The golden age of Finnish movies is often considered to be the forties and fifties with film noir-type movies being much to the forefront. Amongst the first of these was Viimeinen vieras (1941) with Hugo Hytonen as Inspector Puoso.
Unfortunately the war years then intervened and we must look to later movies such as Hiipivä vaara (1944) towards the end of the war with the imperial Dolly von Alfthan in the lead role. The film also starred Pentti Saares, who appeared the following year in the superior Kohtalo johtaa meitä (1945). This is a great film noir about a girl who visits a fortune teller and then everything the fortune teller says seems to come true - or is she simply being manipulated by someone to make her think that? The film starred Eija Karipaa, one of Finland's greatest actresses.
Eija also appeared as the femme fatale in Silmät hämärässä (1952), a movie with hints of Hitchcock's Rear Window. It tells the tale of a mad writer who checks into a hotel and starts to write a story about the four men he can see in the building opposite. The thin line between fiction and reality starts to break as the four men start to act together to plan a bank robbery - as the writer feverishly writes in the hotel opposite.
Silmat Hamarassa starred Tauno Paulo at the height of his fame following a career that had begun in musicals in the thirties and triumphed with his role as the slum-dwelling gangster overload who dominates his petit domain on the outskirts of Helsinki in Laitakaupungin laulu (1948) in which he seduces innocent social worker Ansa Ikonen. Ella Eronen also features as a femme fatale, as hard as nails and slithery as a snake. Great stuff!
Laitakaupungin laulu also starred the remarkable Mirjam Novero who had appeared the same year in the extraordinary Golden Light. The film deliberately begins with what appears to be an amateur dramatic production in front of a painted backdrop but then slowly intensifies whilst at the same time broadening into a wide noirish canvas of crimes and midemeanours to such an extent that by the time you get to the end of the 100-minute movie, you really can't believe they've manage to pack so much material into such a short space of time.
I'll finish (sic) this introduction to Finnish film noir here - the early forebears and possible influences on such wonderful modern neo-noir directors as Mika Kaurismäki.