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The Old Fairy Tale: When the Sun Was God

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

THE OLD FAIRY TALE, the long-awaited film from veteran director Jerzy Hoffman, features a cast of renowned Polish stars, including Daniel Olbrychski (Decalogue; Pan Tadeusz), Jerzy Trela (Angel in Love; Pan Tadeusz; Three Colors: White), and Michal Zebrowksi (The Pianist). Taken from a novel by Jozef Ignacy Kraszewski, the complex story is based on the ninth-century legends of Slavic tribes who existed long before the Polish state was formed.
Once upon a time, the old kingdom was suffering under the rule of mad King Popiel and his cruel wife, the Duchess. When the Duchess foolishly murders the entire ruling assembly to ensure the succession of her son to the throne, the peasants revolt, paving the way for the Piast Dynasty.
THE OLD FAIRY TALE is an epic superproduction in the same spirit as Hoffman s blockbuster With Fire and Sword.

Review

...action junkies suffering from withdrawal because it s been awhile since Braveheart might find some satisfaction here. --BeyondHollywood.com

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Bogdan Stupka, Malgorzata Foremniak, Michal Zebrowski, Daniel Olbrychski
  • Directors: Jerzy Hoffman
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, Import
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MGE
  • DVD Release Date: June 23, 2009
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011U52DS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,502 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Richard Brzostek on January 4, 2008
Format: DVD
The Old Fairy Tale: When the Sun Was God (Stara Basn: Kiedy Slonce Bylo Bogiem) may not be the best title as far as telling us what the movie is about other than it will have a pagan element. Jerzy Hoffman, who brought us the trilogy from the 17th century, presents us with one of Poland's oldest legends on film -- the story of Popiel. This a story from Poland's prehistory pagan time; a story that has been told and re-told, and Hoffman does a fantastic retelling of the story on film.

The story could be summarized by saying Popiel is an evil and oppressive ruler that uses force unjustly on neighboring people. The people unit and make an effort to overthrow him. Of course, there is a love story in there too with titillating magical spells to help that effort along.

The movie is well done -- from the eerie music to the fierce battles. There are also rituals and pagan dances that left me in awe thinking this was how Poland was like back then. We also see the Vikings, who battle the pre-history Poles. Oddly, some of the Vikings carry Draco standards resembling the type Sarmatian horsemen carried some 500 years earlier while in Roman service. The battle scenes are comparable in realistic special effects and sheer brutality with other historical films such as Braveheart.

About half of the cast from Hoffman's Ogniem i Mieczem star in Stara Basn. Michal Zebrowski plays a lead role again and you are sure to recognize several other faces. Of those not in Ogniem i Mieczem is Malgorzata Foremniak, who plays Popiel's wife and is one of my favorite Polish actresses.

Stara Basn is an exceptional Polish film that has it all with action, battles, romance and interesting costumes. The movie also has its cultural aspect, as it is based on a classic Polish legend. If you enjoy historical movies you have to watch this one.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Wolf on August 3, 2009
Format: DVD
Appease the Gods and you shall score! Oops, I gave away the ending ;)) Seriously though, considering the fact that it's so hard to find any decent historical data about Poland's past prior to the year 956, I think this movie has portrayed the legend quite nicely. Personally, I would have been even happier if the ancient Slavic beliefs were elaborated a bit more.

At times, the movie may seem a wee bit too graphic to sensitive viewers. Being born and raised in Poland, I grew up on Polish cinematography, so I'm somewhat used to the bloody battle scenes in historical films. However, I have a hunch that most viewers won't mind the other specialty of Polish film makers, the nudie scenes ;))

Its historical value aside, it's a primordial "boy meets girl" story, and it has a happy ending as all proper fairytales should ;)) What can I say, I love my epic sagas... Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Straelbora on August 2, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Based upon an 19th century novel, "The Old Fairy Tale: When the Sun was God" is unfortunately clumsily titled. It's loosely the historical tale of Popiel, a cruel local ruler, and Ziemowit, a hero who 'saves the day.' Against the backdrop of Pagan Poland, with Viking mercenaries and damsels in distress, it's a good tale with very nice production qualities. Anyone who enjoys a film with sword-swinging action will like this film, even if the hero reminds him too much of Drew Carey's friend Oswald (Diedrich Bader).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carlton Van Pyrz on April 25, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For anyone that liked " Pirates of the Caribbean" this is a film along those lines. The title is misleading "The Old Fairy Tale: When the Sun was God" but this Polish film is jam packed with action, adventure and a fine story line. This film can be considered historical fiction since many of the characters existed in Polish History and is set in the times before Poland became a Christian Nation. It was a T.V. mini series that ran in Poland and is set in three chapters. I highly recommend this film, even with the subtitles one will truly enjoy it.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nelbert on January 8, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My review isn't about the film (though I wish it were), but is instead about the product received from Amazon.
The product description on Amazon's site and on the DVD case both proclaimed that the film was subtitled in English. Upon launching the DVD, the menu was in English, but only had two selection choices: Play and Chapters. Play, as expected, launched the film ... in Polish with no apparent way to select or turn subtitles on. I thought that maybe Chapters would offer an option to enter a setup utility where subtitles might be selected, but no such luck. So, unfortunately, after poking, proding and peeking in every place I could, I gave up and sent the DVD back.
Searching around some, I have seen a copy of the film presumably from a different distributor (available from a Polish history site). I'm crossing fingers that this one will offer my much needed subtitles and that Amazon rectifies the item. (This is not to blame Amazon. I'm sure this is the result of a distributor cutting a corner.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sooner Man on January 26, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Good story and lots of action. Had to use sub titles to as in Eastern European language. Long movie but enjoyed.
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