Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Movie: Kyor-ogly (1960)

Kyor-ogly is a Soviet adventure film from 1960. It was the first Cinemascope film in colour made in the state of Azerbaijan, and it tells about the national hero, Ker-ogly, who battled the evil tyrant who blinded his father. I saw the film on 35 mm last night in the Finnish Film Archive screening, with some 30 other viewers.

The film is stunning to look at, but there's clumsiness as comes to the story-telling. At times I didn't know what was happening and who the people on the screen were. Some characters came out of nowhere and dropped out of sight pretty quickly. I thought at first the copy I saw was a shortened one aimed at international markets, but I couldn't find any evidence on that. Maybe they thought everyone knows the story of Ker-ogly by heart!

The film is a lot of fun, some of its intentional, but most of its unintentional. There are some nice action scenes and some of the sets are spectacular. Even the matte paintings are pretty well made. Some of the funny scenes include the last battle during which Ker-ogly starts to sing this ballad to encourage his soldiers! If only Peter Jackson had Gandalf do something like this! (Actually I got to thinking about The Lord of the Rings quite many times during Kyor-ogly, I just wonder if Jackson saw this...)

Kyor-ogly has no English title, but in Finland it was shown as Maagillinen miekka, literally The Magical Sword. There's no magic in the film, however. In German the film was called "The Bloody Sword". There's not much of that in the film either, as the film shies away from showing lots of violence.

Here's the whole film without any subtitles:

More Overlooked Movies here.

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