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PHOTOGRAPHY
SAMPO
Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 91 minutes, audio commentary, hour long interview, theatrical trailer, booklet
VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition
AUDIO: Finnish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English

STUDIO: Deaf Crocodile Films/ Vinegar Syndrome/ Suomi Filmi/ Mosfilm
RELEASE DATE: 8-30-2022
SAMPO (aka THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE) is a Finnish/ Russian co-production. It was shot more than once with versions in Finnish and versions in Russian. The version presented on this blu-ray is the Finnish version restored and scanned in 4K by KAVI- The Finish Audiovisual Institute- from the original 35mm Cinemascope picture elements and a 5.1 mix was created from the original 4 track magnetic stereo tapes. It is a beautiful movie to look at. It is an odd European fantasy movie that you can enjoy and make a little fun of while enjoying it.

Russian director Alexandr Ptushko explores Finnish mythology through SAMPO which removes around a magical device called the Sampo which bring wealth and good luck to whomever possesses one. An evil witch named Louhi kidnaps the daughter of the blacksmith who might be able to forge a Sampo. The blacksmith and the hero of the story, Lemminkainen, go off to the Northland to rescue the blacksmith's daughter. The witch looks to deceive and trick them to get the Sampo made and the hero even defies death many times to stop the witch and retrieve the Sampo. SAMPO is like a cool toned Technicolor like fantasy with songs and Finnish heroes who can do extraordinary things like the hero can float down the river on a log and even hold his breath while his mother can walk on water (and pleads to the elements to save her son). SAMPO is a fantasy treat you can enjoy and make fun of in equal measure. It is an European fantasy I never heard of, but I'm glad I did buy it and get to experience it.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
The selection of extras isn't bad, but it is also a missed opportunity whether it has to be due to budget and/ or rights issue. The cut retitled US version of the movie known as THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE isn't included and neither is the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode making fun of that version of the movie.

Here is what is included on the blu-ray disc including a booklet (which includes an article reprint from Video Watchdog and publicity materials (pre-production art and posters)):
Audio commentary by comics artist/ author Steven R Bissette (SWAMP THING, TYRANT)
New hour long discussion (71 minutes) with Mike Nelson of MST3K/ RiffTrax (who is interviewed about his days of MST3K and the movie THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE), comics artist/ novelist Bob Fingerman, and Dennis Bartok of Deaf Crocodile.
Original theatrical trailer

FINAL ANALYSIS: SAMPO is a movie that many have never heard of, but European fantasy fans and fans of indie labels like Deaf Crocodile/ Vinegar Syndrome will love it. It is a beautiful transfer, but I do wish it had more of the extras showing alternate versions in addition to the wonderful extras that are included.

This blu-ray review is 12-20-2022 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com