So yesterday, I was playing around on the Roku and found a selection of Russian & Soviet films. [It's on a channel we pay for that has a lot of adult content, so I feel weird linking to it here.] One of the items that caught my eye was a live-action Russian-Bulgarian version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." I decided to hit play, out of curiosity more than anything.
This was a lovely movie, not perfect by any means, but it had a definite haunting quality that stayed with me the rest of the day. It opened with Hans Christian Andersen and his party riding in a coach. From there, he tells the story of "The Little Mermaid." There were mermaids swimming in the ocean, a ship filled with singing sailors and a handsome prince. The version I watched was dubbed, but still had English subtitles, which was amusing at times, because they did not match up. The dubbing was actually done well, with voices appropriate to the characters and mostly matched to their lips.
The story was somewhat faithful to the original by Andersen, with quite a few changes here and there. The mood and atmosphere, however, was sad and strange, much like the original fairy tale. No Disney ending. There are some musical moments (which were not dubbed). I don't know. I guess the film wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it was an unexpected and enjoyable way to pass some time yesterday morning.
I found a playlist on YouTube. This one isn't dubbed, but does include subtitles. The DVD is also available through third-party sellers on Amazon. If you're interested in fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen, world cinema, or obscure "children's" movies, check it out.
Someday I need to watch a subtitled version of the gorgeous Soyuzmultfilm animated version from 1968. There is a low-quality subtitled version floating around in playlist form, but if you're familiar enough with the original tale, you should give it a try as posted below. It's of a higher quality than the playlist, even though it isn't subtitled. Gorgeous animation!
I know "The Little Mermaid" is a problematic story. The mermaid is so masochistic and so willing to change herself for the prince. But in the original story, this does not work. There is no happily ever after for the mermaid. Things do not work out the way she hoped. That's more realistic than Ariel marrying Eric, I think. Oh, Disney...