The Olsen Gang Sees Red (1976)
Alamo on Demand Exclusive!
The Olsen Gang is a veritable cultural institution in Denmark. Mention the name Egon Olsen to any man, woman and child in Copenhagen and a wide, euphoric grin will spread across their face.
Launched in 1968 and spanning over 30 years, Egon and his pals Benny and Kjeld starred in 14 Olsen Gang films, the same actors playing the same roles in each of the films. The series only ended when Poul Arne Bundgaard (Kjeld) died during production of the final installment. His death was written into that final script.
The story (almost) always follows the same rhythm - Egon is let out of prison. While in prison, Egon has developed a plan that will make them millions. Egon, Benny and Kjeld execute the heist, usually an elaborate, Rube-Goldberg-inspired affair. Something goes wrong. Egon goes to jail. The next film begins the cycle all over again. If this first taste of the Olsen Gang goes well, we’ll try to offer up a marathon of the films; an experience I suspect will be rather delightfully rhythmic.
In THE OLSEN GANG SEES RED, Egon and the gang set out to steal a priceless Ming vase from an unscrupulous baron, planning to replace it with a cheap Hong Kong knock-off. The climactic heist takes place at the symphony, with blasts and drilling synchronized to the crescendos of the performance of Johan Ludvig Heiberg’s Elverhøj. This whimsical Olsen Gang innovation was recently lifted in the domestic caper film, BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE.
The Olsen Gang never uses violence or weapons in their crimes and almost always target the aristocratic or wealthy class, never the common man. The series was so successful, it spawned a Norwegian knock-off Olsen Gang series of another 14 movies, a Swedish series of 10 films and was hugely popular in syndication in every eastern European communist nation.
In the states (until now!), the Olsen gang are all but unknown, but in their day and in their home country, they were the celebrity equivalent of Tom Cruise, Dwayne Johnson and Chris Pratt. So relax, sit back and enjoy this fully restored, distinctly-Danish, English-subtitled, US debut of THE OLSEN GANG SEES RED! (Tim League)