Review: Rasmus and the Tramp – Rasmus på luffen (1981)


Rasmus and the Tramp – Rasmus på luffen (1981)

Directed by: Olle Hellbom | 101 minutes | adventure, family | Actors: Allan Edwall, Erik Lindgren, Jarl Kulle, Håkan Serner, Olof Bergström, Rolf Larsson, Lena Brogren, Tommy Johnson, Lars Amble, Lena Nyman, Gösta Linderholm, Göran Graffman, Ulla-Britt Norrman-Olsson, Roland Hedlund, Emy Storm , Svea Holst, Lottie Ejebrant, Georg Adelly, Bertil Norström, Pål Steen, Fredrik Ljungdahl, Stefan Delvin, Eddie Axberg

‘Rasmus and the Tramp’ is based on one of the many books written by the Swedish Astrid Lindgren. The nine-year-old boy Rasmus (Erik Lindgren, no relation) lives in the Zuiderveld children’s home in the early twentieth century and has had enough of waiting for parents who do not want him after all. Because, as his best friend Gunnar (Pål Steen) says: “They only want curly girls after all.” Rasmus is not a girl and has no curls, but unruly straight hair. One bad day, when he accidentally throws water on Miss Hawks, he is so afraid of the punishment that will follow that he decides to run away. That evening Rasmus leaves, leaving his friend Gunnar with a heavy heart. When he wakes up the next morning in the hay barn where he spent the night, it turns out that he is not the only one who has used this sleeping accommodation. He is introduced to Oskar, Paradise Oskar, vagabond by trade and “God’s own creature” (Allan Edwall). Rasmus immediately likes Oskar and is eager to roam with him until he finds parents willing to adopt him. Though Oskar thinks Rasmus is too small to become a vagabond, he can’t bring himself to leave Rasmus alone and takes the kid under his wing. When Oskar is falsely accused of theft, the two embark on an exciting adventure, in which the real perpetrators make it very difficult for them.

‘Rasmus and the Tramp’ deviates here and there from the book. The original story is much more exciting in some respects. The theft at Mrs. Johansson’s house is quite exciting – even for adult readers – but in the film version, this theft takes place off-screen and Rasmus doesn’t witness it either. The film contains scenes that do not appear in the book, such as the arrival of the king to open the train station and the meeting of Rasmus and Gunnar during a swim. Fortunately, the main line has been maintained. This family film was directed by Olle Hellbom, who gained extensive experience in filming the work of his compatriot.

The strength of the film is not only in the beautiful pictures of the beautiful landscape of Sweden, but especially in the chemistry between the two protagonists. Allan Edwall has played characters from Lindgren’s work before, but as Oskar he puts down one of the nicest characters. Erik Lindgren is also heartwarming as the orphan who longs for a real family. The two of them form a very credible team. ‘Rasmus and the Tramp’ is a very fun adventure film that the whole family can enjoy.

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