Friday, January 14, 2022


In the Old Town section of Stockholm, the person everyone calls the Count is a cheerful older man whose sole support is as a newspaper delivery man. Business is good lately because of the headline-making actions of a daring diamond thief. The Count and his buddy Gurken (named for the pickle) mostly saunter about town trying to get a few drinks, which is difficult to do as the country has begun rationing alcohol to cut down on alcoholism. We meet other denizens of the Old Town including the chief policeman, Goransson, who is generally disliked and referred to as "the Lord," a blind man named Karlsson who helps a widow write a personals ad for the "joint happiness' section of the paper, and Berglund, a slick suitor to the widow. When a stranger named Ake arrives in town and takes a room at the local hotel, some suspect he may be the thief, especially when he seems anxious to avoid the police. But the Count comes to like him because he lets the Count use his liquor ration card. The hotel keeper's wholesome young maid Elsa has a meet-cute moment with Ake and they begin a flirtation. Still, we wonder what he’s up to with his comings and goings. And why does the blind man leave a light on in his apartment at night? This cute character-driven comedy occasionally spins its wheels a bit but is overall a pleasant viewing experience. The conflicts here never get too serious and the mystery of who might be the jewel thief does become fairly engrossing. This is the movie that introduced Ingrid Bergman to the silver screen, in the role of Elsa; she is fine in the role but she hasn't quite yet come into her own. One problem might be Edvin Adolphson (pictured with Bergman at left) who plays Ake in a rather gruff and uninvolving way (he also directed the film), so their chemistry never really sets off sparks. Waldemar Dalquist is fun as the Count as is Sigurd Wallen as his buddy who has a distinctive chuckle. Its Swedish title is Munkbrogreven, and it crops up sometimes as The Count of the Old Monk’s Bridge. This doesn't seem to have gotten any kind of major theatrical release in the United States in its day. [TCM]

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