Fools in the Mountains

Film review

Fools in the mountains

Film poster image courtesy of Films of Norway

Films of Norway

If you enjoy old classic movies in black & white, I am pretty sure you will love this one. Fools in the Mountains (Fjols til fjells) is a slapstick comedy set in a mountain hotel, during a snowy Easter, somewhere in Norway.

The hilarious Leif Juster, known for playing many lead characters in both movies and the theatre, plays Poppe, the porter at the Hotel Hurlumhei.   

Here at hotel, we get to meet guests with various backgrounds, and all with different goals for their mountain vacation. 

The hotel is fully booked but understaffed, so there are definitely challenges for Poppe and his unhelpful sidekick, Rudolf.  Misunderstandings between the two, combined with inappropriate behavior from the guests, put Poppe in situations that get a bit out of control.  

Fools in the Mountains

I do not know of any other actors who would be able to play the role of Poppe in a better way than Leif Juster.  Sometimes, I feel that the movie was written for and about him, the way his personality was. If you come across any other movies with Leif Juster, I would recommend that you check them out.  He was definitely a one-of-a-kind character.

Excellent and funny dialog, with fast pacing, was quite unique for the time, perhaps a result of the fact that the script was originally taken from a theater play.

Notably, the director, Edith Carlmar, was Norway’s first female film director.  

Her success in the business is well documented. She got her start in film with her husband, Otto, and the two made several movies together, as many as 10 movies over a 10-year period.

Fools in the Mountains

The last film Edith directed was the groundbreaking story of young love and sexuality, Ung flukt (1959), starring Liv Ullmann in her first film role. Ullmann turned out to be the most famous international female actor from Norway of all time.

But Fools in the Mountains is pure lighthearted humor. It has been rated with 7,2 stars at IMDb, considered to be one of the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie content, and I must say that I think it has earned every one of them. 

Finally, good proof of quality is often a movie is when a remake of it has been made, and this film is no exception. A new Fools in the Mountains was released in 2020, not only as a movie but also as a TV series.  

Fools in the Mountains

I might decide to write a review about the remake if anyone is interested, but today, we can all enjoy the golden classic that was a big hit in at the cinema, on TV, VHS (remember the cassettes?), DVD, and now on the Films of Norway platform. Happy Streaming!

View the film trailer here:

Fools in the mountains (Fjols til fjells)

  • Director: Edith Carlmar
  • Script: Otto Carlmar
  • Producer: Carlmar Film
  • Year: 1957
  • Run time: 96 minutes 
  • Cast: Leif Juster, Unni Bernhoft, Frank Robert, and Nanna Stenersen, among others.
  • Norwegian language with English subtitles.

Available for streaming at: 

This article originally appeared in the March 26, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Geir Mæland

Geir Mæland is the founder and manager of Films of Norway, a Norwegian film-streaming service based in Stavanger, Norway.