Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Myrskyluodon kalastaja / [The Fisherman of Storm Cliff]

Wilho Ilmari, Irja Lindström.
Myrskyluodon kalastaja / Fiskaren på Stormskär / The Price They Pay [the US release title in the Finnish regions of the US]. FI 1924. PC: Suomi-Filmi Oy. P+D+ED: Erkki Karu.  SC: Erkki Karu - intertitles: Erkki Kivijärvi. DP: Kurt Jäger - second camera: Frans Ekebom - ass.: Armas Fredman, Kullervo Kari, Arvo Tamminen. AD: Carl Fager - ass.: Martti Tuukka. Production secretary: Aili Kari. Studio manager: Carl Fager. Photographs: Kalle Havas, Kosti Lehtinen. Studion emäntä: Eva Luttinen. C: Wilho Ilmari (Eerik Storm, fisherman), Irja Lindström, Kirsti Boman, Axel Slangus (smuggler boss Jysky), Wilhelmiina Tuukkanen (Maria Storm, Eerik's mother), Emil Lindh (Yrjö Boman, senior pilot), Agnes Lindh (Loviisa-muori, Yrjö's wife), Alarik Korhonen (merchant Herman Strutberg), Uuno Aarto, Sven Relander, Armas Fredman, Berndt Lindahl (Jysky's boatmen), Alfred Roini (Patruuna / Boss Alfred Ström), Yrjö Somersalmi (Toivo Ström, the boss's son, tullipäällysmies / a senior customs officer), Kosti Hypén, A. Virtanen (customs officers), Annie Mörk (a worker's wife), Yrjö Tuominen (patruunan pelitoveri / the boss's card game partner), Mr. Halla (maitotonkan tuoja / the milkman), Kullervo Kari (man at the lab), Margaretha Schulman, Inga Stenbäck (girls wearing national costumes at the betrothal and at the quay). Helsinki premiere: 26 Oct 1924 Kaleva, Kino-Palatsi, released by Suomi-Filmi - classification 12848 - S - five reels - 1800 m / 79 min
    The surviving fragment /20 fps/ 12 min viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Erkki Karu), ♪ piano Joonas Raninen, 19 Feb 2014

The surviving fragment is from somewhere around reel 2 of 5. The smugglers receive cargo from a bootleg liquor ship to their boat. Eerik's task is to pilot the motorboat through the archipelago to a safe bay. The smugglers are tailed by a patrol boat of the customs office. They manage to shake it off, unload the cargo and disguise as a hunting party before the customs task force find them, inspect the boat and must leave empty-handed.

A foundation film of a tradition of Finnish smuggling films, followed by VMV 6 (1936, Risto Orko), and Varsovan laulu / [The Song of Warsaw] (1953, Matti Kassila).

Finland had Prohibition in 1919-1932 (starting and ending one year earlier than in the US), and crime was rampant during our own Roaring Twenties. Myrskyluodon kalastaja - what remains of it - is a valuable fictional record of that, and as it was shot on location, it cannot help having even some documentary value. It is also an early Finnish action film, crime film, and gangster film. Sadly, it's mostly lost, but this fragment gives a sense of it.

The film debut of Wilho Ilmari (1888-1983), a great man of the Finnish theatre, a Kivi and Shakespeare specialist.

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