Olsen Gang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Olsen Gang silhouettes

The Olsen Gang (Danish: Olsen-banden, Norwegian: Olsenbanden, German: Die Olsenbande) is a fictional Danish criminal gang in the eponymous film series. The gang's leader is the criminal genius and habitual offender Egon Olsen and his accomplices are Benny and Kjeld (Kjell in Norwegian). The gang members are harmless and never use violence. A Norwegian version of the film series was also made (a total of 14 films from 1969 to 1999), in most cases based directly on the scripts for the Danish films.

Later, starting in 1981, Sweden also produced their own version: Jönssonligan.

Plot[edit]

Most of the films start with Egon coming out of jail and being enthusiastically welcomed by Benny and Kjeld. The three men will then have a beer together in the living room of Kjeld's dilapidated home in a run-down Valby neighbourhood. Egon will inform his friends of his latest plan for making them all millionaires (for example, eluding an alarm system to steal some crown jewels that happen to be on display in Copenhagen) and instruct them to provide the necessary equipment. The plans usually feature everyday artefacts such as Lego, party balloons, cigarettes etc., which are combined to work like Rube Goldberg machines, and clever social engineering. Egon often serves time with lawyers or executives who provide him with the information he needs, such as duty rosters for the national public record office.

Egon's plans often bring the gang into perilously close contact with white-collar criminals from the Danish business (and political) elite. For example, in one episode some well-connected people try to make money out of the so-called "butter mountain", a huge amount of butter bought up and stored by the EEC (now the EU) to keep prices up. Egon Olsen learns about this from a lawyer who is serving prison time, and the gang interferes with the plan to secure the millions for themselves. But as always, Egon – after having succeeded with a genius plan – loses because he underestimates the power and unscrupulousness of these people.

Egon is usually arrested in the end because the police cannot get to the "big fish" and have to find a scapegoat. Superintendent Jensen (Hermansen in Norwegian) tells his younger colleague, inspector Holm: "The only thing the police can do when the real big criminals come by is offer them protection!" This kind of social satire is one of the defining features of the Olsen Gang films.

In the early episodes, harsh language and soft-erotica (temptingly dressed women) were more freely used than in later versions, which were censored to suit youngsters.

International versions[edit]

The Olsen Gang have been made in Norwegian and Swedish (Jönssonligan) versions too. The films differ a bit from each other, but they follow a generally similar formula to the Danish films. The original, Danish films were popular in the former GDR and Eastern Europe.

The film series also has another character, 'Dynamite Harry', as the little brother of Benny Frandsen, which is also featured on the Norwegian rendition of the episodes – is the demolition expert (although his nerves are very easily shaken due to years of having dealt with explosives and alcohol). Harry made an appearance in six Norwegian films, played by Harald Heide-Steen Jr.. He also appeared in two early Danish Olsen Gang films, then played by Preben Kaas. In the Swedish Jönssonligan series Harry showed up in the second film, and became a regular member of the gang from the next installment on, since the actor who played the original member, a Finn named Rocky, was fired. In the Swedish version, Egon was replaced by Charles-Ingvar "Sickan" Jönsson, with a slightly different costume and mannerisms, and in later films when the actor Gösta Ekman got tired of the character, yet other leaders, who never became as popular as "Sickan". Benny's part was taken by "(Ragnar) Vanheden", a small-timer from Stockholm.

Danish films[edit]

The Danish Olsen Gang.
Left to right: Kjeld, Benny, Yvonne, Egon.

The first thirteen films were directed by Erik Balling, while Tom Hedegaard and Morten Arnfred directed the fourteenth and final Olsen Gang film. The scripts were written by Balling and Henning Bahs, who also worked as a production designer.

Original title (English title) Release date Notes
Olsen-banden (The Olsen Gang) October 11, 1968
Olsen-banden på spanden (The Olsen Gang in a Fix) October 3, 1969
Olsen-banden i Jylland (The Olsen Gang in Jutland) October 8, 1971
Olsen-bandens store kup (The Olsen Gangs Big Score) October 6, 1972
Olsen-banden går amok (The Olsen Gang Goes Crazy) October 5, 1973
Olsen-bandens sidste bedrifter (The Last Exploits of the Olsen Gang) October 4, 1974 This was intended to be the last movie at the time it was made.
Olsen-banden på sporet (The Olsen Gang on the Track) September 26, 1975
Olsen-banden ser rødt (The Olsen Gang Sees Red) October 1, 1976 This movie contains the famous showdown scene in which the gang bombs, drills, and hammers its way through the basement of the Royal Danish Theatre in synchronicity with the music of Friedrich Kuhlau's overture to the opera Elverhøj.
Olsen-banden deruda (The Olsen Gang Outta Sight) September 30, 1977
Olsen-banden går i krig (The Olsen Gang Goes to War) October 6, 1978
Olsen-banden overgiver sig aldrig (The Olsen Gang Never Surrenders) October 26, 1979
Olsen-bandens flugt over plankeværket (The Olsen Gang's Escape over the Fence) October 16, 1981
Olsen-banden over alle bjerge (The Olsen Gang Long Gone) December 26, 1981
Olsen-bandens sidste stik (The Olsen Gang's Last Trick) December 18, 1998
[1]

Danish cast[edit]

Norwegian films[edit]

  • Olsenbanden Operasjon Egon (1969)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry (1970)
  • Olsenbanden tar gull (1972)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry går amok (1973)
  • Olsenbanden møter Kongen og Knekten (1974)
  • Olsenbandens siste bedrifter (1975)
  • Olsenbanden for full musikk (1976)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry på sporet (1977)
  • Olsenbanden og Data-Harry sprenger verdensbanken (1978)
  • Olsenbanden mot nye høyder (1979)
  • Olsenbanden gir seg aldri (1981)
  • Olsenbandens aller siste kupp (1982)
  • …men Olsenbanden var ikke død (1984)
  • Olsenbandens siste stikk (1999)

Several elements recur in the films series. You can note the main sponsor by looking at the villain's cars, the security cars, the police cars, the gang's car, and so on. Usually, Toyota has been the main sponsor of the film series, supplying the films with civilian cars parked on the sidewalks, Crowns as taxis, Toyota Cressida as police cars, Hiace as security vans and money transports, and so on. There have been exceptions, notably Olsenbandens aller siste kupp (The Olsen-Gangs very last coup) from 1982, which was sponsored by Datsun.

Norwegian DVDs[edit]

DVD Cover of the first Norwegian Olsenbanden: from left to right: Benny, Egon, Kjell.

Most of the Norwegian films have been digitally restored. The discs include English & Norwegian Subtitles, 16:9 format and Dolby Digital 1.0 surround sound.

DVD Release List:

  • Olsenbanden Operasjon Egon (27.10.2004)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry (27.10.2004)
  • Olsenbanden tar gull (27.10.2004)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry går amok
  • Olsenbanden møter Kongen og Knekten (01.12.2004)
  • Olsenbandens siste bedrifter (01.12.2004)
  • Olsenbanden for full musikk (01.12.2004)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry på sporet (08.12.2004)
  • Olsenbanden og Data-Harry sprenger verdensbanken (19.01.2005)
  • Olsenbanden mot nye høyder (19.01.2005)
  • Olsenbanden gir seg aldri (19.01.2005)
  • Olsenbandens aller siste kupp (19.01.2005)
  • …men Olsenbanden var ikke død
  • Olsenbandens siste stikk (1999)

Norwegian cast[edit]

Unofficial English translation of Danish and Norwegian titles[edit]

Danish films[edit]

Original title Translation
Olsen Banden The Olsen Gang
Olsen Banden på spanden The Olsen Gang in trouble
Olsen Banden i Jylland The Olsen Gang in Jutland
Olsen Bandens store kup The Olsen Gang's grand burglary
Olsen Banden går amok The Olsen Gang Goes Crazy
Olsen Bandens sidste bedrifter The Olsen Gang's last(latest) accomplishments
Olsen Banden på sporet The Olsen Gang on the (rail)track
Olsen Banden ser rødt The Olsen Gang snaps (sees red)
Olsen Banden deruda' The Olsen Gang full speed ahead
Olsen Banden går i krig The Olsen Gang goes to war
Olsen Banden overgiver sig aldrig The Olsen Gang never surrenders
Olsen Bandens flugt over plankeværket The Olsen Gang's escape over the fence
Olsen Banden over alle bjerge The Olsen Gang long gone
Olsen Bandens sidste stik The Olsen Gang's last trick (as in cards) or last sting

Norwegian Films[edit]

Original title Official English title Translated directly Translated contextually
Olsenbanden: Operasjon Egon The Olsen Gang: Operation Egon The Olsen Gang: Operation Egon
Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry
Olsenbanden tar gull The Olsen Gang takes gold The Olsen Gang wins (title is a pun, since the gang literally "takes gold" in the movie)
Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry går amok The Olsen Gang and Dynamite Harry run amuck The Olsen Gang and Dynamite Harry run amuck The Olsen Gang and Dynamite Harry run amuck
Olsenbanden møter Kongen og Knekten The Olsen Gang meets the king and the jack The Olsen Gang meets The King and The Jack (The King and The Jack being the handles of the movie's villains)
Olsenbandens siste bedrifter The Olsen Gang's last accomplishments The Olsen Gang's last accomplishments
Olsenbanden for full musikk The Olsen Gang for full music Totally Olsen Gang (title is a pun, as music plays a rather important part in the movie)
Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry på sporet The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry on the track The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry on the track ("track" here referring to a railroad track. Title is again a pun)
Olsenbanden og Data-Harry sprenger verdensbanken The Olsen Gang and Data-Harry blow up the World Bank The Olsen Gang and Computer-Harry rob the World Bank
Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry mot nye høyder The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry towards new heights The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry towards new heights
Olsenbanden gir seg aldri The Olsen Gang never gives up The Olsen Gang never gives up
Olsenbandens aller siste kupp The Olsen Gang's very last coup The Olsen Gang's very last burglary
...men Olsenbanden var ikke død ...but the Olsen Gang wasn't dead The return of the Olsen Gang.
Olsenbandens siste stikk The Olsen Gang's last match The Olsen Gang's last trick (as in cards) or last sting

References[edit]

External links[edit]