Old Khottabych

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Starik Khottabych
Old Khottabych.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Gennadi Kazansky
L. Mahtin
Produced by T. Samoznayeva [Production Director]
Written by Lazar Lagin
Screenplay by Lazar Lagin
Based on Old Khottabych by Lazar Lagin
Starring Nikolai Volkov
Alexey Litvinov
Gennady Khudyakov
Music by Nadezhda Simonyan
Cinematography M. Shurukov
Distributed by Goskino
Release date
Running time
86 min.
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

Starik Khottabych (Russian: Старик Хоттабыч, Old Man Khottabych or Old Khottabych) is a Sovcolor Soviet fantasy film produced in the USSR by Goskino at Kinostudyia Lenfilm (Lenfilm Studio) in 1956, based on a children's book of the same name by Lazar Lagin who also wrote the film's script, and directed by Gennadi Kazansky. In the United States, the film was released theatrically by Sovexportfilm, with English subtitles, under the title The Flying Carpet through Artkino Pictures Inc. in 1960.

Plot summary[edit]

Volka,[1] a 12-year-old Soviet Young Pioneer, discovers an ancient vessel at the bottom of a river. When he opens it, a genie emerges. He calls himself Hassan Abdul-rahman ibn Khattab, but Volka renames him Khottabych. The name Khottabych is derived from the Arabic Khattab with the Russian patronymic suffix -ych, yielding a Russian equivalent of ibn-Khattab (son of Khattab). Khottabych later claims to be 3,732 years and 5 months old. The grateful Khottabych is ready to fulfill any of Volka's wishes, but it becomes clear that Volka should use the powers of the genie carefully, for they can have some unforeseen undesirable results.


Production personnel[edit]

Special effects team:

Production notes[edit]

The novel is influenced by the tale of Aladdin and his magical lamp, and it was quite popular with Soviet kids. There were two major versions of the novel - the original was published in 1938, and a revised version followed in 1955. This later version was the basis of the 1956 film. Revisions to the novel were made by Lagin himself in order to incorporate the changes taking place in the USSR and the rest of the world into the narrative, including some ideological anti-capitalistic elements. The original edition has been republished in the Post-Soviet era.

In 2006, a modern film remake was made. It was called Khottabych. This remake has little in common with the first film, except for the central plot point of finding a genie in a clay vessel, and the central theme of how times have changed, as is emphasized by this very lack of commonality, as well as various anachronism-based humor, like wished-for hundred dollar bills appearing printed on ancient papyrus, a makeover that puts the venerable djinn inside a flashy tracksuit, or the so-old-it's-hip-again luxury Soviet vehicle driven by the protagonists.



The film was released on DVD in Russia in 2004. The disc contains four spoken languages in Dolby Digital 5.1: Russian original, English voice-over, French and Arabic dubbed languages; subtitles in Russian, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Swedish, German, Portuguese, Hebrew, Arabic and Chinese. It also contains special features "Monologue in the Intermission", "Another Genie", filmography and a photo album.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Volka (Willie) is a diminutive form of the name Volya which also was a diminutive name of Vladimir: "Yesterday, a pioneer named Vladimir Kostylkov came to his district militia station and handed the officer on duty a treasure consisting of antique gold objects which he found on the bottom of the river, in a very deep place." [1]