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 Meeting: 1984 Science Fiction Animation from Ukraine


This is an extraordinary 1984 science fiction animation from the Soviet era Ukrainian film studio known as Kievnauchfilm. Aliens visit the earth to investigate whether humans have any knowledge of the reality behind UFOs.

Here’s a link to another animation from this studio. Stephen King’s ‘Battleground’ short story.


Stephen King’s ‘Battleground’ Short Story Animated in Soviet Era Ukraine


This is a 1986 adaptation of a Stephen King short story called ‘Battleground.’ It was produced by the Soviet Ukrainian Kievnauchfilm studio, which was primarily a documentary outfit during the Soviet era. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the studio became the National Cinematheque of Ukraine.

The story concerns a seemingly innocuous package that turns out to contain an invading force of toy soldiers. One man wages a battle for survival against what he assumes is an inferior opponent.



Cosmic Voyage: 1936 Soviet Science Fiction Film About a Moon Landing


This is an absolutely fascinating and rather beautiful 1936 Soviet science fiction film that foretold how a future 1946 moon mission would work. It’s got incredible zero gravity effects, miniature models of a fantastic space ship on a launch ramp, and very cool technical details like filling the cockpit with fluid to buffer the cosmonauts from launch forces. Then there’s a marvelous sequence on the surface of the moon with excellent stop motion animation inter-cut with live actors. Apparently, the Soviet censors banned the film after a short but successful first run because they felt the cosmonauts were having too much fun on the moon. They were right. These characters go hopping and bounding about with so much joy it’s almost an embarrassment. Citizens of the Soviet Union were not supposed to be happy.

Don’t worry about understanding Russian. The film was shot as a silent and is more or less a completely visual experience.

It was directed by Vasili Zhuravlov, but what’s really most interesting about the production history is that Constantin Tsiolkovski, a Soviet scientist and professor, became enthusiastic about putting some of his theories on space travel into a film. He consulted with the filmmakers in an attempt to lend verisimilitude to the moon voyage. Many years later, Werner von Braun credited Tsiolkovski’s calculations as having been correct.

So here is a old Soviet film that went to great lengths to get many of its details right.

Here is an interesting article about the film.


The Moon: 1965 Soviet Film by Pavel Klushantsev


In 1965 Pavel Klushantsev made this Soviet film about how a voyage to the moon might happen. I’ve seen and posted other footage from this great science fiction director, but this is interesting because its color has been restored to saturated magnificence. Don’t worry that you can’t understand the Russian language. Just watch and enjoy the 60s communist enthusiasm! You will be treated to astronauts cavorting on the lunar surface while wearing space suits that look to me like nearly perfect adaptations from popular speculative illustrations of the time. The technical detail of this film is really quite amazing. NASA might want to refer to it while trying to re-acquire its lost Apollo knowledge.

It is apparent that Kubrick had his eye on this director’s work as he prepared to make 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you know that film, you will catch the shots I’m talking about.