The 1968 animated Rusalochka is highly stylized animated short feature that's very much like a pop-up storybook come to life. It's dream-like, poetic, and intense in its treatment of the Hans Christian Andersen story, with the characters making dramatic proclamations and the artwork using all sorts of symbolism to share the emotions of the tale. The highly colourful and artistic style adds to the drama of little mermaid's story, so there's really no surprise that this adaptation retains the mentions of the pain the little mermaid must endure with every step, among others.
There's some changes to the story, among them the sea witch's mention that little mermaid's ancestor once had the same problem she does and took the same deal for legs, and the little mermaid's sisters sacrifice their material positions as well as their hair.
But the more interesting changes are towards the end of the feature. Instead of the little mermaid's sisters giving her a knife, they give her a storm spell to cast that would sink the prince's wedding ship. (A knife was too graphic, maybe?) Another little push of the story's metaphorical knife is, after the little mermaid turns to sea foam, is the prince's hearing her song and... misattributing it again. Yet it's fitting for this version!
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