Popcorn and a Pony- The Little Humpbacked Horse(Конек-Горбунок)(1947)

humpback horse
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This is a new feature that we are trying on Snarky Rider. It is a movie review! The movie is available in it’s entirety at the end of the post. Let us know how you like the review and the movie. I did attach an English version, since most of the readers here do not speak Russian. Enjoy! ~IDG

“The Little Humpbacked Horse(Конек-Горбунок)(1947)(Russia)

As a foreign cinema lover, specifically russian, I couldn’t pass it up to watch an animated feature about a horse. This little soviet gem is based on a poem, and as such the entire film rhymes… In Russian.

The film starts out showing nice meadows, mountains, and the sea, before we see our protagonist and his brothers. Clearly his two brothers are well above his age, or he is majorly stunted in his growth, either way it’s made clear that he is the runt of the litter. Later on he sits alone at night rambling about the sky when a magical flying horse, with no wings, flies by and somehow this kid is able to grab ahold and take a ride. This horse looks like the product of a swan-horse hybrid. My god the neck is like an arabian’s neck x 10. We find out immediately afterwards that he has a choice from the magical flying horseh swan- he could either keep the one he rode, or he could have 2 stallions and a little humpbacked pony. The pony has a normal neck, but the ears are double the length of a mule’s ears, and a hump resembling that of a camel. Of course he picks option number two.

So he brings them to a stable and the next morning he and the little pony go to work in the field. Of course this is when the brothers see these two stallions and when the boy gets back they are gone. It’s always the older brothers that are assholes, I see nothing has changed in all these years. This is the first time we heard the pony talk, and he flies as well… This pony is starting to remind me of dumbo. Anyways he seems to magically know where the brothers have taken them and they fly off together to find his brothers. This kid pulls on the pony’s ears to get him to stop, but they find a magical feather on their way? This place is just full of magic. So we finally see the town were they are headed and for the first time the horses look normal, perhaps because they aren’t magic? The king sees the two stallions and stops the entire parade just as the little brother is able to get there. Ivan is somehow able to get hired as the “horse master” after the two stallions drag the old “horse master” and run around like they are having a seizure. This doesn’t sit well with the old horse master who becomes the servant so he does everything in his power to get rid of the kid. And when I say “get rid of” the preferable method is by gallows, skinning or impaling, which was all threatened.

The first task being to catch a Pheonix. They ride off and upon finding several of these birds, the birds star dancing ballet. He catches one and returns. The second one is a singing maiden, who is certainly not the model for most women, being so easy to kidnap and all. The third adventure has Ivan and pony visiting a talking whale… With a village on it’s back… Who decides the best place for a village is on a ginormous whale’s back? Well he liberates the whale and the whale brings him back the ring he needs for the king, which will be used to we’d the maiden. And she is very receptive to marrying this old man she just met a day ago. Not to mention she’s 15! Back to Ivan, he gets thrown in a cell after an argument with the king and is to be boiled alive. Nice to know they finally settled on a method, though, right?

Humpty Dumpty save him! Oh wrong fairy tale. Apparently the asshole servant kidnapped the humpbacked pony so he couldn’t go to see his buddy executed, but he escapes just in the knick of time and jumps head first into the water and comes back out as an adult. Seeing this the king just had to do it himself and it did to quite work for him. Ivan, gets the maiden and lives happily ever after, though I think this girl needs help because she is falling in love with every man she comes across, no matter how old.

If you couldn’t tell by the description, it was a bit confusing. I found myself wondering where this was going to go. It appears as though the film has the style of being pulled right out of an illustrated book. It’s pretty cute, and some of it reminds me of Dumbo- possibly the whole flying without the wings thing. The horses vary so much, some looking normal, and others with their freakishly long necks. Maybe we found the film that inspired the modern halter arabian? Sometimes the color of certain things will change like the pony changing from white to blue. Bet he auditioned for the Wizard of Oz but that crazy growth on his back stopped him from getting picked. I’d like to hear the explanation for that. Is it a tumor… Is it cancerous? That boy just sits on it like it’s absolutely normal for a pony to have a huge growth on his back! I expect he’ll be on Facebook next week asking for advice. Anyways, overall it was a cute movie, but a bit on the crazy side. 5/10″   ~Dark Horse


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