Deaf Crocodile To Release 4K Restoration Of ILYA MUROMETS (THE SWORD & THE DRAGON) (1956) On Blu-Ray Uncut For The First Time In The US


Aleksandr Ptushko’s Visually Stunning FX-filled Epic Set For May 2022 Disc Release with OCN Distribution, Digital Release To Follow With Grasshopper Films

Deaf Crocodile Films, in association with distribution partner Seagull Films, is proud to announce the upcoming 4K restoration release on Blu-ray of famed fantasy filmmaker Aleksandr Ptushko’s visually stunning 1956 medieval epic ILYA MUROMETS (THE SWORD & THE DRAGON) through partner label OCN-Vinegar Syndrome. The Blu-ray edition of ILYA MUROMETS contains a new commentary track by comics artist (Swamp Thing), film historian, and author Stephen R. Bissette and a reprint of film scholar Alan Upchurch’s pioneering essay on Aleksandr Ptushko from Video Watchdog magazine, plus Ptushko’s own essay on the making of ILYA MUROMETS. ILYA MUROMETS was recently restored in 4K by Mosfilm studio utilizing the original 35mm camera negative. Following its Blu-ray release, ILYA MUROMETS will be available for digital streaming through Deaf Crocodile’s partner label Grasshopper Films.



ILYA MUROMETS (THE SWORD & THE DRAGON), 1956, 87 min. Legendary fantasy filmmaker Aleksandr Ptushko’s sweeping, visual FX-filled epic is one of his most enchanting achievements: a stunning Cinemascope ballad of heroic medieval knights, ruthless Tugar invaders, wind demons and three-headed fire-breathing dragons. The film stars Boris Andreyev as the bogatyr (warrior) Ilya, a mythic figure in the Kyivan Rus’ culture that pre-dated both modern Ukraine and Russia (much of the film’s action is set in Kyiv, and Ilya’s relics are held today in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery). Based on a series of famous byliny (oral epics), the film follows Ilya as he wages a decades-long battle against the Tugars who threaten his homeland, kidnap his wife, and raise his own son to fight against him. Ptushko began his career in the 1930s and went on to become a combination of Walt Disney, Ray Harryhausen, and Mario Bava for his dazzling, bejeweled fantasies including THE STONE FLOWER, SADKO, SAMPO, and RUSLAN & LUDMILA. The first Cinemascope film produced in the Soviet Union, ILYA MUROMETS was released in a truncated, dubbed version in the U.S. at the height of the Cold War as THE SWORD & THE DRAGON, downplaying the epic poetry and lyricism of the original. The film has been restored in 4K for its first-ever official U.S. release on Blu-ray in its original form by Deaf Crocodile, in association with Seagull Films. In Russian with English subtitles.

“On one level, ILYA MUROMETS is a pure fantasy, one of Ptushko’s greatest — but even a fantasy can have political implications,” says Dennis Bartok, Deaf Crocodile’s Co-Founder and Head of Distribution & Acquisitions. “Although ILYA MUROMETS was made in 1956 at the height of the Cold War and was set in a mythical landscape nearly a thousand years earlier, it has unmistakable parallels to today’s world and the war in the Ukraine. Ilya was a legendary hero of the Kyivan Rus’ which encompassed modern Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus in the 9th to 13th centuries. That idea of somehow returning to a mythical “united Rus’” has been used as a tragic justification for the war today — and of course when ILYA MUROMETS was made in 1956, it would have been seen as a call for a united Soviet Union at the time.”

“Imagine being given an unlimited budget and no time constraints to make the ultimate fantasy epic in 1956… that’s ILYA MUROMETS”, added Deaf Crocodile Co-Founder and Head of Post-Production & Restoration Craig Rogers. “With over 100,000 extras, over 10,000 horses, and a three-headed dragon that breathes real fire!”

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