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Ludvig and Sussi Battwyhl, Louis and Katja Brenner and Julia and Kurt Balzar are upper class millionaires. They don't seem to do any real work but still need a vacation in the mountains. Everybody seems to be romantically involved with everybody. A rich American woman joins them. Written by
First of all, Every one of us classic movie lovers should get down on our knees in gratitude to TCM and IMDb. TCM has gone beyond the pale in finding interesting classic movies the vast majority of buffs had never even heard of, then restoring them, then making them available to us. Thank you, TCM. IMDb has provided similar services in allowing us to find, catalog, discuss, and enjoy all movies and near-movies in a systematic and intelligent manner. My life would not be as rich without both. In contrast, look at AMC which started along this path, and now is not much more than a glorified USA Network.
I bring this up in relationship to Dollars because it is such a classic film. I would have been deprived of knowing of its existence, let alone being able to watch such a lusciously restored print with clear subtitles had it not been for TCM. And, I would no little enough about the film's background and history without being able to follow up my watching experience with IMDb.
As for Dollars itself, it is well worth watching, albeit not a classic on its own terms. The film certainly is well representative of 1938 Sweden about the intellectual tug-of-war between socialism and capitalism/Fascism with nihilism the intriguing middle alternative of choice that most wound up exploring. I caught no overt referenced to Nazism, but certainly felt its touch within the various subtexts. Some of the caricatures, particularly the rich and spoiled American Mary Johnston, made the director's point with a sledgehammer. And some of the camera angles seemed too exploratory -- especially at the build right before the climax. So, it isn't perfect. But the cast is uniformly excellent, and young Ingrid is a special treat. Others covered the European roots of the intellectual subtext present here. After seeing this, I wonder if it had any influence in the American movie Holiday. The storyline and main characters have some remarkable similarities -- although the ubiquitous nihilism present throughout Holiday was missed by both critics and audiences at the time who focused on the suave Mr. Grant's charms instead -- and his film chemistry (or lack thereof according to some) with Katherine Hepburn. But, I digress.
Bottom line, Dollars is not a classic but it is more than interesting and well-crafted enough to be worth watching.
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