Alexander Sedov (alek_morse) wrote,
Alexander Sedov
alek_morse

A few words about "Englishness" in Soviet cinema

Решил перевести на английский один мой текст - для англоязычных друзей. То же самое, но по-русски можно прочесть здесь:
http://alek-morse.livejournal.com/69444.html
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Before and After Russian Sherlock Holmes
From King Lear to Ten Little Indians
A few words about “Englishness” in Soviet cinema
Author: Alexander SEDOV (c) 2013
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Laurence Olivier once said: "The British viewers always happy to see the Soviet adaptations of Shakespeare plays."
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He wrote those words in the magazine called "Soviet Screen" in 1970. British actor and director presented to the Soviet audience his film version of "The Three Sisters" by Anton Chekhov. "In my opinion, such exchange of screen adaptations should be more frequent," - he added.
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By the time Hamlet is already six years old and he marched triumphantly around the world, and before the King Lear’s birth had a year – I mean the two films directed by Grigori Kozintsev. British audience also had time to get acquainted with "Othello" (directed by Sergei Yutkevich) and appreciated the "Twelfth Night" (directed by Yan Frid), both films produced in 1955. Shakespeare is a priceless national treasure of the British, hence the great interest with which they watch the foreign film adaptation of the plays by their national idol.



Saying about an exchange of the adaptations, Laurence Olivier, as I guess, had no idea what a fervour Soviet filmmakers will take English literature with. The cinema, television, animation... In each of these screen arts the Soviet directors will present a lot of surprises in the seventies: John Priestley’s dramas, Dickens’ and Chesterton’s television series, "pure English" detectives, the naughty and lyrical comedies by Goldsmith, Brandon Thomas, and Jerome K. Jerome, the adventurous adaptation based on Robert Louis Stevenson stories, the teleplays based on Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde plays. As for animation, the 1970s will begin with "Winnie the Pooh" by Alexander Milne and "Mowgli" by Rudyard Kipling. An absurdist animated film "The House That Jack Built" based on traditional English poetry will end the decade, approaching closely to the strange Lewis Carroll world. And Shakespeare, indeed! If you look at the Soviet "Englishness" film adaptations list of this time period, by their number and genre variety rivalled only the Russian classics in the all home adaptations, you may be tempted to sum ​​up the balance of the "exchange" mentioned by Laurence Olivier. Interestingly, will it be in whose favour?
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The 1980s broke a record for the number of Russian "Englishness" movies. The statistics of Soviet film distribution eloquently demonstrates the mass interest of the audience to them. If in the sixties and seventies, among the top grossing films there were only two Soviet film adaptations of British literature, in the eighties they were as much as six:
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1964 - "Hamlet" (based on Shakespeare play), dir. Grigori Kozintsev, Lenfilm Studio (14th place) - 21.1 million viewers;
clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvssXTX2tuw
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1976 - "The Arrows of Robin Hood" (based on folk ballads), dir. Sergei Tarasov, Riga Film Studio (4th) – 28.9 million viewers;
a piece - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM3pGMM6Xw8
see the film (without Eng. subs) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs3DChwdy80
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1981 - "The Woman in White" (based on Wilkie Collins story), dir. Vadim Derbenyov, Moldova-Film Studio (16th) - 20.5 million viewers;
clip 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_D4hP1hkcY
clip 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzLXIMN5C5o
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1983 - "The Ballad of the Valiant Knight Ivanhoe" (based on Walter Scott story), dir. Sergei Tarasov, Mosfilm Studio (4th) - 28.4 million viewers;
a piece - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUwFtRar9xw
see the film (without Eng subs) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFI0dwU-gyA
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1984 - "The Mystery of the Blackbirds" (based on Agatha Christie story “A Pocket Full of Rye”), dir. Vadim Derbenyov , Mosfilm Studio (3rd) - 35.3 million viewers;
the beginning (yes! English subtitles) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEM2gSifLpY
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1985 - "The Black Arrow" (based on Robert L. Stevenson story), dir. Sergei Tarasov, Mosfilm Studio (4th) - 29.8 million viewers;
see the film (without Eng subs) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrFdeNlMglI
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1985 - "The Invisible Man" (based on HG Wells story), dir. Alexander Zakharov, Mosfilm Studio (7th) - 20.7 million viewers;
a piece - http://my.mail.ru/video/mail/girning.artur/52723/54456.html#video=/mail/sedoi_2006/98/11049
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1988 - "Ten Little Indians" (based on Agatha Christie story), dir. Stanislav Govorukhin, Odessa Film Studio (5th) - 33.2 million viewers
the beginning - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLejtuVakXw
see the film (yes! English subtitles) - http://veehd.com/video/3595521_Ten-Little-Indians-1987-English-subtitles or here - http://sovietmoviesonline.com/en/adventure/186-desyat-negrityat.html
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But the main surprise was given by the television. At the meeting point of two decades the TV started the Lenfilm series "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson" (1979-1986) directed by Igor Maslennikov. Since then, the "good old England" world in the Russian minds became associated primarily with this production. The history of the "Englishness" adaptations became henceforth divided into before and after.
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See also “Mary Poppins, Goodbye” (1983) - http://sovietmoviesonline.com/en/comedy/178-meri-poppins-do-svidaniya.html (with Eng. subs)
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Dangerous Corner” with English subtitles is a 1972 soviet film (three episodes), based on play by the English writer J. B. Priestley - http://sovietmoviesonline.com/en/drama/165-opasnyy-povorot.html
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Hello, I'm Your Aunt” with English subtitles is a Soviet 1975 comedy film directed by Viktor Titov and is loosely based on the play Charley's Aunt by Brandon Thomas - http://sovietmoviesonline.com/en/comedy/86-zdravstvuyte-ya-vasha-tetya.html
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Hamlet” in English (dubbing) is a 1964 film adaptation in Russian of William Shakespeare's play of the same title, based on a translation by Boris Pasternak. It was directed by Grigori Kozintsev and Iosif Shapiro, and stars Innokenty Smoktunovsky as Prince Hamlet - http://sovietmoviesonline.com/en/drama/44-gamlet.html


Tags: adaptation, animation, clip, fictional england, hamlet, movie, television, tv, video, Выдуманная англия, выдуманная англия, кино
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