The Little Mermaid: 1968 Soviet Animation of the Tale by Hans Christian Andersen


This is a beautiful 1968 Soviet adaptation of ‘The Little Mermaid,’ by Hans Christian Andersen. It was produced by the great Soyuzmultfilm studio. There are no subtitles. Just enjoy it as a brilliantly animated musical approach to a great tale.

The film begins with a busload of tourists sightseeing in Copenhagen. Then it moves to sea and our story begins…


The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights: Russian Fairytale Animation


This is a 1951 Russian animation of an 1833 fairytale poem written by Alexander Pushkin that is based upon the classic Grimms tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was directed by Ivan Pyetrovich Ivanov-Vano, known as the ‘patriarch of Soviet animation.’

You can read Pushkin’s The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights.

The film is in Russian so you can use the YouTube settings to turn on English subtitles.

Beauty and the Beast: Russian Animation


This is a 1952 Soviet film adaptation of a variation on the Beauty and the Beast story called 'The Scarlet Flower', written by Sergey Aksakov in 1858. This story focuses much more on the bargain made between the unseen beast and the girl's father when he touches the scarlet flower on the magical island that is the beast's home than in the versions most American audiences are familiar with..

The animation technique in use here is called rotoscoping. Actors were filmed in costume doing their character movements, then traced frame-by-frame to create what was supposed to be a more realistic animation. In fact, rotoscoping often produces a curiously lifeless movement in conflict with the more fantastic backgrounds.


Jean Renoir’s 1928 Version of The Little Match Girl

This is a 1928 version of Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Match Girl,’ directed by French film great Jean Renoir and Jean Tédesco. The story is a simple one about the visions of a poor match girl as she freezes to death in the snow. It’s a loose adaptation that actually seems rather rigid and too involved with its sets and props to really give any feeling of the fantastic. It is also pro-forma in its pathos or portrayal of the match girl’s despair. Also, the leading actress, Catherine Hessling, is completely unappealing. Apparently, one of the toy soldiers was played by Lucia Joyce, the daughter of author James Joyce.