Thursday, February 28, 2008

Svatohor from Long Ago and Far Away

From 1989 to 1993, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) featured a delightful program of animated fairy tales, legends, and folkloric stories from around the world: Long Ago & Far Away. It was hosted by James Earl Jones. Yes, that James Earl Jones, famous as the voice of Darth Vader and for playing the role of Conan the Barbarian's arch-nemesis, Thulsa Doom. My daughter, Holly, and I loved the series, and always watched it every Sunday morning.

My favorite episode was this stop-motion animated Russian tale of Svatohor (Saint Mountain), a brave hunter who faced impossible tasks and the evil dragon-like creature Gorym Gorynet. Here, courtesy of YouTube, is that original feature in three parts.

I wish this series would be released as a DVD set. It would be a hot seller. Enjoy.

And here's a Snickers candybar commercial that parodies my favorite Russian fantasy movie, Ilya Muromets (The Sword and the Dragon). Though Zmey Gorynych, the three-headed dragon, doesn't actually appear in it, Ilya is there in all his Slavic glory.

Viktor Kuprin

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