THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON (1956)
(a.k.a. ILJA MURAMETS)
Article #590 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-26-2003
Posting Date: 3-21-2003
This is the story of Ilja Muramets, a hero who fights againt the evil Mongol Kalin.
This reminds me a little of the 1939 version of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, in that a great deal of the pleasure I get from watching it is the result of the sheer scale of the undertaking; the ads claimed that 100,000 people were involved in the making of this movie, and after taking a gander at some of the crowd scenes, that may not be quite the exaggeration it seems. Granted, the fact that I watched a dubbed, badly faded print does somewhat blunt its effectiveness, and I also wonder just how badly the movie was cut when brought to the U.S.; it runs a hair over eighty minutes, but IMDB does not list an alternate running time, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find out that the original ran quite a bit longer. The special effects aren’t always convincing, but at least they have the same grandness of scale as the rest of the production, so I’ll let that slide. Besides, it also contains the largest human pyramid in movie history, and that must count for something.