Ville Salminen's directorial career spanned from the early 1940s to the late 70s and included many cheerful comedies like Kaunis Veera (1950), Oho, sanoi Eemeli (1960) and Kaks' tavallista Lahtista (1960) as well as some more serious efforts such as Haaviston Leeni (1948) and Irmeli seitsentoistavuotias (1948). Particularly Kaunis Veera has its place among the most entertaining Finnish musical comedies ever and the re-imagining of a fairytale Lumikki ja 7 jätkää from 1953 is not terrible either, even if not as funny as some other old musicals.
As already mentioned, the plot is a modern take on the old fairytale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The eponymous Snow White is actually a student named Liisa (Raili Mäki) who arrives in the countryside with her friends on a summery day. There are seven lumberjacks working nearby and the girls quickly notice them, especially the handsome Erkki (Heikki Heino) whom they promptly name "the white Tarzan of the North". After Liisa gets lost in the woods and stumbles upon the lumberjacks' house, the gruff men persuade her to become their much-needed hostess. She agrees, noting that together the guys resemble the characters of the famous fairytale: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey.
The plot itself does not get much out of the old premise; the comedy is mostly based on making faces, pratfalls and exaggerating the characteristics of each dwarf. The movie would not be worth much if it was not for the songs, of which there about 13 or so (quite a few for a 70 minute film). Even though the dancing is anything but skilled, the brisk ditties about lumberjack life and the beauty of romantic love quickly win the viewer over despite the atrociously bad lip-syncing (the songs were actually performed by the vocal group Souvaripojat) and heavy overacting by the "dwarves" and Raili Mäki, as beautiful as she is. My favourite tunes were probably the song where the "dwarves" introduce their new nicknames and the gentle melody they sing when they have finished cleaning up the sauna for Liisa, but none of the other songs are bad either.
I know this type of movies are not really meant to be watched for the plot or some kind of deep underlying message but the noisy comedy style of Lumikki ja 7 jätkää starts getting a little tiresome before the end (a prime example would be the constant loud sneezing by Pentti Irjala). This is why I am not giving the movie more stars for now; however, I stress that the songs are lovely and numerous. Had I not seen so many truly wonderful foreign musical gems, I would have liked this one more for sure.
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