This is a very positive, and a very well made film. It's a down to earth story of four young ladies, who set out to make it a hit in the tough world of advertising. The subject matter is quite realistic, even though the realism is conditional and according to 30s standards - even in poverty and without hot water, the girls wake up in full make up and pretty hair-dos. Things go well, until both men trouble and artistic differences set in. At that point the film turns quite dramatic, and some scenes are handled in quite a modern fashion. The film champions a feminist angle, quite uncommon for a film of that era. It touches several delicate issues, such as premarital pregnancy, without being moralizing or prude. Vier Gesellen is a women's film - the men get a lot less screen time and seem to be nothing more than distracting factors. The camera work and direction are very good, and the way Ingrid Bergman is lit and shot, is excellent. She is very, very beautiful and shows immense amount of talent. No wonder she was snatched to do Intermezzon in USA right after that film. The scenes with her and another very gifted actress, Ursula Herking, are the best in the film. There's also Hans Söhnker who is always solid.
I recommend this film to everyone who is under the impression that films were nothing better than tools for party propaganda in Nazi Germany. Well, one could say that the concept of "strength through friendship" reeks of fascism, but if there's a party that really values friendship, I go for that party any day. This film comes close to the work of Helmut Käutner, who was a great maker of great films about little people, and whose best work came out during the last months of the Third Reich.
The only downside to the otherwise pristine print released in Germany is that there are no subtitles of any kind.
Trivia: During the scene in the movie theatre, the film being screened is 1937's Zu Neuen Ufern, and we hear another Swedish superstar that made it big in Germany, Zarah Leander, singing Tiefe Sehnsucht (Deep Yearning).
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