The Pippi Longstocking Collection (review)
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 (Pär 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…) All four Pippi films are here — Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Goes On Board, Pippi in the South Seas, and Pippi on the Run — with new digital transfers that are quite nice, at least after the opening-credits sequence of the first movie, which is a mess of damaged film. And yes, the cheesy dubbing into English from the original Swedish is part of their appeal. Recommended for nostalgic Xers and parents who trust that today’s kids are smart enough not to eat nails.