Friday, 28 March 2014

Po Sledam Bremenskih Muzykantov

Writer: Vasili Livanov
Cast: Oleg Anofriyev, Muslim Magomayev, Anatoli Gorokhov
Country: USSR
Year of release: 1973
Reviewed from: Russian VHS

This direct sequel to the 1969 classic Bremenskie Muzikanty demonstrates a clear progression, not only in the quality of the animation and design but also in the infiltration of western culture into the Soviet Union (as was).

In this story, the King decides that he wants his daughter back from that vagabond Troubadour who is carrying her around the countryside with his four animal friends, and to this end he employs the services of a weaselly private detective. Clad in a garish check suit and driving a rather eccentric old car, this character reminded me of the Sherlock Holmes lampoon Coke Ennyday in The Mystery of the Leaping Fish - but surely that must be coincidence.

In a fairly simplistic storyline, the detective manages to snatch the King's daughter and takes her back to the city, chased by the animals and the Troubadour in a scene which could almost come out of Wacky Races. Back at the city, the Troubadour rescues the girl while the animals distract everyone with a swinging pop concert in the town square. That's about it, the whole thing enlivened with a bit more knockabout comedy than in the first film - the bandits make a brief reappearance - and of course all set to a bunch of folk/pop songs by Genadi Gladkov and Yuri Entin.

What is most interesting here is that in the intervening four years (some sources wrongly list this sequel as 1971) the influence of western pop and pop culture has clearly increased. The musicians in the first film looked like a Russian folk band accompanied by a ballad-singer in bell-bottoms. Here they have been transformed, not too much, but enough to make them recognisably a pop band. I don't know whether Yellow Submarine was ever shown in the Soviet Union - maybe somebody just saw some stills from that film - but the scene of the four animals performing in the town square shows a definite influence in my view.

I haven't been able to find out the name of the director, only that it was not Inessa Kovalevskaya who directed Bremenskie Muzikanty. The film runs about 20 minutes, the title means (and is sometimes cited as) On the Trail of the Musicians of Bremen and it is available on the same tape/DVD/VCD as the first film.

MJS rating: B+


  1. Vasily Livanov was a writer of both films, and was a director of the second.
    (Livanov is famous in Russia as a soviet Sherlock Holmes, but acted not only as a movies actor. Also he is a voice of several popular cartoon characters. That is really strange, that he didn't work for soundtrack of Bremenskie muzykanty)