A few years ago a group of prominent modern artists living in New York decided to pool their talents into the making of a motion picture. One of them, Hans Richter, devised for it a story-frame on which several dream sequences could be hung, each to be the responsibility of a different artist. The result was a movie called "Dreams That Money Can Buy," which proved so popular at its private showings that it has now been nationally released.
The single character which links these sequences together is called "Joe." He is presented as an unemployed veteran who finds that he can look into a person's eyes and tell what that person dreams about or wants to dream about. So Joe puts a shingle up on his door saying "Dreams That Money Can Buy," and soon his waiting room is swarming with people, each wanting to buy or sell a dream. As Joe looks into a customer's eyes his technicolored dream is shown on the screen. They are like nothing you've ever seen, unless--but then that's another matter.
The first dream is entitled "Desire" and is the work of Max Ernst, based on his collages for "Le Semaine da Bonte." This dream belongs to a frustrated bank-clerk and seems to be centered around a bed containing a very lush brunette. He steals her away but is literally hounded by conventions of society.
The second, and perhaps less confusing sequence, is called "The Girl with the Pre-Fabricated Heart." ("So normal and well-rounded, but she sends her dreams to the laundry.") It has lyrics by John LaTouche, music by Paul Bowles and features the voices of Libby Holman and Josh White on the sound track. The girl in the case is that familiar type of sexual idealist who later becomes a rampant realist.
The third sequence is by the celebrated photographer-artist Man Ray and has music by Darius Milhaud. In it a group of people are made to imitate the actions of a movie actor (played by Mr. Ray) as they watch him on the screen. It seems to be Mr. Ray's amusing way of showing his rejection of conformity to the herd.
There is also a sequence by Mareel Duchamp derived from his eubistic painting "Nude Descending the Stairway," and Alexander Calder and Dave Diamond have a hand in other portions. The dream I found most interesting, if only for its simple, washroom symbolism, was Mr. Richter's "Nareissus" though to identify oneself with any particular dream is dangerously revealing, I suppose.
"Dreams That Money Can Buy" is a very unusual film and a successful motion-picture experiment on a relatively "home-made" basis. Perhaps other artists of this caliber will now turn towards the cinema and exploit some of its possibilities after witnessing this independent achievement. Mr. Richter's "Dreams That Money Can Buy" should delight anyone with even a smattering of Household Freud.