Watch The 1985 Soviet Union Version Of The Hobbit
So you checked out Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey over the holiday, and you had a couple of problems with the finished product. Maybe it was too long, maybe the 3D didn’t do anything for you, and maybe you paid for a ticket to the 48 frames-per-second presentation, but thought that the higher frame rate made everything look too realistic – a look that doesn’t work for J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy realms.
Then we have this version of The Hobbit for you - a Russian-language adaptation that aired on the Leningrad TV Channel back in 1985 has been posted online. It might make you rethink your criticisms of Jackson’s efforts, which – at the very least – show love of Tolkien’s writings in virtually every scene. This one, well... watch the Soviet Union version of The Hobbit right here:
The clip starts with Zinovy Gerdt playing “The Professor,” a stand-in narrator who was meant to serve as Tolkien. The Russian cast list includes Mikhail Danilov as Bilbo, Anatoly Ravikovich as Thorin, Ivan Krasko as Gandalf and Igor Dmitriev as Gollum. Move over, Andy Serks - we have a new “Precious” portrayal of the cave-dwelling, ring-craving character.
Truthfully, this looks like it was made in somebody’s basement, not behind the Iron Curtain. But what it does prove is the universal appeal of Tolkien’s storytelling and the fantasy characters the author created decades ago. Plus the Russians tell the bulk of the story in just over an hour, while Jackson needs three films for some reason. A fair trade? Watch the clip and make the call. I think you’ll be begging for The Desolation of Smaug before all is said and done.
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