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The Mystery of the Third Planet
Тайна третьей планеты
Tajna tretej planety.jpg
DVD cover (Krupnyy Plan)
Directed by Roman Kachanov
Written by Kir Bulychev (story & screenplay)
Starring Olga Gromova
Vsevolod Larionov
Yuri Volyntsev
Vasily Livanov
Grigory Shpigel
Vladimir Kenigson
Vladimir Druzhnikov
Music by Aleksandr Zatsepin
Editing by Nadezhda Treshcheva
Olga Vasilenko
Distributed by Soyuzmultfilm (USSR)
Jambre Pictures (U.S. 1981-1985), Touchstone Pictures (U.S. re-release, 1985)
Release date(s) January 1, 1981 (1981-01-01) (USSR)
Running time 50 minutes (original version)
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

The Mystery of the Third Planet (Russian: Тайна третьей планеты, Tayna tretyey planety), aka The Secret of the Third Planet is a 1981 Soviet traditionally animated feature film directed by Roman Kachanov and produced by the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow. It is based on a children's science fiction novella "Alice's Travel" by Kir Bulychev, from Alisa (Alice) Selezneva book series.

The movie is considered a cult classic in Russia and was included in various lists of the best animated films and science fiction films. A shortened novelization of the film was written by Bulychev himself; a diafilm and a number of video games were based on The Mystery of the Third Planet; and spiritual successor film Alice's Birthday was released in 2009.

Plot

Captain Zelyonyy, Professor Seleznyov and his daughter Alisa Selezneva set out from Earth aboard the Pegas (Pegasus) starship, seeking out new animal species for the Moscow Zoo. Visiting the Moon as a resting point, Seleznyov meets his friend, Gromozeka the alien archaeologist, who advises him to turn to the Planet of Two Captains, a huge museum dedicated to Captains Kim and Buran who went around the whole universe on their ship, the Blue Seagull, for useful information on where the rare animals live. Doctor Verkhovtsev, the director of the museum, is seen visiting the moon as well; however, he avoids Gromozeka.

On the Planet of two Captains, the heroes meet Verkhovtsev and ask him to show them the Captain's diaries for directions to find rare animals. But the doctor behaves suspiciously: he refuses to show them the diaries and starts spying on the expedition.

Visiting the planet Bluk, the heroes make some valuable purchases, and found out about Chatterbirds — a special kind of birds who could imitate human speech and fly in open space. The heroes found out that they went extinct, and the one responsible for their extinction was no one else that Doctor Verkhovtsev. Later, Alisa and Seleznyov spot the Doctor himself on the planet, but an unknown fat alien encounters them and dismisses their claims. A secretive local person, having heard about the heroes' intentions to find a Chatterbird, tells them that he once saved an injured Chatterbird and refused to give it away to the man suspiciously similar to the Doctor. Since he's too afraid to keep the Chatterbird for now, he gives it to the heroes for free. On the way back to the ship, the heroes are ambushed, but manage to defeat their opponents. The fat alien, named Jolly Man U, appears as well; he gifts a diamond-shelled tortoise to the heroes and attempts to get the Chatterbird, but to no avail.

Soon the bird in question starts talking, and it is found out that it belongs to the captain Kim, who apparently went missing. Having listened to the speech of the Chatterbird, the Pegas crew heads for the Medusa system. On the road, the heroes get a SOS signal from the planet Shelezyaka, a planet that is populated only by robots, who recently started malfunctioning. It is then revealed that the robots once helped the Chatterbird as well, and also that the Doctor visited the planet as well and found out about this. All the malfunctioning happened shortly after the Doctor left off: as a revenge, he put diamond dust into the grease that the robots used.

Exploring the three-planet Medusa system, the heroes pass the inhospitable first planet and find mirage-projecting stones at the second planet, who depict the Blue Seagull — a spaceship of Captains Kim and Buran. On the third planet, however, the heroes experience some adventures with the local flora and fauna, and get some clues that the Blue Seagull can be somewhere there. Later, Alisa finds strange mirror-like flowers. After the heroes transport them to the Pegas, they found out that the flowers had been recording everything that was happening in front of them, and upon being picked up, they started deteriorating and depicting what they recorded in reverse. Watching the flowers, the heroes find out that both Verkhovtsev and Jolly Man U were on the planet, and they were cooperating as space pirates. Pretty soon, the tortoise destroys the flowers, and Zelyonyy finds out that the tortoise actually was a spying device that helped the pirates to track down the heroes. In attempt to fly in a safe place, Pegas falls in a trap. Seleznyov and Zelyonyy are captured by Verkhovtsev and Jolly Man U, while Alisa manages to escape. She then finds out that Captain Buran also landed on the planet — together with Doctor Verkhovtsev, but, apparently, not the same one who trapped her comrades.

The Blue Seagull appears to have been caught in the same trap that Pegas landed in. It is then revealed that Captain Kim was trapped in his spaceship by pirates, who wanted to get his formula of absolute fuel. However, after the pirates took heroes as hostages and threaten to murder them, Kim, not having the strength to hold in anymore, exits the ship, encounters and disarms the pirates on his own. Pretty soon, Buran and the other Doctor Verkhovtsev arrive and help him, and the pirates get clearly outmatched. With two Verkhovtsevs being at the same place now, one of them exposes the other one as Glot the space pirate (who immediately attempts suicide, but is exposed by Jolly Man U just to be feigning death), reveals that Glot posing as him was the one responsible for all the crimes, and confesses that Glot and Jolly Man U's previous interest in the Captains' diaries made him suspect the heroes back at the museum. Buran also points out that the Chatterbird's previous owner, knowing the bird's lines about the Medusa system, was the one who directed him and the real Verkhovtsev there.

After everything is settled down, the heroes make Jolly Man U open the trap and capture him and Glot. With the commotion around Gromozeka suddenly appearing late to the call to save the day, Jolly Man escapes, but is captured by a local bird of prey and carried away to the nest. In the end, the captains and the Doctor take away from the planet, and the main protagonists are returning back to Earth with captured Glot and with the animals they collected.

Creators

English Russian
Director Roman Kachanov Роман Качанов
Writer Kir Bulychev (story & screenplay) Кир Булычёв
Art Director Natalya Orlova Наталья Орлова
Artists Alla Goreva
Dmitry Kulikov
Igor Oleynikov
I. Litovskaya
Irina Svetlitsa
Viktor Chuguyevsky
V. Maksimovich
Geliy Arkadyev
Gennady Morozov
Алла Горева
Дмитрий Куликов
Игорь Олейников
И. Литовская
Ирина Светлица
Виктор Чугуевский
В. Максимович
Гелий Аркадьев
Геннадий Морозов
Animators Marina Voskanyants
Marina Rogova
Vladimir Arbekov
Vladimir Zarubin
Aleksandr Panov
Violetta Kolesnikova
Renata Mirenkova
Vladimir Shevchenko
Antonina Alyoshina
Olga Orlova
Iosif Kuroyan
Yuri Batanin
Марина Восканьянц
Марина Рогова
Владимир Арбеков
Владимир Зарубин
Александр Панов
Виолетта Колесникова
Рената Миренкова
Владимир Шевченко
Антонина Алешина
Ольга Орлова
Иосиф Куроян
Юрий Батанин
Camera Svetlana Koshcheyeva
Teodor Bunimovich
Светлана Кощеева
Теодор Бунимович
Music Aleksandr Zatsepin Александр Зацепин
Editors Nadezhda Treshcheva
Olga Vasilenko
Надежда Трещева
Ольга Василенко
Sound Boris Filchikov Борис Фильчиков
Script Editor Natalya Abramova Наталья Абрамова
Executive Producer Ninel Lipnitskaya Нинель Липницкая
Voice Actors Olga Gromova (Alice)
Vsevolod Larionov (Seleznyov, Chatterbird)
Vasily Livanov (Gromozeka)
Grigory Shpigel (Vesselchuck Oo)
Rina Zelyonaya (Old lady with a cake)
Yuri Andreyev (Navigator Basov)
Pyotr Vishnyakov (Prof. Verhovtsev, Glot)
Vladimir Druzhnikov (Cpt. Kim)
Nikolai Grabbe (Cpt. Buran)
Vladimir Kenigson (Robot waiter, robot from planet Shelezyaka)
Yuri Volyntsev (Cpt. Green)
Yelena Krasnobayeva (Shop keeper snail)
Roman Kachanov, Jr (Ushan on the Street)
Ольга Громова (Алиса)
Всеволод Ларионов (Селезнёв, Говорун)
Василий Ливанов (Громозека)
Григорий Шпигель (Весельчак У)
Рина Зеленая (старушка с тортиком)
Юрий Андреев (штурман Басов)
Пётр Вишняков (доктор Верховцев, Глот)
Владимир Дружников (капитан Ким)
Николай Граббе (капитан Буран)
Владимир Кенигсон (робот-официант, робот с планеты Шелезяка)
Юрий Волынцев (капитан Зелёный)
Елена Краснобаева (улитка-продавщица)
Роман Качанов-мл. (Ушан на улице)

International broadcast

Country Company Air Date in cinema Title Dubbing
 Finland YLE
Nelonen
6 November 1982 Kolmannen planeetan arvoitus Finnish
 United States Touchstone Pictures 23 May 1987 (first version)
4 December 1998 (second version)
Alice and the mystery of the third planet (American version) English
 Estonia Tallinnfilm
Kanal 2
3 July 1987 (cinema)
5 March 2007 (Festival)
Kolmanda planeedi saladus Estonian
 Sweden TV3 Mysteriet med två kaptener Swedish
 Spain Telecinco
Clan TVE
1998 (Films by Jove version)
2016 (dubbing version)
El misterio del tercer planeta Spanish
 Lithuania TV3 Lithuania Trečiojo planetos paslaptis Lithuanian (voice-over)
 Italy
 San Marino
Rai 3 Alice e il mistero del terzo pianeta Italian
 Latvia TV3 Latvia Alice: Sāciet piedzīvojumu Latvian (voice-over)
 Bulgaria Мистерията на третата планета Bulgarian (dubbing version with subtitles)
 Poland Polsat 4 July 2001 Tajemnica Trzeciej Planety Polish
 China CCTV-6, CCTV-14 第三顆行星的奧秘 Chinese (Mandarin)
 France France 5, Canal J, WE Productions, M6 Vidéo 1982 (first version)
1995 (second version)
Le Mystère de la Troisième Planète French
 Czech Republic
 Slovakia
Barrandov (dubbing production)
Markíza
2016 Tajemství třetí planety
Tajomstvo tretej planéty
Czech
Slovak
 Australia Nine Network 2016 The Mystery of The Third Planet English
 Netherlands NCRV 17 November 2004 Mysterie van de Derde Planeet Subtitled
 Belgium RTBF 2016 Le Mystère de la Troisième Planète French
 South Korea KBS 1 August 2005 3 번째 행성의 신비 Korean
 Hungary RTL Klub, A+ 31 October 2005 Misztériumát a harmadik bolygó. Hungarian
 Romania TVR2 1 January 2006 Misterul din a treia planetă Romanian
 Germany
 Austria
DEFA, RTL II (Germany)
ORF (Austria)
Das Geheimnis des Dritten Planeten German
 Ukraine K1 2017 Таємниця третьої планети Ukrainian (voice-over)
 India Kushi TV (Telugu)
Disney Channel (Tamil, Hindi)
Kochu TV (Malayalam)
Chintu TV (Kannada)
Sony Yay (English, Hindi)
Star Jalsha (Bengali)
तीसरे ग्रह का रहस्य
The Mystery of the Third Planet
Hindi
Tamil
Telugu
English
Malayalam
Kannada
Bengali
 Indonesia Indosiar 1 January 2008 Gadis dari Bumi Indonesian
 Israel Arutz HaYeladim 8 July 2008 המסתורין של כוכב לכת השלישי Hebrew
Original (only Russian-speaking Jews in Israel)
 Macedonia
 Croatia
 Serbia
 Slovenia
MKRTV
HRT
Happy TV
POP TV
25 May 2008 Тајната на Сончевиот систем Медуза
Misterija trećeg planeta
Tajna treće planete
Skrivnost tretjega Planeta
Macedonian
Croatian
Serbian
Slovenian
 Turkey Kanal D, Show TV Üçüncü Gezegen Gizem Turkish
 Portugal RTP 2016 Mistério do Terceiro Planeta Portuguese
 Japan Nippon Animation (first version)
Toei Animation (second version)
1985 (video premiere)
2016
第三惑星の秘密 Japanese
Middle East MBC 3, Spacetoon 20 May 2010 (except Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Syria) سر الكوكب الثالث Arabic
 Brazil SBT O Mistério do Planeta Terceiro Portuguese (Brazilian)
Latin America Televisa (MEX)
Empresa Hispanoamericana de Video, Telefe (Argentina)
Canal 13 (Chile)
Caracol Television (Colombia)
Frecuencia Latina (Peru)
Venevisión (Venezuela)
TV Total (Uruguay)
4 November 1997 (Argentina, Films by Jove)
2016 (Latin America)
El misterio del tercer planeta Spanish

Home video and English adaptations

The film was adapted twice for the US market. It was first brought over as a video release in 1987, with dubbed voices. The second time, it was released in the 1990s as part of Mikhail Baryshnikov's "Stories from My Childhood" series. This series consisted of films that were bought by California-based company Films by Jove from Soyuzmultfilm for the international market. Over $1.5 million was spent by this company restoring the prints, adding new music and redubbing the films with American actors. This version of the film was named Alice and the Mystery of the Third Planet and has been released on VHS as well as on a 1999 DVD collection with several other films [1]. The film has been released on DVD several times (the latest release, which featured rather misleading cover art, was in October 2005 [2]). The original Russian version with English subtitles is here: [3]

The Films by Jove version of the film has been criticized by some of those who saw the original for adding many extra dialogue lines, shortening the film, and replacing the unique synthesizer music by Alexander Zatsepin.

The original film has been released on several DVD editions in Russia, including a newly restored one by Krupnyy Plan.

Awards

  • 1982 — USSR State Prize

Games

  • In 2005 an arcade platform game was made by the company Akella based on the film, called "Alice's Space Adventure".
  • An adventure game was released in the same year called "Alice's Journey", also produced by Akella (but developed by "Step Creative Group").

Shootings

This was the fourth film using traditional drawn animation directed by Roman Kachanov, who served as the art director and/or animator on over 30 animated movies. Kachanov's best-known works, (The Mitten, Gena the Crocodile, Cheburashka, Shapoklyak and others) were shot in stop motion (volume) animation.

The characters were designed by Natalya Orlova. Her daughter, the actress Ekaterina Semyonova, said that Alice was based on her, and her father, (the director Tengiz Semyonov), was the prototype for Captain Zelyonyy.

Music for the movie was written by Aleksandr Zatsepin. According to Zatsepin, original records of music in his record library didn't remain.

The production of this picture took four years.

Hire abroad

The animated film was twice released in the USA. The first dubbing, ("Mystery of the Third Planet"), came out on video in 1987. Alice's name was changed to Christine, and overall the translation had little in common with the original. Consequently, this legally-sourced version is often mistaken for a bootlegged edition.

The second version, ("Alice and the Mystery of the Third Planet"), was released in the 1990s by the Films by Jove company. In this version, the translation is much closer to the original, though a large amount of dialogue which was not in the original was also added. In this version, the soundtrack was replaced and about 6 minutes were cut out. Kirsten Dunst was the voice of Alice, and Jim Belushi — the Chatterer.

"Alice and the Mystery of the Third Planet" was released in English, Spanish, French and other languages.

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