We lost our minds earlier this month when Russia’s 5TV uploaded a two-part Soviet television adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. This performance, once believed lost to time by scholars who knew of its existence, comes from 1991, at the tail-end of the Soviet Union. Now, both parts are up on YouTube for the world to watch. It’s time to pack a thermos of borscht and set forth on an adventure toward Mount Doom on a mission of perestroika!
Doc and Nina discuss the performance as both a scholar of Soviet/post-Soviet History and a defender of the performing arts (respectively). They’ll start off by giving the low production value a context, work their way through the mournful Russian folk music, puzzle about the frigid weather in the Shire, and, of course, discuss Tom Bombadil. Nina is on a quest for Soviet propaganda and Doc will also answer the question: is The Lord of the Rings an allegory for WWII? Warning: bad Russian accents and worse Soviet jokes lie within.
Part One of the performance: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vquKyNdgH3s)
Part Two of the performance: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLevCLNnLmg)
The Guardian article: (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/05/soviet-tv-version-lord-of-the-rings-rediscovered-after-30-years)
The Pyramid Collection (https://www.pyramidcollection.com/)
Beowulf: Prince of the Geats (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455348/)
Have a recommendation for us? Send Doc and Nina and email at podcast at profawesome dot com!