Monday, June 25, 2007


Hmmm? What's that? You can't read the whole title? Well, ВОЛШЕБНИК ИЗУМРУДНОГО ГОРОДА means The Wizard of the Emerald City. Yep, here's another blog about Alexander Volkov's Russian spin on Oz.

I mentioned that I now own the first screen adaptation of his first book (The Wizard...), which is a 1974 stop-motion animation version. The animation is not quite on the level of, oh, say, Rankin Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or (closer to topic) The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, but it is very good. This also seems to be a classic in Russia, but a total obscurity here.

I've never been able to read a translated version of the book, but the story does differ from the original Baum version. The story goes is that Volkov used The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to learn English, then later re-told it to his children, adding his own Russian spin on the story, as well as new adventures. He later wrote out his "translation" and had it published.

For one thing, many of the names are changed: Dorothy is now Elli, Toto is now Totoshka, the Scarecrow is Strasheela, the Tin Woodman is the Iron Woodcutter, the Wicked Witch of the East is named Gingemma (which was a Russian word for a mean woman, though I am unsure if it came from this story or if the character's name was came from the word), the Wicked Witch of the West is named Bastinda, and the Wizard becomes Goodwin.

The most notable new scene has Elli being captured by an ogre who wants to eat her. Her firends Strasheela, the Iron Woodcutter, and Totoshka must rescue her.

This animated version is a very interesting way to look at Oz, particularly for one familiar with Baum's books. However, this is not Oz: it's the Magic Land, or Goodvinia.

The DVD has two discs. Disc 1 has The Wizard on it, the entire story. But the second disc apparently animates the first sequel, Urfin Jus and his Wooden Soldiers. I haven't finished that one. It's an original sequel, but I have seen the Powder of Life and a live bear rug...

Want to know more about the Magic Land? Click here.


Anonymous said...

'Gingemma' is the proper name of Volov's Wicked Witch of the East (here in the west). The other Wicked Witch is named Bastinda. The second disc not only dapts URFIN DZHUS, but also the third book SEVEN UNDERGROUND KINGS as well.

Jared said...

Thanks for the information, whoever you are.