Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Movie Review: The Village Shoemakers (a.k.a. Heath Cobblers) (Nummisuutarit)

The Village Shoemakers (a.k.a. Heath Cobblers) (Nummisuutarit)
Director: Valentin Vaala
Starring: Martti Kuningas, Lauri Leino, Alice Lyly, Ernest Ervasti, Jalmari Rinne, Heidi Krohn, Helge Herala
Suomi-Filmi. Finland, 1957
Finnish author Aleksis Kivi was the first one to write the first significant novel in the Finnish language, Seven Brothers in 1870. Sadly he died couple of years later in poverty and the importance of his writings was understood only later. The Village Shoemakers is based on his play Heath Cobblers written in 1864 and is regarded as one of the most popular plays in Finland. 
According to testament an inheritance of 500 dalers goes to either Esko or his foster sister Jaana whoever marries first. Esko is quite dumb and stubborn. Esko's cobbler father has agreed on marriage between Esko and Kreeta. However Esko doesn't know that Kreeta's father only joked when drinking with Esko's father and Kreeta is really marrying clogmaker Jaakko who is Esko's enemy. Esko and his friend Mikko Vilkastus go to wooing trip. They arrive when Kreeta and Jaakko are getting married. Esko gets into strife with fiddler Teemu and they wrestle. Esko gets angry and breaks some stuff.
Esko and Mikko crash the wedding
In the meantime Jaana's father Niko has returned from the seas. There is also a wanted thief with bounty of 700 dalers. Niko gets an idea to disguise as the thief to get a free trip home. Esko's brother Iivari and uncle Sakeri who have been boozing capture Niko. Sly Mikko tricks all Esko's money away. Mikko gets Esko drunk for the first time in his life. Mikko runs away. Esko loses his hat and other shoe. He knocks out tailor Antres and thinks he is dead. Antres revives and Esko returns home with Iivari and Sakeri. At home Esko gets scolded. Blacksmith Kristo and Jaana marry and Niko is revealed to be Jaana's father. Jaana gives half of the inheritance money to Esko's parents.
Esko is drunk, Antres is getting worried
Movie is funny with over the top acting and old dialogue. Martti Kuningas plays well energetic
simpleton Esko and Helge Herala plays well the sly Mikko. There are also couple silly songs sung by
Esko. Heath Cobblers was filmed before two times, once as silent movie version. This was also one of
the first Finnish colour films.
Kristo, Jaana and Niko
Rating: Very good

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