Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Ylioppilas Pöllövaaran kihlaus / [The Betrothal of Student Pöllövaara]

Making Ylioppilas Pöllövaaran kihlaus in Teisko. Erkki Karu is to the very left.
Studeranden Pöllövaaras förlovning. FI 1920. PC: Suomen Biografi Osakeyhtiö. P+D+SC+AD+ED: Erkki Karu. DP+ED: Frans Ekebom. AD: Martti Tuukka. C: Väinö Lehmus (Student Pöllövaara). Not credited: Elli Karu, Martti Tuukka. Probably also in the cast, not credited: Erkki Karu. Helsinki premiere: 16 Feb 1920, Kino-Palatsi - released by Suomen Biografi Oy - classification: 10592 - rated S - original length information 300 m [unreliable] - current reconstructed 2008 print: 288 m /20 fps/ 13 min
    This short comedy was released preceding the feature film Those Who Pay / Ennustus (D: Raymond B. West, P: Thomas H. Ince, US 1917).
    At Kino-Palatsi the music was performed by an orchestra conducted by L. Roos.
    The 2008 SEA / KAVA / KAVI reconstruction, Finnish / Swedish intertitles, viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Erkki Karu retrospective), Joonas Raninen at the piano, 5 Feb 2014.

The humble beginnings as a film director of Erkki Karu, the pioneer of the film production of independent Finland. For generations believed lost as an intelligible piece of film work, Ylioppilas Pöllövaaran kihlaus has actually survived in its entirety, and thanks to Ilkka Kippola and other experts it has been reconstructed and provided with intertitles.

A sappy and crude farce in which the student Pöllövaara is over-eagerly rushing to a betrothal in an outdoors restaurant. He hastens to make the betrothal announcement before the oath of love has been given. Meanwhile, the bride is embracing the maître d', and the frantic student, witnessing this, rushes to tie a heavy rock around his neck, to jump to his death in the lake. But the bride makes it just in time, and there is an embrace of reconciliation.

The cinematography was praised in the contemporary reviews but in this print the image has low contrast.

Relevant only as the starting point of a remarkable career in film production.

The actors overact. In a few years the performers in Erkki Karu films learned to act naturally.

It is also interesting to notice the obsession with the cancelled or botched betrothal or wedding in the early films of Erkki Karu: in Ylioppilas Pöllövaaran kihlaus, in Kihlaus / The Betrothal, and in Nummisuutarit / The Village Shoemakers. Of course, it is a favourite theme in comedy. In all, the male is the buffoon, and the female is the straight one.

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