Herr Teuvo Puro is considered in his native Finland as their most remarkable silent film pioneer; he was one of the founders of two important Finnish production film companies, "Suomi-Filmi" ( Finland's oldest film company ) und "Komedia-Filmi"; Herr Puro's relatively short career began in 1907 when he directed the first Finnish silent feature, "Salaviinanpolttajat," unfortunately a lost film. Herr Puro also directed "Sylvi" (1913) of which 13 minutes are still extant, making it the oldest surviving Finnish film. In 1920, Puro directed "Ollin Oppivuodet" which was the first feature film to be produced after Finland become an independent country in 1917; so, as you can see, Herr Puro's film career set many milestones.
"Ollin Oppivuodet" ( Olli's Apprenticeship ) was based on Frau Anni Swan's eponymous and popular children's novel and its premiere was a huge and remarkable event attended by the Finnish president and many members of government ( However, no aristocrats were in attendance)
The film depicts the story of Kinder Olli, a rascal who runs away from home fearing a terrible spanking from his father due to his continual bad behaviour. Ollin's cousin, Herr Kaarle, owner of the deteriorated Harmaala Manor, later finds the child wandering alone and decides to take him in, encouraged by Herr Kaarle's aunt, Frau Matleena. However they are motivated by greed not compassion as they pretend that the boy has drowned, making Herr Karrle the only heir to the Koivumäki Manor, which primarily belongs to Olli. The two conspirators disguise Olli as a girl and spirit him away to Sweden where he is apprenticed to the shoemaker Herr Simolin.
"Ollin Oppivuodet" can be described ( although this Herr Graf hasn't read the original Frau Swan novel since it was written in Finnish ) as a film with Dickensian overtones and atmosphere, playing like a classical newspaper serial story that includes the usual elements meant to touch and move the audience: poor little rich boys, poverty, misfortunes, orphan girls, a number of scoundrels but with everything turning OK in the end.
The contrast of riches and poverty is very well done and the social conditions are depicted in a realistic manner. Olli has many mishaps, including a disastrous attempt to become a sailor with his friend Ränni-Pelle and later ending up in an institution, accused of robbery. Every episode is perfectly performed by the two young actors, as naïf as their characters. In spite of difficulties and misfortunes, a message of hope prevails.
The film does suffer from a lack of rhythm and continuity but the classical literary inspiration and the period atmosphere make up for that and the film avoids excessive sentimentality and tear jerking.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must continue with his apprenticeship to a bon vivant.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?