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The Magic Moose and the Masked Cowboy
The information on this film is not quite satisfactory at the time I am writing this: It should be pointed out that it is based on two texts by Mikkel Fønhus.
I saw "Troll-Elgen" this night at the Oslo cinematheque with an improvised piano score. It's the second Norwegian silent film I have seen this spring along with the sublime "Brudeferden i Hardanger", and I am anxious to see other flicks like "Madame besøker Oslo" and "Bergenstoget plyndret i natt".
Less strikingly beautiful than "Brudeferden", "Troll-Elgen" offers a story split between the traditional rural life and the urban Oslo of the 1920s. The Magic Moose (literally the Troll Moose) of the title is a sort of Loch Ness monster that the farmers claim to have seen but none have been able to hunt down. The rather traditional intrigue involves a farm hand that wants to marry a rich farmer's daughter. The father says that the boy would have to kill the mythical moose if ha was to deserve his daughter's hand. Instead he ends up escaping to Oslo and working as a masked shotgun virtuoso in a circus after killing another suitor in a fight over the girl. Or did he?...
This is Fürst's first feature and a good one at that. Reliable sources tell me that he continued to make very decent films for the rest of his career. Only a tad sad for his part that some of them were made during the war and were called "We are of Vidkun Quisling's hird" and "Unge Viljer".
Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei (2004)
So you like Jeff Cole...
I participated on the making of a student film in Paris last year. My friend who was the director of that little piece of unpretentious nonsense also wrote the script and had the lead part. He is a rock enthusiast and could not resist putting in some embarrassing lines like "So you like Sonic Youth !?" in a scene where he has a chance meeting with a girl in a café. This populist German film with huge international distribution presents the same give-aways; me and my other friend who helped making the short flick in Paris consequently burst into laughter seeing Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei at an Oslo cinema yesterday. I think this represents what the movie stands for. It's all about t-shirt slogans and such. The lead cast could easily be members of trendy "radical" rock groups who want to change the world. Why must young idealists wrap their message in this rock-cum-politics package? That said, the film is not too boring and it has an attractive lead actress who sometimes looks plain thanks to the banal "dogme" camera-work. Dommage...
Raphaël le tatoué (1939)
Fernandel shines in this Christian-Jaque comedy. He is here allowed to play a dual character as his boss at the car factory is convinced the night watchman Modeste has a petty criminal brother meeting the first one at a night club when he should be at his night shift. Consequently, he tries to make the twins his driver(s) in hope to win the next automobile marathon. This nice fluff includes musical numbers, romance and some car chases. This is one of the hundreds of french comedies from the 30s very few people will ever be able to see, films who despite their very unpretentious nature always have something special to offer their viewers. This is one of the very best.
To på topp (1965)
A norwegian pop-comedy classic.
This film, starring the beloved norwegian entertainer Rolf-Just Nilsen in his late thirties, is especially remarkable for it's snappy, fast dialogue, a real goldmine for lovers of sixties' slang and style. The plot evolves around norwegian pop star Dickie Dons (Nilsen) who is travelling back to Oslo by boat after a tour in Europe. The intrigue involves Dons being beaten into a coma by his drug-dealers and being replaced by a simple but honest sailor, also starring Nilsen. Will the sailor manage to take over Don's secret wife, keep up a star-act and escape future attacks from the drug dealers? The film's tune, played by the Beatniks, is quite fresh and sticks to your mind for several days. "Jeg husker den gangen jeg var i Buenos Aires!!"