In 1954 the popular but critically unappreciated series about the adventures of Pekka Puupää and his short friend Pätkä had come to its third part and actually surprises me positively even though at this point it is the only P&P movie I have seen. The director was, of course, Armand Lohikoski and the titular duo were played by Esa Pakarinen and Masa Niemi with Siiri Angerkoski in her most iconic role as Justiina, Pekka's intimidating wife.
This time the famous trio decides to take a train to Lapland after Pätkä sees an advert promising a million marks to whoever captures the Yeti that is rumoured to live in the snowy fells of the North. Planning to use the female charms of Justiina as a bait, Pekka and Pätkä also get unknowingly involved in a love rectangle between two would-be couples: their new train friends Timo Vaski and Katriina Sirkkunen (Olavi Virta and Anneli Sauli) and their skiing guides Irmeli Laavu and Riku Sundman (Tuija Halonen and Åke Lindman).
I am sure it will not come as a surprise to anyone that the plot is not exactly a world-class masterpiece of storytelling but provides many amusing moments along the way. Pätkä's Batman-style climb to Pekka's apartment window, the beautiful snowy scenery in the Lapland skiing scenes and the ridiculously hairy appearance of the lovable Yeti itself (played by Vihtori Välimäki) all work as visual treats but I liked the verbal humour too (such as Pekka's little math joke and Justiina's machine gun dialogue throughout), thanks to Pakarinen and Niemi's irresistible charm as the stars. It is really difficult to imagine anyone else playing these roles, let alone not having Siiri Angerkoski as the motivation for so many of the men's antics. The tale is also tied to its own time by references to things like the Kinsey questionnaire and the legendary radio show host Niilo Tarvajärvi ("Karvajärvi" in this case) – that is not a bad thing at all as I have always liked seeing this type of windows to old times.
I don't know how Lumimiehen jäljillä compares to the other movies in the series but it got me interested in seeing more of them. A notable criticism would be that perhaps the Yeti hunting scenes go on a little too long and that there is a sense of underachievement floating around the movie; I mean, it leaves one wondering what the writers could have achieved if they had really spent time on planning the jokes and plot instead of churning out new movies every year. The comedy hangs heavily on the shoulders of the lead actors but they carry it with ease and the supporting actors do a decent job too (especially Anneli Sauli who is always nice to look at in anything). The songs and general mood of silliness have their own appeal in any case, so ultimately I did enjoy the film for what it's worth.
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