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The Flying Carpet (1958)
"Starik Khottabych" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 347 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

A boy named Volka discovers an ancient vessel on the bottom of a river. When he opens it, a genie emerges from there. He calls himself Hassan Abdurrahman ibn Khottab, or in Russian style ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Nikolay Volkov ...
Aleksei Litvinov ...
Volka, the boy (as Alyosha Litvinov)
Gennadi Khudyakov ...
Zhenia, his friend (as Genya Khudyakov)
Lev Kovalchuk ...
Gogha, the bully (as Lyova Kovalchuk)
Vera Romanova ...
Gogha's Mother (as V. Romanova)
Maya Blinova ...
Kolka's mother (as M. Blinova)
Olga Cherkasova ...
Barbara Stepanovna, the teacher (as O. Cherkasova)
Yefim Kopelyan ...
Emir Mukhammedov
Aleksandr Larikov ...
Gogha's Doctor (as A. Larikov)
Yevgeni Vesnik
A. Galin
Boris Kokovkin
Anatoli Korolkevich
Vsevolod Kuznetsov ...
(as V. Kuznetsov)
M. Stepanov
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Storyline

A boy named Volka discovers an ancient vessel on the bottom of a river. When he opens it, a genie emerges from there. He calls himself Hassan Abdurrahman ibn Khottab, or in Russian style Khottabych. Grateful Khottabych is ready to fulfill any of Volka's wishes. But it appears that Volka should use the powers of the genie carefully, for they can have undesirable results. Written by Boris Shafir <shafir@hsi.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

genie | boy | based on novel

Genres:

Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 February 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Flying Carpet  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Color:

(Sovcolor)
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Connections

Version of Khottabych (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Li'l commies!
21 April 2004 | by (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

I've seen a few other Soviet era children's films before, but they were mostly of the fairy tale or folk tale genre and were set in distant times and/or places. "Old Hottabych" is set in contemporary (mid 1950s) Soviet Russia, which helped facilitate the strong dose of socialist propaganda in this film. A translation of the original book can be found online, and it seems that the propagandic nature of the story was there from the beginning. I suspect that the screenwriters were strongly encouraged to retain all the socialist talking points in the process of condensing the story for the screenplay, and this causes the propaganda elements to seem more dominant in the film then they might have seemed in the original book. This film is certainly a product of its time and place, and it may seem a bit weird or creepy to western audiences to see a 10 or 11 year old school kid berating a classmate for "hooligan" behavior in school, and threatening to take it up with the "Young Pioneer Council." I was never in the Boy Scouts when I was a kid, but I wonder if they ever cultivated that same kind of cultish fervor here in the west.

I do find it interesting to get a glimpse of what mid-50s Moscow and its citizens looked like, and the story is certainly colorful if you can look past the Soviet propaganda, which is admittedly difficult. The kids are appealing enough too when they're not acting like fanatical little commissars, but even that aspect is interesting to see. As a lifelong US citizen I look at this film as a remarkable artifact of a vanished culture, access to which was once strictly prohibited. Mr. Sidorov's comment below about Soviet fantasy being a unique and not often encountered thing is certainly true, and I'm glad of the opportunity to see it. The Russian Cinema Council (RUSCICO) just released a beautiful DVD of the film with optional subtitles or English language voiceover, which is probably the only way I could have managed to see it. For the adventurous film lover, this is an interesting detour.


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