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  Pippi Longstocking girl power!Buy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Olle Hellbom
Stars: Inger Nilsson, Pär Sundberg, Maria Persson, Öllegård Wellton, Margot Trooger, Ulf G. Johnsson, Göthe Grefbo, Hans Clarin, Paul Esser, Beppe Wolgers
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Villa Villekulla is a sleepy, Swedish town where nothing ever happens - until freckle-faced, pigtailed Pippi Longstocking (Inger Nilsson) rides in on her spotted horse ‘Old Man’. Super-strong, super-rich and with magical powers, Pippi moves next door to wide-eyed siblings Tommy (Pär Sundberg) and Annika (Maria Persson). Her outrageous antics upset stuffy social worker Miss Prysselius (Margot Trooger), but Pippi is kind-hearted and generous with her gold coins. She leads her newfound friends on many exciting adventures including daredevil balloon-flights, fun at the fairground and a night of ghost-hunting, amidst constant run-ins with dim cops Kling (Ulf G. Johnsson) and Klang (Göthe Grefbo), and dopey thieves Thunder Karlsson and Blom (Paul Esser). Then one day, Tommy and Annika are heartbroken when Pippi’s father, ‘cannibal king’ Captain Longstocking (Beppe Wolgers) arrives to take his daughter out to sea…

Astrid Lindgren created Pippi Longstocking in the 1940s. The feisty tyke with super-powers, anarchic attitude and an infectious zest for life has been beloved by children worldwide ever since. She first graced the big screen in the late forties, but it’s boisterous, charismatic Inger Nilsson who really brought Pippi to life in her late sixties/early seventies television show and subsequent film series. Nilsson bounced across screens as the definitive Pippi Longstocking and sparked a craze across Scandinavia and Germany to rival Beatlemania. Though four films were released, the initial two were patched together from episodes the TV series. Their stream of consciousness structure causes headaches for some, but faithfully reflects Lindgren’s picaresque plotting. Lindgren herself wrote the screenplays and heartily endorsed her lead actress. An icon of child-empowerment, Pippi leads a kid’s dream life where anything goes. She lives all alone with her horse and pet monkey Mr. Nilsson, never goes to school, and has no grownups telling her what to do. She even plays with guns! There is a hippie aspect to Pippi’s psychedelic whimsy (not to mention her chaotic home full of wondrous junk), tempered with a proto-punk spirit as she deflates pomposity with her innocent flights of fancy. Her super-strength results in many a bad guy being tossed into orbit.

Pippi may be messy, mischievous and prone to telling outlandish lies, but she is disarmingly practical, with her homespun wisdom and a strong social conscience. One appealing scene has Pippi purchase a shop full of sweets that she shares with a crowd of hungry children. Detractors (including Michael Medved, who mean-spiritedly listed Pippi Longstocking in his book covering the fifty worst films of all time) always seize upon the dated special effects and awkward English dubbing. However, a growing number of English fans reflect fondly upon this cult film phenomenon. The special effects are certainly crude, but the handsome cinematography conjures a wonderful world of idyllic summers, crayon colours and fantastical fun. Pär Sundberg and Maria Persson are vibrant and engaging as our windows into Pippi’s world, while the grownups are appropriately oafish. The best Pippi Longstocking adventures were set to follow, but this remains a perfect introduction to Astrid Lindgren’s magical minx.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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