Fight on! Deaf Crocodile Films has revealed a glorious re-release trailer for a vintage medieval epic called The Sword and the Dragon, originally known as Ilya Muromets (Илья Муромец) from the Soviet Union in the 1950s. This first premiered in 1956 and never got a proper high quality US release until now. They explain “Legendary fantasy filmmaker Aleksandr Ptushko’s sweeping, visual FX-filled epic 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.” This was filmed around Kyiv, Ukraine, despite being a Soviet production. The Sword and the Dragon was the first Cinemascope film produced in the Soviet Union, and was re-edited into a truncated, dubbed version for the U.S. at the height of the Cold War, downplaying the epic poetry and lyricism of the original. The film has been restored in 4K for its first-ever U.S. debut on Blu-ray in its original form. Starring Boris Andreyev, Shukur Burkhanov, Andrei Abrikosov, Natalya Medvedeva, Nelli Myshkova, Sergei Martinson. Looks badass! Need to watch.
Here’s the new re-release trailer (+ posters) for Ptushko’s The Sword and the Dragon, from YouTube:
The film stars Boris Andreyev as the bogatyr (warrior) Ilya, a mythic figure in the Kyivan Rus’ culture that pre-dated both modern Ukraine and Russia (much of the film’s action is set in Kyiv, and Ilya’s relics are held today in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery). Based on a series of famous byliny (oral epics), the film follows Ilya as he wages a decades-long battle against the Tugars who threaten his homeland, kidnap his wife, and even raise his own son to fight against him. Ilya Muromets – The Sword and the Dragon is directed by Russian / Ukrainian filmmaker Aleksandr Ptushko, from a screenplay by Mikhail Kochnev. Ptushko began his career in the 1930s and went on to become a mix of Walt Disney, Ray Harryhausen, and Mario Bava for his dazzling, bejeweled fantasies including The Stone Flower, Sadko, Sampo, and Ruslan & Ludmila. The film has been restored in 4K for its first-ever official U.S. release in its original form by Deaf Crocodile, in association with Seagull Films. Grasshopper Films will debut this soon for streaming; Vinegar Syndrome will release it on Blu-ray starting May 31st, 2022. For more info, visit the film’s official website.