For the MST3K episode, see MST3K 422 - The Day the Earth Froze.

The Day the Earth Froze is a 1959 mythology/folklore film directed by Aleksandr Ptushko Aleksandr Ptushko and written by Viktor Vitkovich and Grigori Yagdfeld. It is based on Finnish folk tales.



The Day the Earth Froze

The people of Kalevala are a peaceful hard working people. They have everything they need and want except for the mystical Sampo, a magical mill which will make grain, salt, and gold and give prosperity to whoever possesses it. The only person in Kalevala able to make a Sampo is the smith Ilmarinen. However he cannot make it until his sister Annikki has fallen in love. Annikki eventually falls in love with the hard-working Lemminkäinen.

A wicked witch called Louhi rules over a dark dismal land called Pohjola, and she desires a Sampo but her wizards are unable to forge one. Louhi sends her enchanted cloak to bring Annikki to Pohjola as ransom. Lemminkäinen runs to Ilmarinen to inform him that his sister has been taken and vows to return her. Ilmarinen agrees to come with him and they set off on a boat constructed of an ancient oak tree.

When Lemminkäinen and Ilmarinen confront Louhi, she demands that they complete a simple task before she will return Annikki to them. Lemminkäinen is asked to plow a field of snakes, which he does with the aid of a steel horse made by Ilmarinen. Ilmarinen is made to forge a Sampo. He sets to work and with the aid of the trolls of Pohjola on the bellows and the fire from heaven itself, he forges a beautiful Sampo which immediately begins to make gold, grain, and salt.

Lemminkäinen and Ilmarinen are reunited with Annikki and they set sail for Kalevala. Lemminkäinen is upset when he is informed that the people of Kalevala will never be able to reap the benefits of the Sampo and dives into the sea to swim back and recover it.


Back in Pohjola, Lemminkäinen releases the mist from the prison Louhi has placed it in and it covers the whole land. When the mist clears the Sampo has gone and Lemminkäinen is on a boat heading back to Kalevala. His boat is wrecked on the ocean when Louhi orders that the wind be set free, and the Sampo is destroyed and Lemminkäinen presumed lost.

Lemminkäinen manages to swim back to Kalevala and returns a small piece of the Sampo, which Väinämöinen announces will bring great prosperity and joy to the people of the land. Lemminkäinen and Annikki marry and a great feast and dance is arranged. However, Louhi comes to Kalevala and steals their sun. Returning it to Pohjola, she locks it in a deep mountain cave.

As Kalevala is plunged into perpetual darkness things look very bleak. Lemminkäinen is still hopeful, he asks Ilmarinen to forge a new sun. The wise elder Väinämöinen informs him that it is futile and that they must go to Pohjola and recover the sun by force. Väinämöinen tells the people this battle will be fought using kantele and not bladed weapons. The people of Kalevala prepare by cutting trees and bringing all precious metals to Ilmarinen to forge the strings.


When the people of Kalevala and Pohjola meet on a frozen lake for battle, Väinämöinen begins playing music on the kantele and the trolls of Louhi begin to drift to sleep. Louhi tries in vain to get them to fight, but she fails and her trolls fall down unconscious. Louhi then sends her magic cape to kill the people of Kalevala but it is beaten down into a hole in the ice. Lemminkäinen marches up to the mountain which contains the sun, and Louhi turns herself into stone out of fear. Lemminkäinen slices the stone door of the mountain open with his sword, releasing the sun to shine over the lands of Kalevala.

The film ends with scenes of the people of Kalevala looking to the bright sky in wonder and happiness.


  • Andris Ošiņš as Lemminkäinen (billed here as Jon Powers)
  • Eve_Kivi as Annikki (billed here as Nina Anderson)
  • Anna Orochko as Louhi
  • Ivan Voronov as Ilmarinen (billed here as Peter Sorenson)
  • Urho Somersalmi as Väinämöinen
  • Marvin Miller - Narrator


  • Despite the ribbing the film received on the show, Kevin Murphy has listed this film along with fellow Russo-Finnish films The Magic Voyage of Sinbad and Jack Frost as his favorite films on the show, praising the visual effects for the era and the bright colors. He incorrectly attributed Jack Frost to the director of this film, though Jack Frost was by a different studio and director.
  • The Day the Earth Froze was loosely based on the Kalevala (The Songs of Kaleva), the national epic poem of Finland, which Elias_Lönnrot compiled from a large collection of Finnish folktales and folk songs and published in 1835. The American version introduces the film by talking about storytellers across the world and introducing Elias Lönnrot to try and provide some context for a film about a mythology that was likely completely alien to American audiences.
  • This was the only Finnish film that had a 4-track stereo soundtrack.
  • The American version was heavily edited, reducing its original 91 minute runtime to just 67 minutes. Some of the deleted scenes included an entire subplot where Lemminkäinen is killed by a serpent bite, his mother's search for him, and his revival via birch sap.
  • The film's marketing in America (including the English-language title) attempted to make it seem more like a science-fiction film than a mythic/folklore story.
  • The pressbook handed out by American International Pictures attempted to obscure the film's Soviet origins by changing the names of key personnel and sometimes even writing fictional backstories that would be more palatable to Americans in the waning days of the second Red Scare:
    • The director was listed as "Gregg Sibelius," using the name of well-known Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in crafting the pseudonym for Soviet director Aleksandr Ptushko.
    • The lead actor "Jon Powers" was described as a "Finno-Swiss ski-lift attendant". In reality, Andris Ošiņš was a Latvian agricultural student. This was his only film role and he complained that it set him back a year and a half in his studies.
    • The leading actress, "Nina Anderson", became a "half Finnish, half American beauty queen, figure skater, and stamp collector." Eve Kivi was none of these - she is an Estonian actress of film and theater with a lengthy career and would later be awarded a merit of the Estonian SSR in 1973.
  • Louhi actress Anna Orochko was the goddaughter of Vladimir_Lenin.
  • This was acclaimed Finnish stage and film actor Urho Somersalmi's final film. In 1962, he died in a murder-suicide in which he killed his wife Aili Somersalmi with an ax that had been a gift of the Finnish Actor's Union and then hung himself. This led to a legend that the Finnish National Theater was haunted by the couple's ghosts.

MST3K Connections[]

  • Director Aleksandr Ptushko also directed The Magic Voyage of Sinbad and The Sword and the Dragon.
  • Georgiy Millyar (sorcerer) also portrayed Baba-Yaga (AKA the hunchback fairy) in Jack Frost.
  • Mikhail Troyanovskiy (soothsayer) also portrayed Trifon in The Magic Voyage of Sinbad.
  • Valentin Bryleev (unspecified role) also portrayed the eligible bachelor in Jack Frost.
  • Marvin Miller (narrator) was also the narrator for King Dinosaur, The Deadly Mantis, The Phantom Planet, and Pipeline to the Clouds, as well as voicing Ilya Muromets in the English dub of The Sword and the Dragon.
  • Producer Gleb Kuznetzov was also production director for The Sword and the Dragon.
  • Composer Igor Morozov was also composer for The Sword and the Dragon.
  • Special effects technician Aleksandr Renkov was also special effects cinematographer for The Sword and the Dragon.