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Vella kalpi (1970)

Three young men are fighting to prevent surrender of Riga city to enemies.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lolita Cauka Lolita Cauka ... Ruta
Haralds Ritenbergs ... Andris
Eduards Pavuls ... Ermanis
Olga Drege Olga Drege ... Anna
Elza Radzina ... Getrude
Igrida Andrina Igrida Andrina ... Cecilija (as Ingrid Andrina)
Baiba Indriksone ... Lene
Karlis Sebris Karlis Sebris ... Samsons
Edgars Zile Edgars Zile ... Salderns
Evalds Valters Evalds Valters ... Mayor Eks
Janis Grantins ... Daniels Rebuss
Janis Osis Janis Osis ... Manteifels
Haralds Topsis Haralds Topsis ... Klavs Angers
Valentins Skulme ... General Svenson
Zigrida Stungure Zigrida Stungure ... Elizabete


It's the midst of 30-year war, when Riga, then free-town, is fighting back both Swedish and Polish armies. City Council is thorn in doubt, as two main spiritual leaders - Head of Catholic monastery of Maria Magladena and head of Lutheran Protestant Church fight for power and influence. Regional aristocracy has their interest in Riga, too. Despite of treachery and indecision inside City Council, three of Rigas' defendants, young, brave and fierce, deliver one surprise blow after other to attackers, fall in love and happily escape sure death, despite all odds. Written by rower

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Comedy




Soviet Union



Release Date:

1970 (Latvia) See more »

Also Known As:

Devil's servants See more »

Filming Locations:

Kaliningrad, Russia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rigas Kinostudija See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Followed by Vella kalpi vella dzirnavas (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

You had to be there
24 May 2006 | by Andrejs MakwitzSee all my reviews

This is my first memory of a Latvian film. I recently saw it again. Unfortunately, it has not aged well. The cinematography is average at best, the sound is tinny, the story over-blown, and the acting hammy. About the only part of it that doesn't seem to have aged is Raymonds Pauls soundtrack. Then again, if you aren't a big fan of Pauls that isn't much to crow about either. Despite all of that, I still loved it and always will. You have to take this film in its context. You have to see it through the eyes of an 8 year old, sitting in a darkened theater eyes glued to the screen. An eight year old who was growing up in a confusing world not of his own making. Trying to make sense of a contradictory existence that adults only whispered about. I was a Latvian and I lived in Latvia, but I lived in Soviet Latvia. Up to this point my mythology only contained Soviet heroes. They might have spoken Latvian. They might have been Latvian, but at the core they were Soviets. This was the first time I had ever seen Latvian heroes and I couldn't tear my eyes from the screen. Basically, Vella Kalpi, is a swashbuckler. The film itself is based on the stories of Rutku Tevs, but anyone familiar with the many variants of the "Three Musketeers" will recognize the plot. It's about three young men who, motivated by both circumstance and national pride, rise up to protect Riga from a foreign invasion. They do this with strength and cunning, exhibiting all of the traits that we consider to be Latvian: Hard work, loyalty, and a sense of humor. I am sure that the film was supposed to reinforce the Soviet ideals of being vigilant to bourgeoisie ideals, our heroes are strapping farm lads with simple tastes and simple needs, and all of the villains were either nobility or foreigners, but all I could see was Latvian heroes doing great deeds with a great bit of panache. This is who I wanted to be when I grew up. It was my first exposure to Latvian role models outside of my own family. You might think it hyperbole, but you have to understand the total control that the Soviets had over all media. The goal of Soviet media was to produce good Soviets and not good Latvians. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that this movie managed to bypass of all of that and while on the surface seems to reinforce Soviet mythology, at its heart it is about Latvian identity and Latvian ideals.

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