The character of Pippi Longstocking has been adapted to the screen a number of times. There was a Swedish-made film version Pippi Långstrump (1949) but this was disliked by Astrid Lindgren for its derivation from her creation. This Swedish/West German co-production was the second screen adaptation of the books (others are listed at the bottom of the page). This film version actually emerged out of a tv series Pippi Longstocking (1969), which ran for thirteen thirty-minute episodes. A handful of the first few episodes of the tv series were edited together to make this film. The tv series and film version proved popular in dubbed international release and three further film versions were released (see below). Astrid Lindgren was involved in the production and retained creative control over the way that her character was translated to the screen.
This version of Pippi Longstocking may have been popular in its day but today the film is hard going. The books are nonsensical delights where you cannot help but get caught up in Pippis absurdist exploits and tall tales. However, on screen here, the books fantasy elements have been drastically throttled, indeed bled out almost to the point of non-existence. The most we get is Pippi being able to wield her super-strength to throw the two crooks atop a cupboard. Moreover, the film is almost entirely plotless, consisting of various runnings around the backyard of a rather mundane Villa Villekula, the town and Mrs Settigrens coffee party. The most exciting things get is when the kids take off in a hot-air balloon at the end. The film is dreary on almost counts the photography is lifeless and the direction near soporific.
On the plus side, the film has an occasional light amusement in some of its bubbly, insubstantial non-sequitirs. Inger Nilsson, with her red hair wound into plaits that stick out horizontally, plays well as Pippi although the two supporting children are colourless. (This is a film where the English dubbing for once works surprisingly in favour of the characterisations). Eventually the proceedings ramble on far too long a custom criminal to the sequels and at the end of the day one wishes there had been more money to give Astrid Lindgrens stories their true worth.
The sequels were: Pippi Goes on Board (1970), Pippi in the South Seas (1970) and Pippi on the Run (1973). Pippi Longstocking (1985) was a further American tv movie adaptation starring Carrie Kei Heim. The most well-known remake was The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988), a Hollywood version starring Tami Erin as Pippi, which virtually remakes this film. There was also the Canadian co-produced Pippi Longstocking (1997), a further animated version of the tales, which is probably the best translation of Pippi to the screen to date. This spawned a sequel Pippis Adventures in the South Seas (1999). There was also a 1982 Russian musical adaptation about which little is known.