The Wild Swans (film)

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The Wild Swans
The Crow explains to Elisa that there is a way to reverse her brother's "swan" curse.
Directed by Vera Tsekhanovskaya
Mikhail Tsekhanovsky
Written by Yevgeniy Ryss
Leonid Trauberg
Mikhail Volpin (lyrics)
Based on The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen
Starring Sergei Martinson
K. Ustyugov
Anatoliy Shchukin
Askold Besedin
V. Tumanova
Erast Garin
Viktor Sergachev
Yelena Ponsova
R. Chumak
Music by Aleksandr Varlamov
Edited by V. Tutubiner
Release date
  • 1962 (1962) (USSR)
Running time
60 minutes
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

The Wild Swans (Russian: Дикие лебеди, Dikiye lebedi) is a 1962 Soviet traditionally animated feature film directed by the husband-and-wife team of Mikhail Tsekhanovsky and Vera Tsekhanovskaya. The film is based on the story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. Unusual for Soviet films of this period, and especially for animated films, it was filmed in widescreen. It was produced at the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow.


The princess Elisa and her eleven brothers live in peace and happiness until their father marries again and brings home a new queen. She turns out to be an evil witch. With her magic, she tries to curse Elisa, but Elisa's good heart repel the curse. Instead, the queen resorts to blackening Elisa's face and dirtying her hair, making her unrecognisable. She also attempts to turn the eleven princes into black, ugly birds, but because of their good hearts, the curse is only partly successful: they turn into beautiful white swans.

The queen chases them out of the castle, and the next morning, Elisa is chased out as well because her father didn't recognise her. Left with nothing, she sets out to find her brothers. After many years, she finally finds them, and after learning from a crow that the curse can be broken, she has to knit eleven sweaters out of tall, burning nettles, and has to remain silent.

While she works on the sweaters, she meets a prince who falls in love with her and lets her live in his castle. Here, an archbishop conspires with the prince's fiancé, his (the archbishop's) niece, to get rid of her by making people think she is a witch. She is almost burnt on the stake, but at the last second, her brothers come to the rescue. She throws the sweaters over them, the curse is broken, and she is able to tell her story and return the prince's love.

Home video releases[edit]


English Russian
Screenplay by Evgeny Ryss
Leonid Trauberg
Евгений Рысс
Леонид Трауберг
Lyrics by Mikhail Volpin Михаил Вольпин
Directed by Mikhail and Vera Tsekhanovskys Михаил и Вера Цехановские
Production Designers Nathan Lerner
Max Zherebchevsky
Натан Лернер
Макс Жеребчевский
Art Directors Boris Korneev
Dmitry Anpilov
Борис Корнеев
Дмитрий Анпилов
Music by Alexander Varlamov Александр Варламов
Director of Photography Elena Petrova Елена Петрова
First Assistant Cameraman Svetlana Kashcheeva Светлана Кащеева
Sound Engineer Boris Filchikov Борис Фильчиков
Character Animation Elena Hludova
Victor Shevkov
Valentin Kushneryov
Renata Mirenkova
Lidiya Reztsova
N. Chernova
Faina Yepifanova
Konstantin Chikin
Tatyana Taranovich
Vladimir Zarubin
Boris Butakov
Ivan Davydov
Vyacheslav Kotyonochkin
Tatyana Pomerantseva
O. Sysoyeva
L. Rybchevskaya
N. Avstriyskaya
E. Vershinina
K. Malyshev
V. Maksimovich
V. Rogov
Erast Meladze
Елена Хлудова
Виктор Шевков
Валентин Кушнерёв
Рената Миренкова
Лидия Резцова
Н. Чернова
Фаина Епифанова
Константин Чикин
Татьяна Таранович
Владимир Зарубин
Борис Бутаков
Иван Давыдов
Вячеслав Котёночкин
Татьяна Померанцева
О. Сысоева
Л. Рыбчевская
Н. Австрийская
Е. Вершинина
К. Малышев
В. Максимович
В. Рогов
Эраст Меладзе
Assistant Directors Lidiya Nikitina
Elena Turanova
Лидия Никитина
Елена Туранова
Assistant Editor V. Turubiner В. Турубинер
Script Editor Z. Pavlova З. Павлова
With the Voice Talents of: Valentina Tumanova as Elisa
Elena Ponsova as the Queen, the Old Woman, and the Crow
Victor Sergachyov as the young king
Erast Garin as the Archbishop
Sergey Martinson as the Royal Majordomo
Anatoly Shchukin as the King
Robert Chumak
Konstantin Ustyugov
Askold Besedin — as narrator and singing voice of the young king
Валентина Туманова (Элиза)
Елена Понсова (королева, старушка и ворона)
Виктор Сергачёв (молодой король — речь)
Эраст Гарин (епископ)
Сергей Мартинсон (приказчик короля)
Анатолий Щукин (король)
Роберт Чумак
Константин Устюгов
Аскольд Беседин (от автора/молодой король — вокал)
Executive Producer G. Kruglikov Г. Кругликов

Art features[edit]

The film expert Pyotr Bagrov in the analysis of the Soviet "andersen's" filmography puts the animated film "Wild Swans" on a special place, separating its literary basis from other fairy tales of Andersen: "It, in general, and not the fairy tale. It is an ancient Danish legend". Respectively, other, in comparison with other animated screen versions, appeared also a graphic manner in which the tape is created: "The extended, "Gothic" people and rocks — and at the same time the plane, medieval and primitive image". Bagrov also notes typical for game cinema, but rare in animation parallel installation.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]