Winnie-the-Pooh (Russian: Винни-Пух) is a Soviet series of animated shorts by Fyodor Khitruk based on A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books. This series is universally beloved and cited throughout all of the former Soviet Union, and is the definitive version of Winnie there.
The biggest differences with Disney's version is that the Soviet Winnie is not The Ditz, nor is he cutesy. He's kinda on a rough side, has a raspy voice, orders Piglet around and has a poetic and cunning side to him. Also, while Christopher Robin is present in Boris Zakhoder's adaptation in the book, his role in the shorts is assumed by other characters.
All three shorts are available with English subtitles:
- Winnie-the-Pooh, 1969
- Winnie-the-Pooh Goes Visiting, 1971
- Winnie-the-Pooh and the Day of Concerns, 1972
Series provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation:
- Khitruk made quite a big change to the original material. First, he based it on Boris Zakhoder's translation which itself was more like re-telling of the original (which still worked) and Zakhoder was directly working with him on the script. There were other changes that even Zakhoder felt were too much though, like the removal of Christopher Robin.
- Eventually major Creative Differences made Zakhoder leave the series, and it ended after just three shorts, while they were supposed to do more.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Winnie's not stupid, per se, but he is pretty eccentric when compared to the likes of Piglet and Rabbit. It takes a special combination of imagination and insanity to try to disguise yourself from bees using only some mud and a blue balloon.
- The Eeyore: Eeyore is as depressed as he always is.
- Floating Limbs: Winnie's feet are not directly attached to his body.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Winnie. Yes, Winnie acts quite jerk-ish in these shorts (towards Piglet and Rabbit). On the other hand, he still rushes to give Eeyore the present on his birthday.
- No Indoor Voice: Winnie spends most of the scenes where he is traveling from place to place straddling the line between singing and screaming.
- The Owl-Knowing One: Just like in the original work, this trope is basically subverted. But instead of being Know-Nothing Know-It-All student parody, Owl in this cartoon is a Cloudcuckoolander lady.
- She's a Man in Japan: Owl is an old lady here instead of a male character in the original. It's because the Russian word for "owl" is intrinsically feminine, so using male pronouns could sound grammatically unusual.
- Stage WhisperPiglet: Why do you need a balloon?Winnie: (motions for him to move closer for absolutely no reason, then whispers in a fierce voice) Honey.Piglet: What?Winnie: (immediately switches back to normal voice) Honey!
- The Philosopher: Winnie."And why do bees exist? To make honey, I guess. And why does honey exist? For me to eat it — I think so."
- Spectacular Scenery: The shorts backgrounds are drawn in crayon.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Like in Zakhoder's translation of the book, Winnie assures the bees that he is a cloud and "not a bear at all".
- You Don't Look Like You: Except for Eeyore, most of the characters look radically different from the Shepard/Disney versions. Owl unintentionally looks like the Disney version, only more feminine.