The Guardian reports that a Soviet television adaptation of The Lord of the Rings – thought to have been lost for 30 years – was rediscovered and posted on YouTube last week.
The 1991 made-for-TV film, Khraniteli, based on Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, is the only adaptation of his Lord of the Rings trilogy believed to have been made in the Soviet Union.
Aired 10 years before the release of the first instalment of Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy, the low-budget film appears ripped from another age: the costumes and sets are rudimentary, the special effects are ludicrous, and many of the scenes look more like a theatre production than a feature-length film.
And it looks… AMAZING! Svengooli and Mystery Science Theater fans will be positively drooling over this!
Watch the gorgeously cringeworthy trailer below. And if you dare: The whole movie below THAT.
“Fans have been searching the archives but had not able to find this film for decades,” wrote World of Fantasy, a Russian-language publication that has written about adaptations of Tolkien’s work.
“There should be a statue to the person who found and digitised this,” one commenter posted.
The schlocky adaptation appeared to scratch a nostalgic itch for many who watched it.
“It is as absurd and monstrous as it is divine and magnificent. The opening song is especially lovely. Thanks to the one who found this rarity,” wrote another. In the opening song, Romanov sings a rough translation of Tolkien’s description of the origins of the rings of power, of which three are given to the elves, seven to the dwarves, and nine to mortal men, doomed to die.