A brave prince wants to win the heart of a stubborn princess by finding the singing, ringing tree for her. He finally locates it in the magical realm of an evil dwarf who offers him a deal:...
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Marianne Christina Schilling,
A brave prince wants to win the heart of a stubborn princess by finding the singing, ringing tree for her. He finally locates it in the magical realm of an evil dwarf who offers him a deal: he can keep the tree if it starts singing before sundown - which it will only do if the princess truly loves him. Otherwise, he will be turned into a bear. Reminiscent of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.Written by
I remember back in the early 90's I was watching the TV clip based game show 'Telly Addicts'. It was never a good programme but on this night something interesting happened. Suddenly, from out of nowhere they showed a strange clip. It was a weird looking fantasy scene with a bear, a girl and a dwarf. Immediately I had a flash-back to something I had long forgotten – The Singing Ringing Tree! It was a very strange feeling to be reminded of something that I hadn't thought about for twenty years. Then it came back to me. Sort of. I recalled from the mists of my childhood watching a strange fantasy serial involving an evil dwarf and two other people who I couldn't quite picture. It must have made some kind of impression because I had sub-consciously never forgotten it.
Since then I discovered that the show had affected many other people in a similar way. They had all seen it when little kids and had similar memories. The common thread seemed to be that they found the evil dwarf terrifying. In all honesty I don't remember the feeling of being scared but I certainly never forgot that dwarf. The show seems to have been serialized and shown in the UK first in the early 60's and then again in the mid 70's; it was the latter that I experienced as a pre-school tot. One thing I can be sure of was I really liked this as a little kid.
Fast-forward to the present day and I finally decided to re-watch The Singing Ringing Tree again. They say you should never go back ladies and gentlemen. Should I have gone back? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, the experience of watching this weird East German fairy tale as an adult could never match the impact it had as three or four year old little child. And the considerable mystic quality of the distant and vague memory of it is something that is very specific and impossible to replicate. So, in watching it again, to a certain extent I broke the weird spell it had cast on me, as it never could be quite as bizarrely enchanting to me now as the enigmatic memory of it always was. Having said all this, this is an excellent fantasy film and a true one-off. It really does have an odd East European ambiance and its look and colour scheme are both fantastic. There's no question that this is a superior production of a fairy tale. The dwarf does make for a somewhat unforgettable villain. I loved the way he lurks undetected within the scene. He is seen hiding in holes in the ground, inside rock-faces, within giant shells or just malevolently looking on from atop a hill. The effects work, while crude, are somewhat memorable and beautiful. The freezing of the waterfall and the fiery flames at the end spring to mind as examples of this. They add to the over-all otherworldly aesthetic. Add to this a strange horse, a giant fish, a beautiful princess, a cursed bear and a magical tree, and you have the makings of something undoubtedly remarkable.
While I may not have experienced the same kind of magic in returning to the realm of The Singing Ringing Tree as an adult, I'm still pleased I did. It's a superlative and strange film that deserves to be passed down the years to little children of future generations. And perhaps it will cast a spell on them
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