A Communist-era Russian TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings has been rediscovered in the archives and posted to YouTube.
The seemingly extremely low-budget production aired in 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed, and was apparently lost to the ages, but Russian channel 5TV – the successor channel to Leningrad TV, which produced the film – posted it online last week.
Named Khraniteli, which translates as “The Keepers”, the film is split into two parts on YouTube and tells the story of the first book in JRR Tolkien’s series, The Fellowship of the Ring.
I mean, at least I think it does. Everything is in Russian, as you’d expect, it’s extremely trippy, and it has disturbingly low production values in places.
This is, I think, Gandalf and Bilbo smoking pipe-weed and opining about the One Ring.
This is – again, I think – Tom Bombadil and the Hobbits, which actually puts Khraniteli ahead of Peter Jackson, as the Bombadil character was entirely cut from the Hollywood adaptation.
This could potentially be Arwen checking in on the Hobbits at Rivendell.
And I’m fairly certain this is Gollum. Maybe.