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Kulkurin valssi (1941)
Tauno Palo and Ansa Ikonen, what else do you need?
This is probably the most popular Finnish film ever made right after Tuntematon Sotilas (1955). Starring Tauno Palo and Ansa Ikonen, this film like Rosvo-Roope (1949) was based on popular song.
It all begins in St. Petersburg in around 1830 where an arrogant Finnish baron is playing cards with a Russian officer. Needless to say, the Finn wins and the Russian gets extremely annoyed. The situation is not helped by the fact that the baron has been seeing a girl that the Russian officer has also set his eyes. They decide to have a duel and after the Finn wins fair and square (although the Russian fired his gun before the sign), he has to escape because the untrustworthy Russians are after him. So, that's when the film really starts -
Arnold, the baron runs off to the only place he calls home; Finland. (Where people are honourable and good and kind and women beautiful etc. you just have to love the film - it so accurately portrays the feelings of the people of the time the film was made!)Anyway, when in Finland, he has to pretend he's not the rich baron with a manor house and everything, but just a poor and honest vagabond. He joins the circus (d'oh), meets gypsies (seduces a beautiful gypsy girl Regina Linnanheimo) and finally ends up meeting Helena (a lovely lady from a big manor house - Ansa Ikonen), who decides to do a bit of charity for the poor man and hires him as a page boy. He sings, he dances, he wins her over, but he's only a poor boy so Helena is going to marry a Swedish-born aristocrat, Erik, because despite the fact that they live in a nice big manor house, they don't really have that much money.
Arnold does not like this, he, being very modern in his thinking, feels that is wrong to marry for money -- (That's kind of hypocrite coming from him don't you think, I mean, we all know he has money somewhere, it's just that because how things are at the moment, he doesn't really have them at his disposal! :)
Well, I won't spoil the ending, but let's just say that this film stars Ansa Ikonen and Tauno Palo so that might give you a bit of clue.
All in all, great entertainment, and well, an old Finnish film doesn't get much more romantic than this, Katariina ja Munkkiniemen kreivi (1943) coming as a close second! Despite all the sarcastic comments I have made above, I still regard this as being one of the best films ever made in Finland. It's great, it's timeless, it's romantic and it has Tauno Palo!
Rosvo Roope (1949)
long before the 'Cutthroat Island' (1995) there was this..
Rosvo-Roope is not the best film ever made, it's not even the best Finnish film ever made, but it's probably the only successful pirate film ever made in Finland, or should I say only pirate film ever made in Finland because yeah, Renny Harlin made a flop called the Cutthroat Island but it was really an American film made by a Finnish person.. On the whole, this film actually drew audiences like mad when it was released in the 40s.
The film is based on a popular tune, so if you've ever heard the Finnish ballad called 'Rosvo-Roope' then you basically know the plot. A guy called Robert arrives too late to find that his girlfriend Helena has already married a rich and evil baron, because her dad owes him some money.. well, different events occur, Robert sings a song, hits the baron and then Robert and Helena run off together.. (does this sound oddly familiar??? Those who have seen another Finnish classic, Kulkurin Valssi (1941), will recognize few similarities :) But yeah, Robert's and Helena's happiness is short lived - the baron's men find them living in the woods, they take Helena and beat Robert. And thus, because he feels he has been betrayed by a woman, he becomes the person of the title - Rosvo Roope, a pirate.
Like the song goes, the story takes us to St. Petersburg (where the women are still shaking their heads), Tallinn (where an unfortunate Estonian girl burns her heart) to the Åland Islands (where a girl from Åland sows a button back to his shirt and something else as well) and finally back to Finland where the story ends..
It's good entertainment with Tauno Palo (THE Finnish leading man) a collection of lovely ladies and oh yes, pirates. I know it may take a while to get over the fact that there were pirates in the Baltic Sea (must have been a summer hobby - it's a bit icy over here during winter :) but all in all, good entertainment as I mentioned, and I'm sure generations to come will find Tauno Palo as attractive and hunky as those 40s audiences. Watch it. It's even been released on DVD in Finland. Talk about progress.