Very Blue Beard – A Moral Tale

Another Soviet cartoon awaits below! A favorite in my childhood household, Very Blue Beard was released in 1979 and tells an alternate tale of the famed wife-killer and three of his objets d’amour. This particular version places all the blame directly on the wives and identifies the beard as symbol of male essence, constantly oppressed by scissor-happy women. Nonetheless, the Modigliani-meets-Peter Chung look of the figures and the background treatment are worth a peek. No subtitles, so I’ll summarize below each of the two parts.

Part 1

A modern day detective sets out to learn the truth about Blue Beard upon finding a piece of blue hair. He calls his wife to tell her of this discovery, only to be nagged half to death about the possibility of coming home late. The investigation must continue! Soon Bluebeard is found alive and well, just beyond the borders of alternate reality. [In Soviet Russia, alternate reality can be entered through the subway, by the way.] He admits his guilt but requests the detective’s ear for a chance to explain his reasons.

Blue Beard’s first wife is Marianna, an ultra-modern English fashionista who isn’t interested in Blue’s old-fashioned ways. She redecorates his palace to her own liking, then drives him mad with her weaves and pet dragon. As the rage wells up inside Blue Beard, his beard grows back, signaling that he’s had enough of this free-willed lady!

Part two below the jump.

Part 2

Wife two is vestal, health-conscious Lilianna who refuses Blue meat, wine, and cake, claiming he’s on death’s doorstep. Love is rationed out in small doses, as well – phlegmatic Lilliana suggests cold showers as a remedy for excessive lust. Blue Beard is prescribed yoga and a daily regimen that eventually drives him to murder.

The third wife is amorous and voluptuous Didianna. The opposite of Marianna, she sings about love without borders and the glories of hedonism. Blue Beard is finally happy until he comes home to find Didianna in his friend’s embrace.

Satisfied with his investigation, our detective heads home. He calls his wife on the way and is accused of cheating because he stayed out too late. The finale reveals his true nature. Moral: wives of the world, take heed! Nag too much and he’ll kill you, for Blue Beard lives within all men.

Thanks for the reminder, Christopher!

16 Responses to “Very Blue Beard – A Moral Tale”

  1. q gauti Says:

    that voice sounds eerily familiar, is that mikhail boyarsky?

  2. Tanya Says:

    Q: It could be Boyarsky, but I was also thinking Karachentsev. Also, not to use Coilhouse as a personal message board, but I might as well – when are you going to come visit me in SF, home slice?

    Zoe: Thanks for the memories! The song he’s singing on the phone with his wife – I used to know all the words to it!

  3. Tequila Says:

    Yay! Sunday morning cartoons Coilhouse style!

    All that’s needed now is a cute host in a funny outfit…hmmm…who could we get to do that?

  4. Alice Says:

    Is this really misogyny, or is it supposed to just be…humorous? Ah, well, being able to speak nary a lick of Russian, I’m sure there are countless nuances I’m missing!

    Still, this is a great sample of the really fun eeriness that only non-U.S. 80s cartoons can deliver! I plan to spend the rest of my evening enjoying this.

  5. Chris L Says:

    Thanks for posting this! The summary helps. A lot. There’s a chance that I would’ve been able to figure it out otherwise, but prooobably not.

  6. Zoetica Says:

    Q – YES! Good catch there, mister. M. Boyarskiy, indeed!

    Tanya – my pleasure. I could practically sing along as soon as I watched it again, and it had been years.

    Tequila – if this is your way of trying to get me in that bee outfit again, it just might happen next Saturday at the Beerotica art show. If I can find the blasted thing, that is.

    Alice – personally, I think it’s a bit of both. Wish I could provide a real transcription and capture more of all the wonderful nuance, but my typing is much too slow for that – it would take ages. It is quite eerie, isn’t it! I remember getting chills at the last shot, every time.

    Chris, happy to provide, and thank you again.

  7. Bill C Says:

    1979? With a phone in his car? Was this just a bit of artistic shorthand, or were there car phones like this in the Soviet Union in 1979?

  8. Zoetica Says:

    Bill, artistic shorthand, sure! To my knowledge there was no such technology available to the public at the time, unless you count radio transmitters in police cars and the like.

    I laughed at the rotary dial.

  9. Tequila Says:

    @Zo…Yes. Yes it is. It’s my hope to convince you to host a cable access show in a bee suit where you introduce masterworks of Russian animation.

  10. Jerem Morrow Says:

    It’s HEAVY METAL for we beatnik kids!

  11. Zoetica Says:

    And while we’re on the topic, let’s not forget Bakshi’s American Pop!

  12. Jerem Morrow Says:

    Y’know, Zo, I’ve only ever seen a trailer for Bakshi’s AP! There’s a chap, lives close by, that has a 35mm print. May have to beg him to screen it. He’s played Fritz for us, so little doubt he’d oblige.

  13. Tequila Says:

    An excellent…and I mean excellent book about Bakshi saw publication this year titled “Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi”

    The guy is one of my all time heroes. I spent one summer doing nothing but drawing Cool World characters when the film hit. He also pops up in the Frank Frazetta doc “Painting with Fire.” Both items are worth hunting down and highly enjoyable.

    Reminds me…I need to get my American Pop DVD back…

  14. Zoetica Says:

    Jerem, American Pop on the big screen? Fun!

    Tequila, I have to admit I was hooked on Cool World when it was making the rounds on cable in the 90s!

    And what a coincidence, I had just heard about that Frazetta doc tonight – will have to check it out.

  15. S3 Says:

    I’m really impressed with the vocalists. I actually really enjoyed the singing.

    And the art was really fun to watch. I loved how the proportions would change when they moved the POV.

  16. Nadej Says:

    1.Yes, it is Michail Boyarsky’s voice
    2.Yes, it is supposed to be humorous.
    3.The vocals are great because many of the voices were done by famous people (like Boyarsky himself and Dolina (Russian Tina Turner) for the last wife.
    Check out The Very Blue Beard english subtitled version (I tried to keep the text as close to the original as I could):