The Comedy of Money | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Comedy of Money

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Even this minor film from Max Ophuls has so much energy it makes the major work of figures like Spielberg and De Palma shrink to virtual nothingness. Ophuls was effectively imported to the Netherlands to make this 1936 feature to help beef up the lackluster Dutch film industry. Based on an original Ophuls story (and coscripted by Walter Schlee, Alex de Haan, and Christine van Meeteren) and featuring songs and commentary from a neo-Brechtian clown who stands outside the plot, the film describes the misadventures of a bank courier (Herman Bouber) who is robbed of bank funds and fired, only to be appointed as head of a finance company by crooked businessmen who believes that he has the stolen money. Rather light and on the cutesy side as narrative, this comedy is worth seeing mainly for the inventive mise en scene (with the great Eugen Schufftan as cinematographer); it's full of unexpected camera angles and Ophuls's usual delight in camera movement (watch for an especially giddy dream sequence). With Rini Otte and Cor Ruys. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Thursday, May 2, 6:00, 443-3737)

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