soviet flair – they just don’t do special effects like they used to...

hobbits fishing
Hobbits fishing. Screenshot from "Хранители / Часть 1"
by Youtube channel Пятый канал Россия.

 

 

You Might Also Like

In Search of Bards
  • January 01, 2009

In Search of Bards

To paraphrase Pushkin, "In Russia, a bard is much more than a bard." We look back at the bardic tradition (singer-songwriters) in Russian culture and find that not all is what it seems. Or, to paraphrase Pushkin again, "In Russia, a bard is often less than a bard."
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Chekhov Bilingual

Chekhov Bilingual

Some of Chekhov's most beloved stories, with English and accented Russian on facing pages throughout. 
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955