Film / The Day the Earth Froze

Finnish hero Lemminkäinen woos the fair damsel Annikki, but an evil witch named Louhi kidnaps Annikki in order to compel her brother Ilmarinen the blacksmith to build a Sampo (a magical mill that cranks out riches). Lemminkäinen and Ilmarinen travel to the witch's lair to rescue the maiden, but Louhi demands them to complete several tasks, including the construction of a Sampo. After Ilmarinen builds the Sampo, he and Annikki leave Lemminkäinen behind while he tries and fails to get the Sampo from Louhi and destroys it. When Lemminkäinen returns home, he and Annikki get married; the mood is offset, however, when news of the Sampo's destruction arrives.

Lemminkäinen's attempt to steal the Sampo has angered Louhi, so she steals the sun, plunging the world into frozen darkness. Lemminkäinen's village bands together to bombard the witch with the music of sacred harps, which turns her to stone. Lemminkäinen releases the sun and everyone rejoices!

Loosely based on The Kalevala. The film was originally called Sampo and it was released in 1959. The film was produced as a Finnish/Soviet co-production and it was directed by famous Russian director of fantasy films, Aleksandr Ptushko (of The Magic Voyage of Sinbad and The Sword and the Dragon fame). It was filmed in Ukraine, Finland and Russia and starred actors from Finland and different parts of the Soviet Union.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

This film provides examples of:

  • The Big Guy: Ilmarinen.
  • Bishōnen: Damn, Lemminkäinen is pretty.
  • Black Cloak: Louhi's trademark, but Lemminkäinen's mother wears one as well (maybe not regularly though, since she was in mourning believing her son was dead).
  • Damsel in Distress: Annikki.
  • Executive Meddling: As was typical in this era the cast and credit names are anglicized to obscure the films’ foreign origins. The only one accurately credited is the story's author - Elias Lönnrot - and they even removed the umlauts from his name!
  • Ghibli Hills: Before the sun is taken away and after it returns, the scenery is quite idyllic.
  • Impossible Task: Louhi demands that Lemminkäinen plow a field filled with thousands of snakes. This does not aid her goals in any way and is apparently for her own amusement.
    • Actually, the field of snakes task was a diversion for the trolls to destroy Lemminkäinen & Ilmarinen's wooden boat.
  • The Kalevala: The movie is based on one of the stories in it.
  • Love Interests: Lemminkäinen and Annikki.
  • Magic Music: The method used to defeat Louhi.
  • Mythology Gag: The film begins with a shot of a statue of Elias Lönnrot and Impi (symbolic of the poetry of The Kalevala), which magically come to life.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Lemminkäinen and his attempt to retrieve the Sampo.
  • The Sampo
  • Scenery Gorn: After the sun is taken, the land looks a lot less pretty.
  • Scenery Porn: The cinematography uses the natural beauty of Finland to maximum effect.
  • Supervillain Lair: Louhi's island.
  • Taken for Granite: Louhi's final fate; she gets broken into hundreds of pieces by Lemminkäinen immediately after.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Ilmarinen can make a horse out of iron, a moose-boat the same way...even a Sampo! After the endless winter begins, Lemminkäinen actually convinces Ilmarinen to start forging a new sun although Väinämöinen talks him out of it.
  • Wicked Witch: Louhi.