Hey, Angelo didn't feel like blogging this week (despite the big news that Warner Brothers has confirmed that the MGM classic The Wizard of Oz will be one of the first classic Hollywood movies to be converted to 3D), so how about some fun?
Sam and I have been planning to cover the 1974 stop-motion series based on Волшебник Изумрудного Города, or The Wizard of the Emerald City, Alexander Volkov's re-writing of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for Russian children. It wasn't just a translation, Volkov put several spins on the story, such as having Dorothy become Elli, Totoshka talking, and Gingemma (the Wicked Witch of the East) be indirectly responsible for Elli arriving in the Magic Land, causing her own demise. I plan to cover Volkov's series later and won't spoil any other changes just now.
Volkov wrote five sequels to the series, the first two (Urfin Dzhus and His Wooden Soldiers and Seven Underground Kings) telling more of Elli's amazing adventures, and the other three (The Fire God of the Maronnes, The Yellow Fog, and The Secret of the Deserted Castle) following her little sister, Anna. These stories were not based on the Oz books, though there are some wink and nods to the original series.
This animated series adapts the first three books, which I suppose we could nickname "The Elli Trilogy." Even if you don't understand Russian (I don't), you should be able to follow the first five episodes generally well enough with basic familiarity of the original story. The second story—spanning episodes 6-8—is vividly animated enough for you to get some idea of what's going on, but the third, condensed into the final two episodes, might prove trickier to get a handle on.
In any case, there's some lovely animation here and some excellent music.
The series has been uploaded online many times, but I have found what seems to be an official upload and created a playlist. You can watch below or pop open into the full YouTube website. Enjoy!
For those who want to select episodes to watch, go to the playlist directly with this link.