Russian-born Valentin Vaala (1909-76) was once one of the most prominent Finnish film directors, directing dozens of features starting from the 1920s all the way to the 60s. His best known films include titles like Juurakon Hulda (1937) and Gabriel, tule takaisin (1951), but the light romantic comedy Minäkö isä! from 1954 is also a very enjoyable little gem within its genre.
Like in so many relationship comedies, the humour in Minäkö isä! is based on misunderstandings and a series of white lies that quickly grows more and more difficult to control. Everything begins when two old friends Kati Jorma and Jallu Karvi (Ruth Johansson and Sakari Jurkka) stumble upon each other on a street in Helsinki. They have lunch together but agree to keep their meeting a secret since Kati's husband Vili (Leo Riuttu) is extremely jealous about her. However, Vili finds out about them and furiously leaves the country to work abroad for six months, mistakenly believing she has been unfaithful to him. In an attempt to lure Vili back, Kati, Jallu and his wife Maire (Toini Vartiainen) successfully lead Vili to believe he has become a father, but as soon as one little lie has been told, many more are needed for the scheme to stay convincing...
I had read some negative reviews about Minäkö isä! before watching it, so I wasn't expecting much. Nonetheless, the movie definitely surprised me positively. Sure, everyone is overacting like crazy, the plot is not even remotely believable and the ending is ridiculously easily resolved even considering the genre, but if you loosen up your demands for serious artistry, there is a good deal of entertainment to be found. Among the strong points are the performances from the leads: Leo Riuttu's initially angry but later overjoyed antics are hilarious, as is Jussi-awarded Sakari Jurkka as the increasingly frustrated and always hungry sidekick Jallu whom the women keep sending on various errands time after time. Besides the two leading ladies Johansson and Vartiainen, I also loved Sakari Jurkka's mother Emmi Jurkka in the role of a strict adoption office manager. Pirkko Karppi also deserves a nod for her performance as the emotive housemaid Elli.
The plot doesn't provide major surprises, but there are many highly amusing scenes such as Jallu imitating a cat in heat or everyone trying to portray the adoption office manager as a wet nurse whose milk has gone bad because of her excessive drinking. I laughed out several times which doesn't happen very often considering the number of movies I watch, so in my opinion Minäkö isä! is certainly among the best 1950s Finnish comedies I have seen. Silly entertainment was all I wanted from the movie, and that is exactly what I got!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?