In the village of Kalevala lived a blacksmith named Ilmarinen (Ivan Voronov), and his sister Annikki (Eve Kivi).  Legend says that when Annikki falls in love, a Sampo can be forged.  The only one who has the skills to forge a Sampo is Ilmarinen.  A Sampo is a magic device that makes grain, salt, honey or whatever is needed so that the town can be prosperous.  Annikki meets a young man named Lemminkainen (Andris Osins).  The two fall in love.   The people of Kalevala go to Ilmarinen and ask him to make them the Sampo.  Ilmarinen tells them that without the fire of heaven he cannot create the Sampo.

The fire of heaven has been stolen by the witch Louhi (Anna Orochko).  Louhi rules Pohjola with her minion wizards.  When Louhi tells her wizards to make a Sampo they tell her that only Ilmarinen has the talent to forge one.  Louhi devises a plan to get what she wants.  She kidnaps Annikki.  Lemminkainen and Ilmarinen race off to rescue her.   When they reach Pohjola, Louhi tells them that she will release Annikki if they perform two tasks.  First, she tells Lemminkainen to plow her field of snakes.  Ilmarinen creates a magical horse that helps Lemminkainen complete his task.  She then wants Ilmarinen to create a Sampo for her that will make grain, salt and gold.

Ilmarinen completes the Sampo.  Louhi allows Annikki to leave with Ilmarinen and Lemminkainen.  Lemminkainen returns and steals the Sampo.  Louhi lets loose the north wind to destroy Lemminkainen.  In the process the Sampo is damaged, but Lemminkainen makes it back to Kalevala alive with the damaged Sampo.  Ilmarinen says that even damaged the Sampo will bring prosperity to the land.  Louhi is furious that she lost the Sampo, so she steals the sun, plunging the land into darkness, and freezing the village.  

“The Day the Earth Froze” AKA “Sampo” was released in 1959 and was directed by Aleksandr Ptushko and Risto Orko.  It is a Finnish-Soviet Fantasy film.  The movie was based on the Finnish epic story “Kalevala”. 

The movie was filmed silent and dubbed into Finnish and Russian in post.  The original film was 91 minutes long.  The English dubbed version was done by AIP.  It received 24 minutes of cuts and ended up only 67 minutes long.  Other changes in the English version were new English language titles and Americanized names for some of the actors in the credits.  The film was riffed by MST3K in season 5, episode 22.     

The movie is actually gorgeous with some stunning visuals.  The problem is that the American AIP version is so dark you can barely see what is going on in a lot of spots.  The Russian version is out on YouTube on the Mosfilm channel, but as far as I know, the Russian version has not had a DVD release.  It is an excellent example of fantasy cinematography badly butchered.  At least the American version.  I put both versions out here, but the Russian version doesn't have subtitles.  If you want to understand what is going on, watch the American version, but if you want to see what is going on, watch the Russian version.

In Finnish mythology a Sampo is a magical device forged by a blacksmith.  The Sampo can create never ending riches and good fortune to those that have it.  Sometimes it is referred to as a pillar or mountain that holds up the heavens and is a source of all good.

American version

Russian version (no subtitles)

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