April 07, 2021
Could this ramshackle 1991 Russian adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring be the best adaptation of Tolkien’s work?
Gandalf the red: confusing and cheap, but Soviet Lord of the Rings is curiously charming
People used to say that The Lord of the Rings was unfilmable. The scale of Tolkien’s books, the sprawl of them, their unyielding density, made it almost impossible to compress them into a more simplistic form for the screen. Of course, Peter Jackson proved this theory wrong in 2001. But now it turns out that Leningrad Television proved it wrong a full decade earlier.
This weekend without warning, a Russian television channel uploaded Khraniteli, a 1991 adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring, to its YouTube channel. Despite not speaking Russian, I have now watched all two hours of Khraniteli, and it isn’t an exaggeration to say that it’s now my favourite Lord of the Rings story made in any medium ever.
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