This 1964 comedic Soviet fairy tale film tells the story of the young maiden Nastenka, and her suitor, Ivan. Nastenka is a sweet, innocent girl who's tormented by both her evil stepmother and her spoiled, ugly stepsister, Marfushka, to the point where her father's ordered to dump her out in the woods. The vain and foolhardy Ivan insults the elderly Father Mushroom and is turned into a bear because of his pride. Despite these and many other obstacles, including constant interference from the witch Baba Yaga, the two lovers finally reunite with the help of the titular character Morozko (a.k.a. Jack Frost or Father Frost), get married, and live happily ever after.This film gained a cult followingamong Czechoslovak TV viewers (to the point that it's a staple of Christmas broadcasting in Czechia and Slovakia to this day), as well as among fans of vintage foreign fantasy films. In 1966 it was released in the United States as Jack Frost. This version got riffed by the crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000 during the 90s. In 2011, the film recieved a remake as a musical-comedy that featured such reimagining as the scene where Ivan revives Nastenka featuring a parody of "I Will Survive."Not to be confused with the film about a killer snowman, or the other film about a friendly snowman.For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.
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Aborted Arc: So... Nastenka is favored over Marfusha by a suitor. This causes the Wicked Stepmother to banish Nastenka. However, what happened to the suitor and his mother? Did they suddenly lose interest in Nastenka? Obviously, Nastenka was never interested in the suitor. She loved Ivan.
Adaptation Expansion: The original fairy tale only covered Morozko rescuing and rewarding the Nastenka character for refusing help even while freezing to death, and him later punishing her stepsister for trying to trick him.
Affectionate Parody: While the film has serious moments, it's also an unabashed comedy that parodies typical Russian fairytale plots and stock Russian fairytale characters in a good-natured way (hence the somewhat Fantasy Kitchen Sink approach).
A short while later, the gate to the yard creaked. The old woman went outside and saw her husband standing next to the sleigh. She rushed forward and pulled aside the sleigh's cover. To her horror, she saw the body of her daughter, frozen by an angry Morozko. She began to scream and berate her husband, but it was all in vain. Later, the old man's daughter married a neighbor, had children, and lived happily. Her father would visit his grandchildren every now and then, and remind them always to respect Old Man Winter.
Even Evil Has Standards / Traumatic Haircut: The Wicked Stepmotherrefuses to cut off Nastenka's braid at her prized daughter's insistence, with the lame excuse that she'd have nothing to pull her around with. Considering how highly long hair braids are viewed in that culture, it is akin to defacing Mona Lisa.
Extreme Doormat: Nastenka does what she's told and never complains. She doesn't even complain when her father is about to leave her in the woods to die (In fact, she runs off on her own when her dad grows a spine and decides to turn around, so as not to cause her father trouble with her stepmother). She even denies she's cold to Father Frost, even as she's seconds away from succumbing to exposure.
Fairy Tale: A very winter-themed Russian one, and somewhat of a parody of Russian fairytale tropes.
Friend to All Living Things: Nastenka, and then some. When her stepmother gives her an impossible task to complete before sunrise at the beginning, she tries asking the local rooster not to crow until she's finished. The rooster passes the buck and tells her to ask the sun — and she actually manages to convince it not to rise for long enough for her to finish. She also appears to have a conversation with flowers at one point. We don't hear them speak, but Nastenka apparently can understand them.
Laser-Guided Karma: After Father Mushroom grants Ivan a bow and arrow as a gift he tells him he should bow his head in thanks. Ivan refuses, saying "the bear may bow before you, but not Ivan." As punishment Ivan is turned into a half-bear half-man creature. In Mushroom's words "the bear will bow his head, but it's your [Ivan's] back that will bend."
Love at First Sight: Ivan proposes to Nastenka within minutes of meeting her. Nastenka falls for him as well, though she never tells him.
Messy Pig: Not only do we have Baba Yaga's pet pig (which gets turned into a wooden pig sleigh that Ivan has to chase... don't ask), but Marfushka, after trying to get Jack Frost to give her everything Nastenka got near the end, ends up coming home on a dinky little sled pulled by pigs.
Nice Hat: Father Mushroom, with his boletus-like hat.
Papa Bear: Subverted by Nastenka's father for most of the movie - he loves his daughter but he just can't stand up to his nagging wife. Amusingly enough, when he gathers the courage to do so and turns his sleigh back home, Nastenka quickly disembarks the sleigh without him noticing, just to avoid causing her father further trouble at home.
The Power of Love: This, apparently, is the cure for getting frozen by Jack Frost's sceptre.
Pragmatic Villainy: The evil stepmother refuses to cut Nastenka's long braid off, but only because then she won't have anything to grab her stepdaughter by. Which is kind of a lie, since she never grabs Nastenka by the braid (see Even Evil Has Standards).
Punch Clock Villain: Baba Yaga ends up all too often in this role in the film, mostly because she's rather gullible and clumsy.
Nastenka knows that touching the ice scepter means instant death, and has seen this demonstrated. Yet when pursuing the cat across the room, she reaches out and grabs it for no discernible reason.
Marfushka meets up with the Anthropomorphic Personification of freezing to death, and immediately starts talking smack to him, even knocking him on his ass. In this adaptation she got off damn easy, and even a few pigs ahead on the deal.