Olle Hellbom – På rymmen med Pippi Långstrump aka Pippi on the Run (1970)

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She’s one of those definitively Generation X characters, the original latchkey kid, the first one left Home Alone: Pippi Longstocking, living on her own in the pastel Villa Villekulla without benefit of adult supervision and only a horse, Little Old Man, and a monkey, Mr. Nilsson, for company. Independently wealthy, thanks to her sailor-father’s adventures in the South Seas, she buys toys and candy for the town kids, pigs out on cakes and cookies, and is assuredly a bad influence on her young next-door-neighbors, Tommy and Annika (Päaut;r Sundberg and Maria Persson). Inger Nilsson’s wild, tomboyish performance as Pippi, in these four films dating from 1969 to 1973, was instantly iconic and remains a goofy pleasure; it’s hard to imagine any filmmaking daring today, with our culturally entrenched overprotection of children, to mount a screen adaptation of a tale in which a free-spirited kid prepares a dinner of soup with nails and spikes in it (and consumes it!), builds an airplane out of wood (and flies it!), or engages in countless other activities that would today require a warning for the kids not to try this at home. (Funny how us Xer kids who adored these flicks managed to survive to adulthood…) Continue reading