Formerly thought to be lost in the dust of time, a Soviet version of “The Lord of the Rings” was rediscovered and posted on YouTube, much to the delight of Russian fans of JRR Tolkien. Divided into two parts, the special “Khraniteli” (“Guardians”) was produced between 1985 and 1991, has a duration of almost two hours and is an adaptation of “The Society of the Ring”, the first book of the saga, which was transformed into film by the hands of Peter Jackson in 2001, taking four Oscar statues home.
This true treasure was excavated and published by 5TV, the current name of the former Leningrad Television, the broadcaster responsible for the production. Together, the two parts of the special have already totaled more than 500 thousand views.
With low budget costumes and sets, “Khraniteli” has a soundtrack signed by Andrei Romanov, leader of the Russian band Akvarium, formed in Leningrad in the 1970s.
According to Russian Tolkien fans, the search for the “Khraniteli” archives was long-standing. “There should be a statue for the person who found and digitized it,” posted a commentator for “Worlf of Fantasy”, a Russian publication specializing in fantasy books and films.
The Soviet version contains some elements left out of Peter Jackson’s “Fellowship of the Ring”, which cost $ 93 million. In “Khraniteli”, for example, there is the character Tom Bombadil, a forest dweller cut from the Hollywood feature because he is supposed to be very long-winded, which would clutter the plot.
In addition to “Khraniteli”, Leningrad Television showed, in 1985, its version for another Tolkien book: “The Hobbit”. The version featured dancers from the historic Teatro Mariinsky and a mustache narrator in the role of the writer. Peter Jackson only adapted the work for the cinema in 2012, with the launch of the franchise of three films: “An unexpected journey”, “The desolation of Smaug” and “The battle of the five armies”.
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