The Twelve Months (1956 film)

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For the 1980 Soviet/Japanese animated film, see Twelve Months (1980 film).
The Twelve Months
Original Russian poster
Directed by Ivan Ivanov-Vano
Mikhail Botov
Produced by Ivan Ivanov-Vano
Written by Samuil Marshak
Nikolay Erdman
Music by Moisey Vaynberg
Release dates
1956 (USSR)
Running time
56 minutes
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

The Twelve Months (Russian: Двенадцать месяцев; Dvenadtsat mesyatsev) is a 1956 Soviet traditionally animated feature film directed by the "patriarch of Russian animation", Ivan Ivanov-Vano. It was produced at the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow and is based on the fairy-tale play of the same name by Samuil Marshak.

The film's sound and image were restored in 2003 by Krupnyy Plan, who released it on video and DVD in Russia in 2004. An English-subtitled edition of the Russian-language version has not been released. However, Films by Jove released the film on DVD in 1999 as "volume 3" of its "Stories From My Childhood" series - this version features a choice of English, French or Spanish soundtracks.


The scene of action in the animated film isn't specified, but on a picture it is clear that action happens in the West (in the original of the story of Marshak — in Bohemia, then part of the Austrian empire) at a boundary of the XVIII—XIX centuries. The animated film plot quite precisely reflects story events, thus the particular emphasis is placed on ridicule of shortcomings of an absolutism.

Professor teaches the capricious girl queen who itself is semiliterate, but doesn't suffer others lectures. When the speech comes about botany, she wishes that tomorrow there came April, and snowdrops that she could look that at it for flowers blossomed. Professor assures her that it is impossible, however the queen issues the decree: the one who will bring a basket of these flowers to the palace, will receive the same basket of gold and a fur coat on a gray-haired fox. The stepmother and her daughter dream of this award and as soon as the stepdaughter with brushwood comes back, they send it back to the wood — to carry out royal will.

The frozen stepdaughter comes to a glade on which the fire burns, and round it twelve brothers months are heated. They listen carefully the girl, and April asks brothers to concede to it hour or so to help her. She comes back home happy with snowdrops and the magic ringlet presented April. If there is a trouble, it is necessary to throw a ringlet, to tell magic words — and the whole months will come to the rescue.

While the tired stepdaughter sleeps, her stepsister steals this ringlet. The stepmother with the daughter go with snowdrops to the royal palace, having left the stepdaughter at home. The pleased queen orders them to tell where they found flowers in the winter. Those invent a tale about a wonderful place on which in the winter grow not only flowers, but even mushrooms and berries.

The queen herself decides to go to this wonderful place together with the court. The stepmother with the daughter in eager rivalry repeat that already swept up it snow and admit that flowers were picked by the stepdaughter. The queen takes them and the stepdaughter in the wood. The stepdaughter complains that they took away a ringlet from her, on what the queen orders to return it. Having received a ring, she demands that the stepdaughter told where found snowdrops. Having been refused, she orders to take off from her a fur coat, threatens to execute and throws its ringlet into an ice-hole. The stepdaughter says magic words and runs away.

At once there comes the spring, and then — summer. Near the queen it becomes dry, warmly. Then there comes the fall. The queen, having through got wet under the strongest autumn heavy rain, freezes as suddenly there came the winter. The blizzard carries away all fur coats which dumped from themselves court. To them it becomes cold and, having abandoned the queen, they come back to the palace. With it there is only an old soldier and professor. In sledge it is impossible to go as horses of a unharnessed and on them the court skipped away.

The old man in a white fur coat comes out of the wood (month January) and suggests everyone to think at one desire. The queen wishes to come back home, professor — that seasons returned into place, the soldier — it is simple to get warm at a fire, and the stepmother with the daughter — fur coats, "though and on dog fur". January begins with the last request and gives them fur coats. They abuse each other, "are barked" that didn't ask sable, and turn into dogs. They are harnessed in sledge — to the queen is to what to go back to the palace.

The soldier comes to get warm at a fire of brothers months. There he meets the stepdaughter, in all new and with a team of beautiful snow-white horses. On dogs far you won't leave, and the soldier asks the queen that that asked the stepdaughter to bring. As soon as it didn't try — and to order, and wealth promised — the stepdaughter refused. The soldier explains to the haughty queen as it is necessary to ask "kindly". At last, the stepdaughter with pleasure puts all in sledge and gives everyone a fur coat. All go home, having left brothers months at a New Year's fire.


English Russian
Director-producer Ivan Ivanov-Vano Иван Иванов-Вано
Director Mikhail Botov Михаил Ботов
Scenario Samuil Marshak
Nikolay Erdman
Самуил Маршак
Николай Эрдман
Art Directors Anatoliy Kuritsyn
Konstantin Karpov
Aleksandr Belyakov
Анатолий Курицын
Константин Карпов
Александр Беляков
Artists K. Malyshev
O. Gemmerling
Anatoliy Sazonov
Y. Tannenberg
V. Valerianova
К. Малышев
О. Геммерлинг
Анатолий Сазонов
Е. Танненберг
В. Валерианова
Animators L. Popov
Yelena Hludova
Konstantin Chikin
Boris Butakov
Nikolai Fyodorov
Tatyana Fyodorova
Fyodor Khitruk
Boris Meyerovich
Faina Yepifanova
Vladimir Krumin
V. Ryabchikov
Vladimir Popov
Л. Попов
Елена Хлудова
Константин Чикин
Борис Бутаков
Николай Фёдоров
Татьяна Фёдорова
Фёдор Хитрук
Борис Меерович
Фаина Епифанова
Владимир Крумин
В. Рябчиков
Владимир Попов
Camera Operators Nikolai Voinov
Yelena Petrova
Николай Воинов
Елена Петрова
Executive Producer Natan Bitman Натан Битман
Composer Moisey Vaynberg Моисей Вайнберг
Sound Operator Nikolai Prilutskiy Николай Прилуцкий

Interesting facts[edit]

  • On a class wall where the queen studies, the little man from the animated film "Fedya Zaytsev" of sisters Brumberg is drawn.
  • "The grass turns green, the sun shines …" (a quatrain which Professor dictates to the queen during a lesson) — these are opening speeches of "A rural song" of Aleksey Pleshcheyev.
  • Externally Professor is very similar to Korney Chukovsky with whom Marshak was connected by the cordial friendly relations.
  • In the animated film there is a film mistake. Months sit around, and following sits to the left of the previous. At once May sits to the right of April. Also there is a mistake with clothes of the stepdaughter: her jacket received from the princess that is clasped that a undoed.

Music and songs[edit]

Music to this animated film and its songs was written and composed by Mieczysław Weinberg. Songs to this animated film I was issued on children's plates Moscow, Aprelevsk, Leningrad and other plants, from the middle of the 1960th Melodiya firm in collections of songs from animated films. Later, songs are published on magnetic tapes and the audio cassettes "Svema". In the 1990th years of a song were issued various firms (for example — "Tvik Lirek") on audio cassettes and compact disks, since 1999 — on the disks MP3.

The edition on video[edit]

In the 1980th years the animated film started being issued "Vdeoprogramma Goskino of the USSR" on videotapes. In the early nineties the animated film is released by the film association "Krupnyy Plan" on house videotapes. In the mid-nineties it was included into the VHS collection of the best Soviet animated films (this videotape contained animated films of the fairy tale of A. Pushkin " The Tale of Tsar Saltan" (1984), "The tale of the dead tsarevna and of seven bogatyrs (1951), "The tale of a bottom and of the worker to his Head" (1973) and "The tale of the Golden Cockerel" (1967)) Studio PRO Video. Since 1994 it is also released by Soyuz Video studio on VHS cartridges.

In 2004 there were also updated DVD versions of the animated film on broad sale, in 1999 the animated film was also released by the Dzhouv company with the Spanish, French and English subtitlings.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]