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Legendary fantasy filmmaker Aleksandr Ptushko’s sweeping, visual F/X-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. 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 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. at the height of the Cold War as THE SWORD & THE DRAGON, downplaying the epic poetry and lyricism of the original. 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. In Russian with English subtitles.
directed by: Aleksandr Ptushko starring: Boris Andreyev, Shukur Burkhanov 1956 / 91 min / 2.35:1 / Russian Mono
Region A Blu-ray
Audio commentary track by Steve Bissette
Remembering Russian Film Scholar Alan Upchurch by Dennis Bartok
Russian Fantastika Part One by Alan Upchurch
The Making of The Sword and the Dragon by Aleksandr Ptushko (translated by Alan Upchurch)