A TV adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings made for Soviet television in 1991 has been posted to YouTube years after it was believed to have been lost.
Khraniteli, a Russian-language, made-for-TV film based on The Fellowship Of The Ring, the first book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s popular high fantasy trilogy, is thought to be the only Rings adaptation made in the Soviet Union.
As The Guardian reports, few people knew about its existence until Leningrad Television’s successor, 5TV, uploaded the film to YouTube last week where it has gained almost 400,000 views across several days. The film is noticeably low budget, with rudimentary costumes, set design and green-screen effects.
Unlike Peter Jackson’s blockbuster Fellowship… 2001 film adaptation, Khraniteli includes an appearance by the character Tom Bombadil, who was omitted from Jackson’s version owing to his unwieldy story.
One user wrote in the comments section of the unearthed Russian-language film: “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.”
Another commenter posted: “There should be a statue to the person who found and digitised this.”
The publication added that Andrei Romanov, of the rock band Akvarium, scored the production, which was reportedly aired only once on TV before nestling into Leningrad Television’s archives.
In related news, Amazon Studios‘ TV prequel series adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings, which is to be set in the Second Age, is set to incorporate plots from Tolkien’s posthumous works including The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and The History Of Middle-earth. Get the latest updates here.