Based on the Finnish national epic “Kalevala,” director Aleksandr Ptushko’s ravishing, mystical fantasy tells the story of a sinister witch Louhi (Anna Orochko) who covets the Sampo, a magical, rainbow-colored mill that can produce endless salt, grain, and gold. When the hero Lemminkäinen (Andris Oshin) attempts to stop her, Louhi steals the sun, plunging the world into eternal darkness. A Finnish/Soviet co-production and shot like its predecessor ILYA MUROMETS in gorgeous CinemaScope, SAMPO features some of Ptushko’s most surreal and fantastical imagery: a glowing red horse plowing a field of vipers; a boat of fire with a stag’s head; a weeping mother literally walking across the sea to find her lost son. With its witch’s incantations and repeated scenes of forging magical items – “Give me fire for the furnace from the nave of the sky!” – there is a Macbeth-like occult force to the film as well, underscored by the raging blue-gray seas and rock-strewn landscapes.
directed by: Aleksandr Ptushko
starring: Urho Somersalmi, Anna Orochko, Ivan Voronov, Andris Osins, Ada Voytsik
1959 / 90 min / 2.35:1 / Finnish 5.1 DTS-HD MA
- Region A Blu-ray
- Audio commentary track by Steve Bissette
- Russian Fantastika Part Two by Alan Upchurch
- English subtitles