Poster for Sadko
|Directed by||Aleksandr Ptushko|
|Written by||Konstantin Isayev
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (libretto from the opera Sadko)
|Music by||Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (music from the opera Sadko)
Vissarion Shebalin (arrangements and additional music)
|Distributed by||Filmgroup (US version)|
|Release date(s)||1953 (original)
1962 (US version)
Sadko (Russian: Садко) is a 1952 Russian fantasy film directed by Aleksandr Ptushko. The film is based on an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, which was based on a Russian bylina (epic tale) with the same name, and scored with Rimsky-Korsakov's music from the opera.
This tale is based upon the legends born in ancient times in the old Russian city of Novgorod (the capital of Novgorod republic). Novgorod's merchants are feasting in a gorgeous palace. A young gusli player named Sadko is bragging that he can bring to their land a sweet-voiced bird of happiness. But the merchants are ridiculing him. Nevertheless, Sadko sets off on a travel to bring the bird of happiness to Novgorod. He is offered help by the daughter of the Ocean King - she is mesmerized by Sadko's singing and is in love with him. The hero is destined to visit many lands in his search of the bird. He will come to India, Egypt and other countries. But only on his return to his native Novgorod, would Sadko realize that there is no better land than the one you were born in. And so there is no need to go far in search of one's happiness.
The Magic Voyage of Sinbad
The film was released in the United States in 1962 in an English-dubbed and modified form by Roger Corman's Filmgroup under the title The Magic Voyage of Sinbad (the original version of the film does have a slight connection to Sindbad the Sailor since Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherazade incorporates elements of Sindbad stories). The Magic Voyage of Sinbad retains the basic plot structure of Sadko but includes several significant changes: the total running time is reduced from approximately 85 to 79 minutes (most of the deleted footage consists of scenes in which songs are performed), voice-over narration is added, the protagonist "Sadko" is renamed "Sinbad," and characters and places are renamed to disguise the film's Russian origin and transform the film into a story about Sindbad the Sailor (perhaps most significantly, the city of Novgorod is renamed "Copasand"). Also, the English dubbing in this version arguably gives the film a slightly "campier" tone than the original version, in which the dialogue has a more polished and "literate" tone. Notably, the "Script Adaptor" for this version of the film was a young Francis Ford Coppola.
This version of the film was featured in Season 5, Episode #505 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1992. Despite mocking this modified version of the film in this episode, Kevin Murphy, voice of Tom Servo, has professed a love for the "breathtaking" visual style of this and other films by Aleksandr Ptushko in multiple interviews. Paul Chaplin, another writer of the show, has also expressed admiration.
The original Russian version of Sadko is available on DVD from RusCiCo.
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of the film was released on DVD as part of the 20th four-film box set of series episodes, through Shout! Factory on March 8, 2011. In some sets the DVD is mis-labeled as the film Project Moonbase.
- Sadko, the Russian bylina (epic tale) upon which the film and opera are based
- Sadko (musical tableau), a symphonic poem by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
- Sadko (opera), an opera by Rimsky-Korsakov.