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Sadko

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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(Sep 21, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

In this magical tale based upon the legends of the old Russian city of Novgorod, young singer Sadko brags to merchants in a gorgeous palace that he can bring to their land a sweet-voiced bird of happiness. Despite everyone's ridicule, he sets out with the daughter of the Ocean King for a sweeping adventure through India, Egypt and other exotic lands to learn the true nature of happiness.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Mikhail Astangov, Nikolai Kryuchkov, Alla Larionova, Sergei Stolyarov, Anastasia Vertinskaya
  • Directors: Alexander Ptushko
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002NRS5K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,305 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Benoit Racine on December 2, 2005
Format: DVD
This film (the original Russian film) has been completely restored by Mosfilm and is available on DVD in North-America from the Ruscico label, in most major outlets. The film restoration is incredible, the colours are vibrant and not a single frame is missing from the original elements. Furthermore, the Rimsky-Korsakoff musical score has been completly re-constructed and re-recorded in stereo and the sound is in 5.1 Dolby with lots of atmospheric foley surround effects (also redone). It comes with many extras, including two interviews with Stolyarov's son, who is not too kind to Francis Ford Coppola, who took part in the butchering of his father's film for American consumption. I knew there was a masterpiece under all that grime and that bad sound. It just needed a lot of work. It's just too bad the release of the original did not receive one fifth the publicity of the Coppola atrocity ("The Magic Voyage of Sinbad").

I first saw "Sadko" on television in French-speaking Quebec barely four years after it had been honoured at the Venice Film Festival. I was six years old at the time and the film was in French and in black and white. In those days of the Cold War, the French had no compunction about distributing Russian films and translating them into French and Canadian television had no compunction about showing this one to the very impressionable children it was meant to be shown to. This film was Russia's attempt to create a children's colour classic that would be on a par with "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Thief of Bagdad". I think they succeeded admirably even though there is no denying its profound 'russianness'. "Sadko" is based on a Russian fairy-tale that also inspired the opera of the same name by Rimsky-Korsakoff and it incorporates the opera's ballets and melodies in its action.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this beautiful film with subititles in 1954 in Melbourne and it has left a trace of enchantment in me ever since. I was sixteen that year. Fifty odd years later it was not quite as I remembered. The costumes and scenes were and remain just stunning, the special effects certainly tolerable and frequently very effective. The Novgorod and Indian scenes exceeded my memories of them. The confrontation with the Varangian Vikings was an umistakeable precursor of The Lord of the Rings. But at the same time everything seemed now a little rushed and the story at times disjointed and inconsistent to the adult mind. I suppose that children would be less worried by this - Sadko is such a boaster and he leads the poor princess of the sea on even as his heart has just been given, rather impulsively, to Lyubova. And just how did the crews survive those dramatic shipwrecks to come home to port? So the adult asks. Well it is a fairy tale and does not pretend to be something else. But I wanted to linger and savour while the action dragged me on. The comic dialogue between the Tsar and Tsarina of the Sea was a fresh discovery that appealed to the adult in me though the English subtitles generally were more often distracting, occasionally quaint, and I think most of the story could be followed without their help at all, the Russian dialogue easily imagined or construed and the magic of the film sustained for the non-Russian speaker [though I do have a little Russian] by the semi-mysterious tongue. Overall I was still delighted and will watch it again and again, testing the Russian language version on both myself and my grandchildren. The Russian Cinema re-issue is clear, the colour perhaps only a little subdued here and there, the whole probably as good a reproduction as can be achieved.
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Format: DVD
SADKO (1952) is a live-action fairy tale film directed by the Soviet Union's preeminent fantasy filmmaker Alexander Ptushko (ILYA MUROMETS, aka SWORD AND THE DRAGON). This one doesn't have much in the way of action, but it is beautifully mounted and lavishly filmed with gorgeous cinematography and great effort taken with the studio sets, location work, costumes, props and special effects miniatures, not to mention the rousing music taken from Rimsky-Korsakov's opera version of the tale.

The story's pretty simple, detailing the efforts of a wandering minstrel, Sadko, to recruit sailors and build ships for a round-the-world mission to find the legendary Bird of Happiness in order to help out the suffering peasants of Novgorod. The mission takes years but we actually only see them go to a Viking coast, India and Egypt (courtesy of rear screen projection of the Sphinx and the pyramids). Not a lot happens on the voyage other than a brief skirmish with Vikings and an encounter with a mystical phoenix (with a female human head) in India. Sadko's biggest adventure actually occurs at the bottom of the sea near the end of the film where he meets the king and queen of the sea and the lovely princess who's helped him out from the start. He rides himself a mean sea horse in this scene. Overall, the film is not quite as grandly entertaining as ILYA MUROMETS and some of Ptushko's other films, but it is a beautiful work and should be seen by fans of non-Hollywood fantasy.

When this film was picked up for distribution in the U.S. in 1962, it was taken by producer Roger Corman (working with a young film student named Francis Ford Coppola), cut by about 13 minutes, dubbed into English, and retitled THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD, with its credits changed to hide its Soviet origins.
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