The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish (1937)

aka Skazka o rybake i rybke, The Fishmonger and the Fish
Article 5313 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-3-2016
Directed by Alexander Ptushko
Voice cast unknown
Country: Soviet Union
What it is: Animated fable

A poor fisherman catches a fish of gold that offers a ransom for its life, but the fisherman lets it go for free. However, when his wife hears, she berates the fisherman and demands he go back and ask the fish for a new wash tub. He does so, and the wish is granted, but the wife is still not satisfied and asks for more. Will she end up asking for too much?

The copy I found of this short had English subtitles, which I really didn’t expect, but I’m happy about it anyway. However, I’m not sure I would have really needed them; the story is familiar enough (I’m sure I saw a version in “Fractured Fairy Tales”) and is easy to follow. It’s a charming and rather sad version of the tale, and the puppet animation is quite good. It was directed by Alexander Ptushko, and to some extent, it appears that his career parallels that of George Pal’s; they both began with puppet animation, but moved on to epic feature work. Ptushko would go on to direct such films as THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON and THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE, two favorites of mine.


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