125 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2004
Hands up all those who remember watching this on TV every summer holiday in the 70's?????? Here's a tip for those who wish to see it on DVD and don't possess a multi region DVD or the appropriate TV....buy it from the German branch of Amazon as I did. The English narration that you remember from all those years ago is available on the disc.....
So what is it like after all those years? Well, the quality of the picture is really good on DVD, really vibrant colours. I think the real problem is that it would be rather too slow for todays kids, who expect things to move at a much faster pace. Maybe we just had longer attention spans in those days. Also, the special effects were rather poor even for something made in 1950s Eastern Europe. The bear make up is really laughable. So do I recommend that you buy it???? ?Absolutely..but for yourself to wallow in the nostalgia and also the beauty of cinema of half a century ago made for kids with rather different expectations.
77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2001
I saw this film as a child in the BBC's Tales from Europe series and loved it back then. It was atmospheric, magical, spooky and rather frightening to me as achild - but utterly compelling. Years later as a 30 year old I saw it advertised at my local cinema for a one showing only. I strolled along, thinking I would be alone at the cinema....instead the queue stretched halfway around the building! They were all about my age and the ones i spoke to were there because they remembered it from when they were kids as well! We went in and i saw it in colour for the first time. Pure psychedelia quite frankly - the screen dripped hallucinatory colour and the film was as magical as that young child had remembered. The audience went wild! This is one of the most convincing fairy tales on film I've ever seen. An absolutely solid gold classic. Adults and children can all enjoy it. What a film - one of my all time top 10.
75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2009
I've had this nightmare picture of a stranded giant fish struggling for breath which has plagued me for so many years. Saw a mention of this by chance in a newspaper article, and ordered it the same day! There are websites dedicated to this film, all from kids traumatised by it in the 1960's. I was one of them, but had pushed the memory into my sub-conscious, at least except for the fish...
Expecting disappointment and poor quality, this dvd rolled back the years. It's in beautiful colour, and the sound is good. It has a German version on the disc too, plus an interview with "The World's First Communist Princess!"
The quality is so good after all these years that it makes you question a lot of what we were told about East Germany. Buy this and scare your kids; they deserve it!
65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2001
Of all my childhood memories of children's TV, 'The Singing Ringing Tree' remains the most vivid and well loved. If that makes me a sad nostalgic 40 something then I'm comfortingly not alone, because 37 years after its first airing on British TV it has now been elevated to 'cult classic' status. So what was it about 'The Singing Ringing Tree' that has remained a cherished memory with so many adults. It's certainly not the special effects, charming and well done as they were for a film dating from 1957, nor was it the sumptuous colour of the original print which is has been digitally remastered for this video presentation - 1964 when it was first shown on British TV we had to make do with TV black and white. Ultimately, then, we are left with the story-line (an amalgam of three Grimm's Fairy Tales) that beautifully conveys the moral principle that in order to find happiness the individual needs to look beyond selfish desires and to care for the environment surrounding them. Is it too much to hope that it is that that we have carried with us in the form of our cherished memories over the years? It would be nice to think so. And what of its standing today? Well, I can see The Singing Ringing Tree becoming the memories of the future with children today, as great story-telling like this never really becomes dated. One final note: the digital remastering is absolutely superb, and the video has the original English narration from its showing on British TV. A Masterpiece.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2003
i bought this cos i'd heard so much about it over the years. programmes on radio 4, where people of a certain age would reminisce about seeing it as a child.
the more i heard - including tantalising clips frustratingly in german - the more i longed to see it.
i recommend this tale with a moral and with life lessons for us all, to anyone who likes quirky films, has children or a thing for giant fish made of gold.
now i must admit, the first 10 minutes left me cold, but from the moment things started to go wrong for the arrogant princess, i was hooked.
the singing, ringing tree is in fantastically lurid technicolour, with endearingly creaky special effects. its sets are beautifully kitsch and the costumes are nicely retro. music and sound effects are almost scary. even watching it as an adult i suspended my disbelief and was swept-up into fairyland.
buy it, watch it, rewatch it, get all your friends round to see it, love it.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
There is a 5 year-ish generational window who grew up thrilling to this from behind the sofa. Now, aged 50, talking to friends, there were those who did get to see this and for whom it formed one of the most vivid memories of their childhood, or those who simply missed it. Discovering its re-release has been one of the great thrills of the 'DVD-revolution'. The first shock upon receiving it was to discover that it had been filmed in colour.
Of people I know who knew it from childhood, two found it a wonderful reconnection (as did I) and one found it disappointing because of the clear datedness of the obviously amateurish special effects.
Of people I got to watch it who had not seen it before, pretty well all were underwhelmed, again because of the dated special effects. That is, until they went on to watch the accompanying documentary interview with Cristal Boden, the now 60-ish year old lady who had played the proud princess at age 16. After her explanation that this was the first major film to be produced in Germany out of the devestation of the second world war, and the obstacles that confronted it's production, and her description of how some of the effects were accomplished, such as the man inside 'the Fish' who had to spend hours in freezing water. At this point people tend to 'get' the film in retrospect, suddenly everyone agrees that it is charming and beautiful, despite having ended the actual film quite quizical. A curious thing to watch.
The secret to this film is to forget the primitive production and see through to it's archetypal, and above all moral, heart and it's timeless message of good triumphing over evil and the magical, redemptive power of love and humility. It should not be dismissed as a 'mere children's fairytale', but should be ranked alongside the great classics of Lang, Cocteau and Bunuel, none of whom get dismissed for their primitive effects.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2006
I have been trying to find this on DVD, at a reasonable price, for a number of years, so was very happy to finally be able to buy it on Amazon UK.
The quality is superb, and it was great fun to watch again - it brought back lots of childhood memories.
The DVD is better than my childhood experience, though, because it is filmed in such amazing colours.
The english narration is a new version, I believe, but still very good, and true to the original (as I remember it).
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2007
I only spotted this film on on an off chance - while looking through fantasy dvds and upon reading some reviews decided to give it a try. Being of a younger generation I'd never heard of the singing ringing tree and in spite of it's old fashioned special effects it holds a greater magic than a number of modern epics. It reminded me instantly of Hans Christian Andersen and the brothers Grimm in that there is far more sinister element to it, which may be likened to the old fairy tales. It appears to be somewhat of combination of the snow white/rose red story and the original beauty and the beast story with perhaps a little of Rumpelstiltskin added into the mix.
A young prince courts the favour of a beautiful princess, but she refuses his advances until she is brought the singing ring tree. The prince sets off on a quest to find it, travelling to the ends of the earth where he finds a hidden land. There he meets a malicious dwarf who gives him the tree on condition he wins the princesses' love by sunset. If he fails the task he will turn into a bear and reside in the hidden land..
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Memories of my schooldays in the 60s and 70s when we just caught bits of this film each week on Tales from Europe after school.
Now reproduced in blindingly bright colour it is a joy to see the whole full length film and understand what was going on all those years ago.
The story may not initially interest anyone but afficianados but thrilled all the youngsters around our house when we showed it on a 40 inch screen.
The film is beautifully made with some wildly magical characters such as the wicked dwarf(mega scary when I was a child), a huge goldfish (fantastically unrealistic), a white horse with golden antlers and a prince who turns into a bear in true beauty and the beast style. The action takes place in mountains and canyons where waterfalls turn to ice and snow drifts miraculously appear from nowhere.
For me it was the memories it brought back but there is a moral in the story too. It is a magical and wonderful tale of a very proud princess who learns from her mistakes that gentleness, hard work and kindness are much more rewarding than demanding luxuries at every turn. It is a fabulous story with a very clear message for children and adults too about attaining true happiness and enduring love.
I can watch this again and again which is fortunate as all the kids want to see it repeatedly.
78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2007
Definitely of an era: I don't think anyone has quite been able to pigeon-hole this one, naive and tacky at one end with simple scenery, dodgy acting and shoddy costumes, yet it captured a real sense of fantasy and atmosphere.
It is rather a shock to discover the series (now presented in one part as the original film) was in colour, I am sure everyone's memory was of a hazy black and white blur, perhaps a little of the atmosphere is lost, but the DVD capture is now bright and vibrant and fitting for the fairy tale world. The sound track is a little wobbly in parts, with some noticeable background hiss, but nothing that detracts too much from the viewing.
The story is that of a spoilt princess being courted by a prince from a foreign land. The princess asks for the Singing Ringing Tree as proof of his love. Suffice to say, a search ensues, rash promises are made and the dwarf king of a magical land with a bad line in fist-shaking acting turns the prince into a bear having a bad hair day. The princess is brought to the land and... well you can see for yourself. That bridge into the magic kingdom still makes me nervous.
You need to suppress modern cynicism when watching an old series like this, but it still works: not sure what age children would appreciate it though. It didn't destroy my happy memories of this childhood experience.
No extras worth mentioning: just a stilted interview with the princess, with a few snippets of information about the making.