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The Magic Weaver (1960)
"Mariya-iskusnitsa" (original title)

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An old soldier helps a young boy find his mother, who's been kidnapped to the magical underwater kingdom in a remote Russian lake.



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Complete credited cast:
Mikhail Kuznetsov ...
The Old Soldier
Viktor Perevalov ...
Ivanushka, Mariya's son (as Vitya Perevalov)
Anatoli Kubatsky ...
Water Wizard (Oswald XVII, US version)
Georgiy Millyar ...
Prime Minister Croak
Olga Khadhapuridze ...
Alyonushka, the Water Wizard's Daughter (as Olya Khadhapuridze)
Ninel Myshkova ...
Mariya, the Weaver (as Nelli Myshkova)
Vera Altayskaya ...
Sergei Troitsky ...
Altyn Altynych (as S. Troitsky)
Aleksandr Khvylya ...
N. Kondratyev
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Andrei Alyoshin
Andrei Baranov
Valentin Bryleev
N. Kuznetsov
K. Nermolyayev


An old soldier helps a young boy find his mother, who's been kidnapped to the magical underwater kingdom in a remote Russian lake.

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A Fantastic and Magical Story of a Fairyland Kingdom Under the Sea


Family | Fantasy





Release Date:

22 September 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Magic Weaver  »

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User Reviews

Marvelous Russian Fairy Tale
30 May 2000 | by (New England) – See all my reviews

A strange and stunning fantasy from Russia's ace director Alexander Row, crafter of other exceptional fairy tales such as JACK FROST and KINGDOM OF THE CROOKED MIRRORS. This one's almost more of a circus than a film, what with all sorts of odd acrobatic, costumed creatures on the premises. Silly physical movement is a keystone in this film. People dance, wobble, somersault and prance about in a most disarming way. Director Row's a bonafide madman/genius, sort of Disney-meets- Eisenstein. There's a lot of neat (though primitive) process photography, reminding one of the early trick films of Melies. (At one point, the main characters lose their faces, due to a quaint use of distorted mirrors. Row loves mirror tricks in all his films). The underwater kingdom we eventually visit is somewhat unnerving, abounding with fanciful creatures like grotesque laughing fish, a gruesome stuttering human frog, a miniature harem, a lot of ghosts, a lyre with moving eyes and imprisoned creatures like lobsters and walrus-men. The stilted, bad dubbing, suggests the original-language version was rich in Russian dialect. (The "Dance of the Seven Pirates" is so bizarre, they just let 'em warble it in their native tongue, which must have freaked out the circa '65 suburban kids.) Many of the animal characters talk in goofy, indecipherable voices. The talking bears are hilarious. The underwater scenes have rippling water superimposed, an effect at first effective, then distracting. There are some incredible sets, some wild lap dissolves, and a lot of reverse photography. A visual feast for all. The United Video version, which is still around, starts off with a wonderful theatrical trailer for this uncanny fantasy gem.

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