The Humpbacked Horse (film)

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The Humpbacked Horse
Konyok2.jpg
DVD cover (Krupnyy Plan)
Directed by Ivan Ivanov-Vano
Produced by Soyuzmultfilm
Written by Pyotr Pavlovich Yershov (poem)
A. Surkov
Starring Alexander Kachanov
Georgiy Millyar
Valentina Sperantova
Leonid Pirogov
Music by V. Oranskiy
Cinematography Nikolai Voinov
Release date(s)

January 10, 1947 (USSR)

October 24, 1975 (USA)
Running time 57 min
Country USSR
Language Russian
Soviet stamp from 1988 based on the film.

The Humpbacked Horse (Russian: Конёк-Горбуно́к; tr.:Konyok Gorbunok), dubbed in the United States as The Magic Pony, is a 1947 Soviet/Russian traditionally animated feature film directed by Ivan Ivanov-Vano and produced by the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow. The film is based on the poem by Pyotr Pavlovich Yershov, and because of this everyone in the film speaks in rhymes. A remake was made in 1975 by the same director and studio.

Plot[edit]

An old man has three sons: the elder two are considered fairly smart, while the youngest, Ivan, is considered an idiot. One day the father sends the three to find out who's been taking the hay in their fields at night. The elder brothers decide to lie hidden in a haystack, where they promptly fall asleep. Ivan, meanwhile, sits beside a birch tree and plays on his recorder. Suddenly, he sees a magnificent horse come flying out of the sky. Ivan grabs its mane and holds on as the horse tries to shake him off. Finally, the horse begs him to let her go and in return gives him two beautiful black horses and a little humpbacked horse (Konyok-gorbunok) to be his companion.

Ivan leads the two black horses to a stable and runs off with Konyok-gorbunok to fetch them buckets of water. When he comes back, he finds that his brothers have taken his horses. Konyok-gorbunok tells him that they will catch them in the city, so Ivan sits on its back and they go flying through the clouds. Along the way, Ivan finds the fiery feather of a firebird, which shines without giving off any heat, and takes it despite Konyok-gorbunok's warning that it will cause him difficulty later.

They reach the city, and Ivan outwits his brothers and sells his black horses to the Tsar. When it is found that nobody can control them except Ivan, he is put in charge of the Tsar's stables. The Tsar's advisor takes a disliking to Ivan, and hides himself in the stables to watch him at work so that he can think of a way to remove him from the Tsar's favour. After seeing Ivan use the firebird's feather for light, he steals it from him and shows it to the Tsar, who commands Ivan to catch him a firebird or lose his post.

With Konyok-gorbunok's help, Ivan catches one and brings it back to the Tsar. The Tsar's advisor tells the Tsar to make Ivan catch a beautiful legendary maiden of the sea, so the Tsar summons him and tells him that the consequences will be dire if he doesn't bring her within three weeks. Ivan again manages to do this.

The elderly tsar is overjoyed and begs the young maiden to marry him, but she refuses, telling him that she would only marry him if he were young and handsome, and that to become young and handsome he would need to bath first in boiling water, then in milk and then in freezing water. The tsar's advisor tells him to try this out on Ivan first, hoping at last to be rid of his nemesis. The tsar agrees, and when Ivan protests upon being told of this the tsar orders him to be thrown into prison until everything is ready the next morning. Konyok-gorbunok comes to Ivan and through the prison bars tells him not to worry - to simply whistle for him in the morning and let him put a magic spell on the water so that it will not be harmful to him. The advisor overhears this, and kidnaps Konyok-gorbunok just as he is walking away from Ivan.

In the morning, Ivan whistles for Konyok-gorbunok, who is tied in a bag. He manages to free himself eventually, and at the last moment comes to Ivan's rescue and puts a spell on the three cauldrons of water. Ivan jumps into the boiling water, then the milk and then the freezing water, and emerges as a handsome young man instead of a boy. The young maiden falls in love with him and they walk away. Meanwhile, the tsar gets excited and decides that he also wants to be young and handsome. However, the spell is no longer working, so after he jumps into the boiling water he doesn't come back out.

Creators[edit]

Latin Cyrillic
Directed by Ivan Ivanov-Vano Иван Иванов-Вано
Co-directors Victor Gromov
Aleksandra Snyezhko-Blotskaya
Виктор Громов
Александра Снежко-Блоцкая
Story by Pyotr Pavlovich Yershov Пётр Павлович Ершов
Script Editor A. Surkov А. Сурков
Screenplay by Nikolai Rozhkov
Yevgeniy Pomeshchikov
Николай Рожков
Евгений Помещиков
Production Designer Lev Milchin Лев Мильчин
Art Directors V. Rodzhero
G. Nevzorova
Aleksandr Belyakov
I. Troyanova
O. Gemmerling
В. Роджеро
Г. Невзорова
Александр Беляков
И. Троянова
О. Геммерлинг

Animators Grigoriy Kozlov
Nadezhda Privalova
Nikolai Fyodorov
Tatyana Fyodorova
K. Malyshev
Joseph Staryuk
Boris Dezhkin
B. Petin
Mikhail Botov
Boris Titov
Lidia Reztsova
Valentin Lalayants
Dmitriy Byelov
Faina Yenifanova
Roman Davydov
A. Manafov
Pyotr Repkin
Григорий Козлов
Надежда Привалова
Николай Фёдоров
Татьяна Фёдорова
К. Малышев
Иосиф Старюк
Борис Дежкин
Б. Петин
Михаил Ботов
Борис Титов
Лидия Резцова
Валентин Лалаянц
Дмитрий Белов
Фаина Епифанова
Роман Давыдов
А. Манафов
Пётр Репкин
Camera Operator Nikolai Boinov Николай Воинов
Composer Victor Oranskiy Виктор Оранский
Executive Producer Boris Wolf Борис Вольф
Sound Operator N. Bazhenov Н. Баженов
Voice Actors Alexander Kachanov
Georgy Millyar (the Tsar)
Georgy Vitsin (the chamberlain)
Valentina Sperantova (Ivan)
Leonid Pirogov (Danilo)
Nonna Yastrebova
Georgy Chernovolenko (the reader)
Galina Novozhilova (the Tsar-Maid)
Anatoly Kubatsky (Gavrilo)
Александр Качанов
Георгий Милляр (царь)
Георгий Вицин (спальник)
Валентина Сперантова (Иван)
Леонид Пирогов (Данило)
Нонна Ястребова
Георгий Черноволенко (чтец)
Галина Новожилова (Царь-девица)
Анатолий Кубацкий (Гаврило)
Editor N. Aravina Н. Аравина

1975 version[edit]

In 1975 Ivan Ivanov-Vano made another version of the same film. The 1975 film is 70 minutes long; 15 minutes longer than the original. Although the progression of scenes and their plot content is usually the same as in the original, the animation and specific actions of the characters are different; for example, a scene may be taken from a different angle or in a different location (all of the backgrounds were also newly-drawn). Sometimes a scene was drawn out, other times contracted (for example, the scene where Ivan first sees the white horse is much-simplified compared to 1947).

This was done because the original film was then in a very bad shape and the technical expertise for a restoration did not exist. In 2004, with the technical expertise now existing in Russia, the original film was restored and released on DVD by Krupnyy Plan (Крупный План).

The 1975 version was redubbed, recut and released in the United States as The Magic Pony in 1977, with Jim Backus as the voice of the Tsar and Johnny Whitaker as Ivan.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]