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enchanting, even in the botched US presentations
Raymond Tucker19 January 2004
I was entranced by this film when I saw it a kiddie matinee in the 60s, and upon repeat viewings it is truly wonderful. I just don't understand why this film has not been given a proper treatment in the west. I've seen three english versions; the original US release with Art Linkletter was what I saw in the theater. A few years ago I chanced upon a strange version with the original elf narration restored, but with portions of the score dropped out to make way for horrible contemporary pop songs. Thirdly there was a version shown on PBS sans Linkletter, but with an entirely new soundtrack, which fared better than the pop version I mentioned (though not much better) Still the imagery is fabulous regardless of which botched presentation it is, and I would go out of my way to see an unadulterated version even without the benefit of translation.
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A Treasured Childhood Memory
gorillas-15 May 2002
This movie has been a delight to me all of my life. I saw it originally in the theater, and my father bought the soundtrack album for me, which I still have. The animation is unique and beautiful down to articulate movements of hands and feet. You get the feeling that you are making the journey with Gerda, the heroine in the story. Also, one of the most delightful things about this story, is that the girl is the hero, for a change. I highly recommend it, if you can find it. The English dubbed version is the one I have seen, but it isn't obvious that it has been dubbed. This is truly an animated work of art.
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Wisdom of Youth
Gbbooks24 February 2004
When I first saw this "Snow Queen" at the theatre, I was 10 years old, and even then, I suspected Art Linkletter had no business being on the screen. Boy, was I right. "The Snow Queen" is now on a DVD along with two other Russian animated films, "The Wild Swans" & "Alice and the Mystery of the Third Planet". English, French & Spanish are the DVD language options. The absence of a Russian track is a bit puzzling. Catherine Deneuve voices the Snow Queen in French, Kathleen Turner in English. Kristen Dunst, Mickey Rooney & Laura San Giacomo also perform on the English track. "The Snow Queen" is wonderful. Even my 12 year old son, who much prefers Japanese anime, thought it was pretty good, though he did remind me, he was too adult for such hokey stuff. Nine out of Ten.
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Great Adaptation!
David Hutchinson28 November 2004
I have fond memories of this film as a child... Watching it today, it actually still holds up well. The Russians have adapted one of Hans Christian Anderson's lesser-known tales quite well, and utilizes a talented cast for the English-language version: Sandra Dee, Tommy Kirk, Patty McCormick and even June Foray("Rocky" of ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE fame).

Like most of Anderson's stories, THE SNOW QUEEN has many dark moments, and might actually be a little frightening for the little ones, but also treats the viewer to a little bit of morality- that of the love and devotion of two childhood friends. While the actual film is great, the American-added prologue with TV Host Art Linkletter and a bunch of kids really dates the material... fast-forward and enjoy this wonderful treat for young and old.
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"Fly splinters of ice! Fly!"
Musidora1 November 2000
This is such a beautiful film. Seeing this as a child really spoiled me! As an adult, I searched high-and-low for it for years, then, one day, found it in a bargain-basement-bin for $1.50 at a no-name video store--isn't that irony? I just wish it would be restored and re-released--without the Art Linkletter prologue!
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A Must for Everyone Who Loves Classic Feature Animation
wonderproductions8 February 2003
This is one of the best-loved animated features in Russia, richly animated by the renowned Soyuzmultfilm studio. The dubbed U.S. version was released by Universal in 1959 and was widely shown on local TV stations, especially at Christmas time. A hokey prologue was added for the U.S. release starring TV host Art Linkletter and some extremely polished and starched youngsters, including Billy Booth, who played Dennis the Menace's pal Tommy Anderson on the TV series. The kids literally quote lines from Linkletter's best selling book "Kids Say the Darnest Things." Some videos of the movie do not include this prologue at all. The confusion arises when the director of the prolugue is credited with directing the movie! Several low-budget VHS tapes of this gem have been released, and to this day I have not found one with either a satisfactory film print or sound track. It's a shame, because once you see this film, you never forget it.
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The tale from my childhood:
Galina7 February 2007
"Snezhnaya koroleva' (1957) aka "The Snow Queen" directed by Lev Atamanov is a beautiful animated movie of my childhood that I'd seen dozens times back in Moscow even before we had a color TV. It is creative, colorful, sometimes dramatic and intense, and always poetic and moving Russian adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of voyages "The Snow Queen". Seeing it last night after such a long time together with my husband, we both agreed that this is one of the timeless classics. This story of the devoted heart of a little brave girl and the friendship and love which are above everything and are worth to fight for and to go to the end of the world, will never get old. Two best voices of Soviet stage and cinema participated in the narrating of "The Snow Queen", Maria Babanova - The Snow Queen and Yanina Zhejmo – Gerda. Zhejmo was absolutely charming as Cinderella in the Russian adaptation "Zolushka" (1947) which is also one of my all time favorites.

The film was released on DVD by the company "Films by Jove" with the original Russian soundtrack and English subtitles and is available from the company's site. Four more excellent films by Lev Atamanov are included on the DVD: "Golden Antelope", the Indian fairy tale and three short animations, "Bench", "Cyclist", and "Fence" adapted from the cartoons of Herluf Bidstrup, celebrated Danish artist, famous for his comics, humorous drawings, series of graphical anecdotes, and caricatures.
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What have the Americans to do with it?
hmsgroop20 March 2001
The film (as anyone can see) was made in the Soviet Union in 1957. Generation after generation of young Russians have grown on it. I decided to vote for it ... and imagine my surprise when I see it on imdb crediting some Phil Patton or whatshisname there. I am very glad that not only the Russians but people of other nations can now see it and buy it via But I firmly believe that the genuine creators of the cartoon should be credited and not those who bought it or in some other mysterious way got hold of it. One of the users of the site writes: "It's one of the most un-Disneylike cartoons." Why should it be Disneylike? Personally, I think that some of Disney cartoons are very good, indeed, though it seems to me that many of them are "syrup on sugar", too sweet, too pink, too bubble gum. This cartoon is rather inspiring. It's one of my favourite, and now my little daughter watches it again and again.
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Soyuzmultfilm's wonderful adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy story
Like I said animation is an art form, and in a few countries in the world there are some excellent animation; especially in Japan and The Soviet. My first glimpse of animation from Russia are shorts that were dubbed in English in a TV show from Film Roman called "Animated Classic Showcase."

I now confess that Russia's Soyuzmultfilm Studios make excellent animated shorts and films like this wonderful adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy story "The Snow Queen," which is another favorite of mine. In 1960, the film had been dubbed in English along with a live-action prologue to go with it and a top-notch voice cast like : · Sandra Dee...Gerda, · Tommy Kirk...Kay, · Louise Arthur...The Snow Queen, · June Foray...Henrietta the Court Raven/the Finnish woman, · Paul Frees...Ol' Dreamy/Mr. Corax the Raven, and... · Patricia McCormack...Angel the robber girl.
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"What can be more powerful than a devoted heart?"
Rectangular_businessman23 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I consider "The Snow Queen" from Hans Christian Andersen to be one of the most beautiful fairy tales ever written: The story is incredibly inspiring and is also wonderfully told, having a level of subtlety and lyricism that made it much more complex that it could seem at first sight.

Sadly, most of the cinematic adaptations made of that story usually fail to capture the charm and inspiring qualities from its source material, keeping only the most basic aspects of the plot or changing it completely (I think that the most notorious example of this would be "Frozen", the most recent Disney production which despite being supposedly "inspired" by The Snow Queen, it actually doesn't have anything in common with that fairy tale.

Fortunately, this is not the case of this film, which shows the best qualities of the Golden Age of Russian Animation: An exquisite and flawless artwork, a charming characterization that makes this movie to be incredibly enjoyable to watch from beginning to end...But above all, it best quality is to keeps the "heart" of the original fairy tale in a way never done by any other adaptation of the same story, being for that reason my favorite audiovisual version of this timeless tale of love and friendship.

This is the kind of stuff that computers would be never able to do, disregard of all technological development from the recent years. Is easy to see why the great Hayao Miyazaki considered this an inspiration to continue working on the animated industry. Considering that it was thanks to this movie that we were lucky to have many of the masterpieces done by him makes it even better.

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Interesting that's for sure
Christmas-Reviewer5 September 2017

When the Snow Queen, a lonely and powerful fairy, kidnaps the human boy Kay, his best friend Gerda must overcome many obstacles on her journey to rescue him.

In this version that I saw it had live action footage with television icon Art Linkletter. This is the Soviet version of the Hans Christian Andersen tale. voices: Sandra Dee, Tommy Kirk lend their voices for the English version.

Since this is in public domain there is many versions of this version on DVD. Picture and sound varies!
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Enchanting animated adaptation of a classic story
TheLittleSongbird27 February 2011
For as long as I can remember, I have loved Hans Christian Andersen's stories. While some have a touch of darkness to them, they are also poignant and charming with great characters and settings. The Snow Queen is no exception, and as a story pretty much epitomises all those qualities. This Russian animated version is fairly faithful to the spirit of the timeless story, and is wonderful on its own terms.

The animation is simple, yet very effective. The backgrounds and colours are pleasing, and the characters are all drawn well. Animation-wise, what really impressed me was the animation on the Snow Queen herself, her appearance alone makes her icy and chilling. The music is just stunning, sometimes it's beautiful, sometimes it's haunting and sometimes it is melancholic.

For me, the story is one Andersen's best, and with many effective scenes and most of the crucial scenes of the story there and maintaining their impact this animated film does it justice. The script is wonderfully poetic, and the characters are engaging with Gerda determined and headstrong and the Snow Queen the best-realised being as chilling as she is in the story.

The voice work is also good. The English/American voice cast are good, with June Foray and Paul Frees being the most effective and Gerda was surprisingly emotive, but in my eyes the original is more authentic with the voice actress of the Snow Queen especially wonderful. Overall, enchanting animated adaptation, and one of the better adaptations out there too, there aren't many but this one is the most faithful in spirit. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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Classic film marred by a weak ending
MissSimonetta10 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This adaptation of The Snow Queen is likely the most well-known animated film from Russia and rightfully so. It's a beautiful film with a lovely color palette and interesting character animation. Unlike the recent musical-comedy Frozen (2013), this is more faithful to the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale and the central bond between Gerda and Kay feels comes across as much more poignant than anything in the later film, as Gerda goes through hellish scenarios for Kay's sake.

Unfortunately, the ending dilutes the emotion of the story. (SPOILER WARNING) Once Gerda makes it to the Snow Queen's palace and finds Kay, the confrontation with the titular character is less than convincing. Gerda simply shouts, "Go away!" and the mildly agitated queen disappears, leaving the children to make their way home and live happily ever after.

Now I was not expecting a ridiculous battle for the climax, but I felt it could have been handled with more power, with Kay forced to pick between the safe but soulless domain of the Snow Queen and Gerda's love. It would have been more satisfying. Or they could have kept the original ending too. Either of these would have been better than what was chosen. I'm not the only one who feels this way either; even director Hayao Miyazaki expressed his displeasure with this film's finale in an interview.

Still, this is among the better adaptations of the fairy tale to date and classic animation fans should not miss out.
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Kirpianuscus16 March 2017
for a film who was the favorite one of childhood, it is not easy ( or fair ) to say anything. because it is a part from yourself. so, the only word could be, maybe, its virtue to be the best adaptation of Andersen fairy tale. not only for drawing or actors but for the way to use the story in a charming manner. for the delicacy and for the spirit of childhood. for the preserving joy of meet with the characters. for a Snow Queen who remains different by each other versions because her final silence is the most impressive way to define the essence of story. so, a lovely film. for the entire family.
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Armand13 March 2013
for one who discovers it in childhood and believes, after years, that it is a splendid gift for soul, another definition is impossible. because it is not an adaptation. only a delicate delight. innocent, subtle, fresh, adorable. it is a meeting. with a fairy tale but, more important, with a art of cartoon. it is a magic occasion to understand a world. very fragile, almost dark, strange and in a way, cold. four years after Stalin, a year after Ungaria intervention. and this basis makes it profound and essential. like an adventure of spirit. like testimony of a form of resistance against evil. so, it is not exactly an adaptation. maybe, a parable. this is its secret. secret of the art to remain a delight. secret to be , at every age, a isle of peace and joy.
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A story of fraternal love
Imdbidia15 February 2011
A Russian animation film based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It tells the story of child Gerda in her quest to rescue her beloved brother Kay, kidnapped by the beautiful but icy Snow Queen. It is, above all, a story of fraternal love, and how love conquers everything if you fight against the adversity. Love melts the coldest heart... has a meaning in this story.

The animation is very good according to the standards of the 1950s, with beautiful backgrounds, and great human movement. The drawing of the Snow Queen is gorgeous and her drawing reminded me of the Socialist Realism paintings and sculptures with angled facial features and muscular strong bodies. Also excellent and very Japanese-style (Edo Period) is the drawing and movement of the sea waves. The image of the painting "The Great Wave of Kanagawa" by Katsushika Hokusai came immediately to my head. The film shares some visuals with Disney, and the little character that introduces the story reminded me of Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio; he even has the little umbrella with him! However, to be true, Disney was doing more advanced things (both visually and re the complexity of the scripts) at the time. The classic music by Artemiy Ayvazyan is truly beautiful, and typical of long-footage animation movies at the time. The Russian dubbing is also very charming.

What fails, to me, is the way the story is told (the script) and the plainness of the characters, which can be explained by the fact that the movie is targeted to a public of small children. The only characters I found interesting and believable were the ones of the little child thief and the the witchy Snow Queen. The same can be said of the action of the movie, which is not that thrilling for adults.

The film got different awards for animation in international film festivals, Cannes and Venice included, at the time. It is also attributed to Miyazaki saying that he loved this movie and that convinced him to continue with animation in a moment when he had doubts whether to make of animation his career.
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favorite film from memories
mary27 October 2016
This is most beautiful film from my memories.After 10 years i found this film,although I have never read a book.

It is so charming and warm film,from the beginning.It is fairy tale but adults will enjoy in film too. It relaxes but it is not boring. Style is very different from Disney and today-films.You will really get into story and have a empathy with all caratchers.And that is something that today-films do not have.

After 10 years,I still remember music.

This really is film for kids,although there is some sharp scenes on the end,it is easy watchable and gives strong messages. 10/10
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This review applies to the Americanized version.
MartinHafer26 September 2014
In the 1950s and 60s, several Hollywood studios bought international films and re-dubbed them into English. In many cases they also cut the films to pieces and rearranged them in a sad attempt to make them more marketable. In EVERY case I can think of, the results left a lot to be desired. A few of these, such as the re-dubbing and reworking of "Godzilla" (where Raymond Burr seemed to be added rather randomly in order to 'Americanize' the action), worked well enough. But most were simply awful. The list of terribly dubbed stupid international films is very long indeed, with films like "Invaders from Space" and cartoons like "Alakazam the Great" and "Pinocchio in Outer Space". While "The Snow Queen" isn't as bad as the three films I just mentioned, it is pretty bad. Why is it so bad? Well, much of it is because when it comes to showing it to American kids of the day, the material is pretty dull stuff. And, with excellent Disney productions to compare it to from the same time period (such as "Sleeping Beauty" and "101 Dalmatians"), the film just comes up very, very short and the kids would have clearly demand Disney!

The film begins with a prologue starring Art Linkletter and a bunch of not particularly talented kids (one who is named, I kid you not, 'Dick Johnson'- -so much for making this a family-friendly film). They are all enjoying a supposedly impromptu and TOTALLY SCRIPTED Christmas morning. You wonder WHO all these kids are and WHY are they at Linkletter's home and WHERE are the parents!! It's all done in an attempt to legitimize the film which follows. In other words, back in the late 50s, Linkletter was a beloved American TV star...and if HE loved the film, it must be good...right?! Well, no. I just assume that Universal Studio paid him a gob of cash to hang out with the kids and promote a crappy Soviet cartoon.

As for this Russian film, it's well animated compared to some films of the day (by the late 50s, standards in animation were dropping world-wide). Not as good as Disney, but not bad for the day. Sure, the humans often had creepy expressions but again I make allowances for this because of the period in which it was made.

The story is about the Snow Queen from Hans Christian Andersen. It's actually a lot closer to his story than the recent Disney film "Frozen", though I doubt if many folks will really care. The story is about two adorable (?) kids who love each other--Kay (a boy) and Gerta. Unfortunately for them, Kay makes a mistake of making fun of the Snow Queen and she responds by hardening his heart and making him a total jerk towards poor Gerta. Then, the Queen steals the boy and takes him to her frozen kingdom to be her friend. As for Gerta (and this is the ONLY thing I really liked about the film), she wasn't about to stay back home and cry--she set out on a long adventure to get her beloved Kay. The path leads to many adventures (some involving nice fairy tale creatures and some involving fairy tale jerks) and eventually Gerta's persistence is rewarded. In many ways, it reminds me of the wonderful children's book "The Paper Bag Princess" but is so dull and heavy-handed that its great message is lost because the film is so charmless.

The bottom line is that I cannot see many kids enjoying this. Younger ones especially will squirm in their seats if they're made to watch this one and older ones simply will wonder why they didn't just watch something else. You should definitely consider seeing something else.
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Not as good as Frozen
Eric Stevenson13 June 2016
I heard that this movie was an influence on Hayao Miyazaki. Really? This is definitely good, but not on his level at all. I guess I didn't like this as most people. With the mass success of "Frozen", I was eager to see what were considered some of the other best adaptations of the "Snow Queen" story. This is one of the highest ranked versions and while I personally didn't love it, I certainly enjoyed it. It's mostly because I grew up reading the classic story. I don't quite remember the events of the book, but I know it featured two kids who meet the title queen. It was more faithful than the infinitely more popular Disney movie.

I'm always eager to watch all movies, including foreign ones. I was glad to have come by a dubbed version and I don't think I've ever even seen an animated Russian movie before. The weakest part is that it is too short and fairly anti-climatic. It still has good pacing most of the time. The strongest point is probably the animation. The Snow Queen sticks out above all as being the most beautifully animated character or thing. I really did feel bad for these little kids, especially when they were getting into fights. ***
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