Anyone heard of SWORD AND THE DRAGON?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dick, Jan 12, 2003.

  1. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    This was a Russian film which was cropped from its 2.35:1 ratio and (badly) dubbed to English for its run on WOR-TV in New York in the early 60's. I actually liked it in spite of the flaws - but then, I was a movie-hungry kid whose only options in those days were hitting the local theater matinees and catching Million Dollar Movie on Channel 9. In any case, this film has seen a crappy release on a minor video label in the format I saw it in back then. However, word has it this film was quite a lot longer in Russia, and I would truly dig seeing it uncut, in Russian with subs, and in its OAR. Does anyone know who owns this?
     
  2. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    Is this the movie?
    http://us.imdb.com/Title?0049358
    "... I can't wait for the letterboxed Russian restoration which is scheduled to appear on DVD the end of 2001!!! "
    After much searching on the Ruscico web site I think I found it for you.
    http://www.ruscico.com/detail_eng.php?link=51
    It says a Qtr. 4 2002 release but its not out yet.
    Its not easy searching Google in Cyrillic!
    I've got a few Ruscico releases and the quality is very good. Most of their titles have 14 (yes!) subtitle tracks and a lot even have English dubs. I may have to order this thing just for the amount of effort I have in finding it. Whats it about?
     
  3. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Dick, the film you are referring to was originally called ILYA MUROMETS (1956). Ever since I saw its trailer on the Image/RusCiCo DVD of VIY, OR SPIRIT OF EVIL (1967), I was intrigued by it and other films by the Russian master of special effects, Aleksandr Ptushko, like THE TALE OF TIME LOST (1964), THE TALE OF TSAR SALTAN (1966) and RUSLAN AND LUDMILLA (1972) – all of which, incidentally, are already available on R1 DVD through Image.
    As a matter of fact, RusCiCo were also supposed to release ILYA MUROMETS on DVD (the running time they give is 94 minutes, if that’s any indication whether the version you saw was cut or not) towards the end of last year, along with another two of Ptushko’s films – SADKO (1952) and CRIMSON SAILS (1961) – but their website still lists them as “Not Released”. Also, his THE STONE FLOWER (1946) is slated for an early 2003 release – maybe the others were delayed till work on this disc was finalized?
    In any case, if you’re interested, I would certainly recommend picking up VIY, OR SPIRIT OF EVIL. Although Ptushko did not direct the film himself, his impressive special effects are the film’s highlight; it was based on a story by Nikolai Gogol, which was also filmed, very loosely, by Mario Bava as BLACK SUNDAY (1960). This enjoyable and atmospheric film is relatively short (72 minutes), so it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Apart from this, the DVD boasts beautiful menus and is brimming with wonderful supplements, particularly the lengthy excerpts from three (very rare) Silent Russian horror films – THE PORTRAIT (1915), THE QUEEN OF SPADES (1916) and SATAN EXULTANT (1917). Three enthusiastic reviews of this disc can be found at the following links:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...262&story=2133
    http://www.mondo-digital.com/viy.html
    http://www.monstersatplay.com/viy.shtml
    And here’s one for THE TALE OF TSAR SALTAN:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...500&story=2555
    By the way, has anyone bought THE TALE OF TIME LOST or RUSLAN AND LUDMILLA, or can at least indicate any reviews of these titles on the Internet?
     
  4. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Thanks for all the info, guys. Hope it actually does get released.
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    There's a lengthy article on this and other Ptushko fairy tale films in issue #9 of Video Watchdog:
    http://www.cinemaweb.com/videowd/catalogue.html
    It appears that #9 is still available. It's a good article, in the usual depth that one expects from VW.
     

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