Long lost Soviet Lord of the Rings adaptation, Khraniteli, rediscovered
Richard WessApril 5, 2021
Even the most diehard Tolkienites have been surprised to hear last week’s latest revelation in Middle Earth fan lore. Khraniteli (Хранители), a little-known 1991 Soviet adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, has finally been given a rerelease to the public. Thought lost, this two-part TV play languished for decades in obscurity. However, the film was just digitized and rereleased by the Russian station, 5TV, successor to the Soviet TV channel, Leningrad Television.
Khraniteli covers the events of the first book in the Tolkien trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring. For now, there are no subtitles in English, but Lord of the Rings lovers can still delight in the film’s low-budget, yet striking design, scant, yet enjoyable special effects, and just plain questionable electronic music score.
To Khraniteli’s credit, the film faithfully follows the storyline as outlined by Tolkien. For example, the character Tom Bombadil, who didn’t make it into Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films, makes an appearance in this Russian version. Still, there are other areas, like key costume and visual elements of the main characters, where Khraniteli deviates from the original descriptions. Trust me – you’ll be confused about the Gandalf character.
But no matter! This low budget, somewhat absurd adaptation is sure to thrill any lover of the epic Tolkien trilogy. Why not have a browse through and see if you can tell which key events from the book are taking place? You’re sure to be in for a treat. 🙂
You can enjoy watching Khraniteli below. And if you’d like to read more about what others are saying about this cultural gem, you can read what The Guardian and NME have to say about it here.