While it may not be as shiny as Gollum’s “precious,” Lord of the Rings fans were stoked last week when they discovered a 1991 made-for-TV adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring randomly uploaded to YouTube in two parts, after many had considered the special missing.
The release of the film, Khraniteli, was initially reported by The Guardian, and it is the only Tolkien adaptation thought to be made in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, airing only once. Some may consider the lack of airtime a good thing.
The special effects, costume design and overall quality of the special didn’t allow it to have much of a shot matching up with Peter Jackson’s trilogy a decade later, but after 5TV, a Russian television channel formerly known as Leningrad Television, posted the movie to YouTube in two parts, they’ve collectively amassed over 600,000 views so far. The special, featuring Andrei Romanov of the rock band Akvarium scoring the production, was reportedly being kept in Leningrad Television’s archives for roughly three decades.
“It is as absurd and monstrous as it is divine and magnificent,” one user wrote. “The opening song is especially lovely. Thanks to the one who found this rarity.”