Trawling through the work of years gone by is always an enjoyable pastime. More often than not, doing so will turn up at least one or two gems. But when 5TV uploaded this glorious footage from 1991, we knew we were in for a treat.
The Lord of the Rings is one of the classic pieces of literature of our time. Buoyed by the films that followed, J.R.R. Tolkein’s story about an all-powerful ring has become as ubiquitous as the names Frodo and Bilbo Baggins — but that doesn’t mean the story is always well-portrayed.
One such moment came in 1991 when there was a TV adaptation of the book for Soviet TV. Television adaptations are never much to write home about but this one, in particular, can make fans of the film’s skin crawl.
The film was titled Khraneiteli and was based on Tolkein’s first tome in the series, The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s thought to be the only TV adaptation of Tolkein’s famous fantasy trilogy from the Soviet Union.
The Guardian reports that the film had remained perceivably lost until Leningrad Television’s successor, 5TV, uploaded the film to YouTube last week. In just over seven days, the upload has been watched over 400,000 times owing, one would imagine, not to the epic storyline but the trip back in time.
The film uses some more than rudimentary effects to tell Tolkein’s story and can certainly provide the odd smirk or giggle. As with some of the Soviet Union’s finest moments on film, the adaptation is a delicate balance between absurdity and tragedy.
You can watch the full film, below.