Bussen (film)

Last updated

Directed by Arne Skouen
Written byArne Skouen
Produced byArne Skouen
Starring Leif Juster
Cinematography Sverre Bergli
Release date
  • 1961 (1961)
Running time
90 minutes
Directed by Finn Henriksen
Written by Bob Ramsing
Produced by Erik Overbye
Starring Dirch Passer
CinematographyHenning Bendtsen
Edited byLars Brydesen
Release date
  • 4 October 1963 (1963-10-04)
Running time
90 minutes

Bussen (The Bus) is a 1961 Norwegian comedy film, directed by Arne Skouen and starring Leif Juster, and a strikingly similar 1963 Danish comedy film directed by Finn Henriksen and starring Dirch Passer (the texts acknowledge this source at the start of the Danish version). The plot and script is essentially the same in both films (and also a couple of names). The Danish version is made suitable for a Danish audience. The music to the Norwegian version was written by Maj Sønstevold and Gunnar Sønstevold, with additional songs written by Alf Prøysen. The original main character was written for Leif Juster. At this point in his career, Juster was a popular movie actor. It is possible that Arne Skouen was inspired by a narrative poem written by the poet Ingeborg Refling Hagen, about a milkman who is constantly running errands because of his good heart.


Norwegian cast

Danish cast


The protagonist is a jovial bus driver, well beloved by his passengers, essentially the whole community around him. The bus, however, is old, and needs to be replaced. The bus driver himself is also needed as a handyman for all the people around him, assisting with stray cattle, household machines, children's homework, errands of all kinds, and at one occasion, assisting birth. Progress is however leaving him behind, and the local county council plots on a solution, involving a new bus and driver. The community revolts, and the local midwife (married to the mayor) intervenes with all the locals to keep the bus driver, who ends up keeping his job in a new bus.


There are, however, some notable plot differences, mainly based on the casting of the main character. Leif Juster was older than Dirch Passer, and presents a calmer humour. Juster was turning 51, while Passer was 37 at the time of the respective shootings. Passer's interpretation is more Slapstick-based, and the Danish film is made in a more Chaplin-like tradition. The kind humanity of the chauffeur is more present in the Norwegian version. As Passer was younger, the element of romance is more central in the Danish version as well. In both films, the protagonist saves and cares for a small girl (Kaja - played by Synne Skouen, daughter of Arne Skouen in the Norwegian version), whose mother is falling to pieces. In the Danish version, Kaja is cared for by an older sister, who becomes a love interest for the protagonist. In the Norwegian version, the interactment is solely with Kaja, and the mother is passed off as a "lost case". The bus driver is said to have delivered Kaja in the bus, and promises to take care of her as a daughter. "The man being there at birth is the truest father", he says. This plot difference makes the romantic subplot lighter and softer, and the social criticism implied in the Norwegian version is toned down.

Lars, the "dumb muscle" set up to be the driver of the new bus, is a regular "mook" in the Norwegian version, constantly getting into fights because of his physical strength, and urged on by his careless girlfriend Helga. The Danish version makes him an amateur boxer, working for the local smith. Danish Lars seems to be more happy in his situation than his Norwegian counterpart, who actually contemplates suicide because of his messy situation with Helga and the other youths. Norwegian Helga seems to be regarded as a "get around girl", and is passed off as such by Thorvald (and that is why Lars constantly is getting into fights). Danish Helga seems to be more sincere and proper (while still being a slight fanservice - something which also applies for Kaja`s older sister. Fanservice is not used in the Norwegian version).

In the Danish version, Helga and Lars end up engaged, while the Norwegian Helga just breaks out and leaves for town. In Denmark, Helga is the daughter of the local sheriff, while she is working as the sheriff´s clerk in the Norwegian version (or actually addressed as "deputy" by the sheriff). The sheriff`s role is more pointed out in the Norwegian original. Here, he is on Thorvald`s side against the clerk all the way, and while working from inside the law, he also backs the public rebellion against the political leadership. In this way, the sheriff mirrors the historical role of the local lawman as a "man of the people" against the authorities. This trait could not be played out in the same way in Denmark.

The philosophical traits of the driver (reading from the Bible and of Greek philosophers), is somewhat extended in Denmark, turning Martin into a self learned scientist with an astounding knowledge, making experiments in chemistry and physics.

The staged public rebellion is played out differently in the two versions. While the Norwegian version has a regular rebellion against the municipality council, it is the Danish women who act on their own, using a Lysistrata gambit to get their case through. Only in the "second phase" do the men join the uprising. The party bickering between different political fractions inside the county council is actually exaggerated for comedy in the Danish version.

The three moss collectors are not present in the Danish version. The moss collectors, earning their way by selling moss (for isolation, one presumes) and then spending their income on booze, serves as a kind of greek chorus in the film, and relates the background of Thorvald the driver. When he feels the community does not need him anymore, he yields to their wish and follows them to their "natural habitat" in the most reclusive part of the area. The three collectors talk and act as one, as two of them just repeat the words of the leader.


The Norwegian version leans strongly on Eastern Norwegian dialect, somewhere between the old Oslo dialect and the closely related tongue of Romerike, which is the location of the film. The only person to speak regular bokmål is the antagonist, the county clerk (and some members of the council, equally sceptical until they are set straight). This language trait is lost in the Danish version.

Literary reference in the film

The bus driver is seen in his humble home, reading a passage about the greek philosopher Diogenes. As he reads, (sitting on a barrel and wearing a towel), he identifies himself with this philosopher, and relates his own version of Diogenes's words in his meeting with Alexander the Great: "Move aside, so that the sun may shine on me". He states that he would like to meet this man.

Kaja, the girl Thorvald/Martin cares for, is rehearsing a poem for her homework. In the Norwegian version, this poem is written by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, while her Danish counterpart recites a known Christmas hymn by the Danish national poet N. F. S. Grundtvig.

Notes on actors

Lalla Carlsen and Leif Juster had already a long experience on working together at stage at this point, acting together in the comedic variety shows in Oslo since before World War II.

While playing completely opposite roles in their respective films, Ove Sprogøe and Arve Opsahl both made a career as the same character some years later, namely Egon Olsen of the Olsen Gang.

The bus

The bus used in the Norwegian version, driven by Juster, is a 1924 model Berliet with Norwegian built coachwork from A/S Skabo on a type CBOE chassis. It was originally used by the company A/S Ekebergbanen, from 1928 as a reserve and it was taken out of traffic in 1931. After being used in the film it was placed in a museum, since 1983 at the Sporveismuseet(Railroad museum) at Majorstuen, Oslo. In 2013 it was made driveable again and exhibited at an arrangement that took place in Oslo June 2013. [1] [2]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Moss, Norway</span> Municipality in Viken, Norway

Moss  is a coastal town and a municipality in Viken county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Moss. The city of Moss was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 and City in 1720. The rural municipality of Jeløy was merged with the city on 1 July 1943. The former municipality of Rygge was merged into it on January 1, 2020.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leif Erikson</span> Norse explorer (c. 970 – c. 1020)

Leif Erikson, Leiv Eiriksson, or Leif Ericson, also known as Leif the Lucky, was a Norse explorer who is thought to have been the first European to have set foot on continental North America, approximately half a millennium before Christopher Columbus. According to the sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, which is usually interpreted as being coastal North America. There is ongoing speculation that the settlement made by Leif and his crew corresponds to the remains of a Norse settlement found in Newfoundland, Canada, called L'Anse aux Meadows, which was occupied 1,000 years ago.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Østfold</span> Former county (fylke) of Norway

Østfold[ˈœ̂stfɔɫ](listen) is a traditional region, a former county and a current electoral district in southeastern Norway. It borders Akershus and southwestern Sweden, while Buskerud and Vestfold are on the other side of Oslofjord. The county's administrative seat was Sarpsborg. The county controversially became part of the newly established Viken County on 1 January 2020.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dirch Passer</span> Danish actor and comedian

Dirch Hartvig Passer was a celebrated Danish actor. He was greatly renowned for his improvisational skills and, with a filmography comprising 90 movies, one of Denmark's most prolific actors. His life is depicted in the Danish semi-biographical film A Funny Man directed by Martin Zandvliet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lars Saabye Christensen</span> Norwegian/Danish author

Lars Saabye Christensen is a Norwegian/Danish author.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Dynekilen</span> 1716 naval battle of the Great Northern War

The naval Battle of Dynekilen took place on 8 July 1716 during the Great Northern War between a Dano-Norwegian fleet under Peter Tordenskjold and a Swedish fleet under Olof Strömstierna. The battle resulted in a Dano-Norwegian victory.

The culture of Norway is closely linked to the country's history and geography. The unique Norwegian farm culture, sustained to this day, has resulted not only from scarce resources and a harsh climate but also from ancient property laws. In the 19th century, it brought about a strong romantic nationalistic movement, which is still visible in the Norwegian language and media. In the 19th century, Norwegian culture blossomed as efforts continued to achieve an independent identity in the areas of literature, art and music. This continues today in the performing arts and as a result of government support for exhibitions, cultural projects and artwork.

<i>The Viking</i> (1928 film) 1928 film by Roy William Neill

The Viking is a 1928 American drama film. It was the first feature-length Technicolor film that featured a soundtrack, and it was the first film made in Technicolor's Process 3. It stars Pauline Starke, Donald Crisp, and LeRoy Mason. The film is loosely based on the 1902 novel The Thrall of Leif the Lucky by Ottilie A. Liljencrantz. The Viking was directed by Roy William Neill.

<i>Saga of the Greenlanders</i> Icelandic saga about the Norse exploration of North America

Grœnlendinga saga is one of the sagas of Icelanders. Like the Saga of Erik the Red, it is one of the two main sources on the Norse colonization of North America. The saga recounts events that purportedly happened around 1000 and is preserved only in the late 14th century Flateyjarbók manuscript.

Events in the year 1996 in Norway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brage Prize</span>

The Brage Prize is a Norwegian literature prize that is awarded annually by the Norwegian Book Prize foundation. The prize recognizes recently published Norwegian literature.

<i>Lake of the Dead</i> 1958 Norwegian mystery horror film

Lake of the Dead is a 1958 Norwegian mystery horror film directed by Kåre Bergstrøm. The film stars Henki Kolstad, Henny Moan and Georg Richter.

The Master and His Servants is a 1959 Norwegian drama film directed by Arne Skouen. The film is based on a 1955 play by Axel Kielland, who also plays a minor character in the film. The play and the film is based on true events in Sweden. The Master and his Servants was entered into the 9th Berlin International Film Festival.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sæbjørn Buttedahl</span> Norwegian actor and sculptor

Sæbjørn Buttedahl was a Norwegian stage and film actor who later found prominence as a sculptor.

Fant is a Norwegian film from 1937 based on Gabriel Scott's 1928 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Tancred Ibsen, who was also wrote the script for the film. The film premiered on December 26, 1937 at the Eldorado Cinema in Oslo.

Hans Nielsen Hauge is a Norwegian film from 1961 direected by Kåre Bergstrøm. It is a dramatization of the life of the lay minister Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771–1824). The film received a lukewarm reception from Verdens Gang's reviewer, who gave it three out of six stars.

Journey to the Sea is a Norwegian drama film from 1966 directed by Arne Skouen, who was also the screenwriter. Skouen's daughter Synne Skouen played Pinne, a teenage girl wanted by the authorities.

Om Tilla is a Norwegian drama film from 1963 directed by Arne Skouen. Skouen wrote the screenplay, which was based on his 1959 novel Bare om barn. It contained a series of articles from the newspaper Verdens Gang, in which Skouen pointed out that children with intellectual disabilities and children with behavioral difficulties did not receive sufficient financial support or professional help.

Selkvinnen is a Norwegian film from 1953. It was directed by Lauritz Falk and Per Jonson; Falk himself played the lead role in the film. The film script was written by Leif Sinding. Gunnar Sønstevold composed the music for the film.


  1. "Lokaltrafikkhistorisk Forenings vognpark". vognparksporveismuseet.atwebpages.com. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  2. "Altibox TV Overalt". chill.altibox.no. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2017.