Prinsessa Armada is a ship with a musical crew traveling on lake Saimaa and elsewhere too in the early 20th century. When the ship maid quits her job after becoming too proud to work upon winning a beauty contest, the crew decides to hire a new maid, as ugly as possible. They come across a rebellious runaway Romani girl Veera (Assi Nortia) after she has just fallen into a mud puddle, promptly hire her and begin a journey to St. Petersburg. Veera turns out to be not ugly at all after she's cleaned herself, but the crew doesn't mind and neither do the three stowaways the ship gets in St. Petersburg: a noblewoman fleeing an arranged marriage (Elsa Turakainen), a Finnish officer chased by the Tsar's army (Rolf Labbart) and an escapee from a Siberian prison camp (Eino Kaipainen).
The movie is notable for featuring the first appearance of the popular vocal group Kipparikvartetti who provided the singing voices for the ship's crew even though Olavi Virta was the only one of them to actually appear in the film. Music in general is the carrying theme of the film and not many minutes go by without there being a song or dance of some kind. Luckily all of the songs are very good and the lack of a good plot is never allowed to become too obvious. The ship's jolly crew and the supporting characters are funny too; especially Elsa Turakainen steals the show as the romance-hungry Russian noblewoman.
Even though some aspects of the story are heavily dated (the portrayal of the Romani people as ruthless thieves with a genuine fear of honest work is anything but politically correct these days) and the ending is pretty silly even for a musical comedy, the cheery mood of Kaunis Veera helps to make it a delightful experience. Friends of old musicals will definitely enjoy it and since the Saimaa lake scenery looks very nice too, there's no reason to miss this one out if you have any interest in old songs and mainstream entertainment of the 1950s.
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