Russian Fantasticka! Deaf Crocodile Announces Acquisition Of Three Rare Russian Classics

Editor, U.S. ; Dallas, Texas (@HatefulJosh)

Relative newcomers to the niche distribution scene, Deaf Crocodile, yesterday announced the acquisition - with distribution partners, Seagull Films - of three rare Russian fantasy classics, new 4K restorations of Aleksandr Ptushko's Ilya Muromets (The Sword & the Dragon) (1956) and Sampo (The Day the Earth Froze) (1959), and  a 2K restoration of Karen Shakhnazarov’s satire Zerograd (Zero City) (1988).

This initial trio is part of a new collection they are calling Russian Fantasticka, with more planned releases on the way. The first three will be available for theatrical, VOD, and home video viewing in 2022 through Grasshopper Films and on home video through OCN.

Check out the gallery below for more information about the films and a preview trailer for Ilya Muromets:

Legendary Russian fantasy filmmaker Aleksandr Ptushko’s sweeping, visual FX-filled epic ILYA MUROMETS (THE SWORD & THE DRAGON) is one of his most enchanting achievements: a stunning CinemaScope ballad of heroic medieval knights, ruthless Tugar invaders, wind demons, and three-headed fire-breathing dragons, all set against a mythic landscape of pastoral, unspoiled Russia. Based on one of the most famous byliny (oral epics) in Old Russian culture, the film stars Boris Andreyev as the bogatyr (warrior) Ilya, waging a decades-long battle against the Tugars who threaten his homeland, kidnap his wife, and raise his own son to fight against him. Director Ptushko began his career in the 1930s and went on to become a combination of Walt Disney, Ray Harryhausen, and Mario Bava for his dazzling, bejeweled fantasies including THE STONE FLOWER, SADKO, SAMPO, and RUSLAN & LUDMILA. The first CinemaScope film produced in the Soviet Union, ILYA MUROMETS was released in a truncated, dubbed version in the U.S. as THE SWORD & THE DRAGON, that heavily downplayed the epic poetry and lyricism of the original. This will be the first-ever official U.S. release of the original full-length version of ILYA MUROMETS.  (In Russian with English subtitles.)

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