Directors: Vladimir Chebotaryov, Gennadi Kazansky
Writers: Aleksandr Belyaev (novel), Akiba Golburt,
Stars: Vladimir Korenev, Anastasiya Vertinskaya,Mikhail Kozakov
The film is based on the 1927 novel by famous writer Aleksandr Belyayev.
A cross between Jules Verne and Hans Christian Andersen, became one of the biggest smash hits in Soviet history.
Deuxième prix du Festival du film à Trieste (Italie), 1962
Part science fiction, part fantasy, and part romance, Amphibian Man, based on the 1928 Aleksandr Beliaev novel of the same name, is the story of Ikhtiandr’s (Vladimir Korenev) search for love and acceptance on land. In an exotic and beautiful unspecified Latin American locale, (Buenos Aires, Argentina in the novel) townspeople live in fear of an exotic creature, “the sea devil.” In reality, this “sea devil” is the kindly Ikhthiandr, whose father, Dr. Sal'vator (Nikolai Simonov) replaced his lungs with shark’s gills in a lifesaving operation in his childhood. Although Dr. Sal'vator dreams of a utopian underwater republic where his son can thrive, Ikhthiandr has his sights set on a different prize: the beautiful Guttiere (Anastasiia Vertinskaia), whom he rescued from a shark attack when she fled from an unwanted suitor. Feeling stifled by loneliness and the solitary existence of life under the sea, Ikhthiandr sets out to find her, against his father’s wishes. Along the way, he encounters not only her greedy and jealous fiancé, Pedro Zurita (Mikhail Kozakov), but also the cruel realities of the world outside of his sheltered underwater existence.
In many ways, the now fifty-year-old film has not aged well, but it has done so in a way that is generally considered “so bad, it’s good.” Amphibian Man, with its cheesy 1960s visual aesthetics and relatively low budget, given costly technical aspects, has become a cult classic. It has an overdramatic and oversimplified love story. Guttiere is predictably the object of affection of not only Ikhthiandr and Pedro, but also Ol'sen (Vladlen Davydov), a journalist and friend of Dr. Sal'vator. Ikhthiandr wins her heart by immediately confessing his love for her and, when she teases him about love at first sight, he earnestly replies with “Is there any other kind?” This charming, but utopian love, combined with impossibly ridiculous feats of technology and the tragic ending of the loveable and naive Ikhthiandr who wanted nothing more than to be a part of the world on land, seem to form the perfect mixture of terrible and brilliant.
Original version of the movie here.