Digging For Dutch:
The Search For The Lost Treasure of Dutch Schultz

(USA, documentary, color, 88 minutes, 2001)
director: Laura Levine

Dig just beneath the surface of this eccentric and charming documentary about a notorious gangster's hidden loot and the people who obsessively hunt for it, and you'll find an intimate and quirky portrait of small-town rural America.

Dutch Schultz, aka Arthur Flegenheimer, was one of the Prohibition era's most notorious and cold-blooded gangsters. Legend has it that shortly before the Dutchman's violent and untimely demise from "lead poisoning" in 1935, the bootlegger buried his ill-gotten gains in a remote village in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains. The Dutchman's treasure was rumored to contain cash, treasury bills, gold coins, and uncut diamonds valued in excess of fifty million dollars.

Over the past sixty years, the hopeful and the dreamers have traveled to the tiny hamlet of Phoenicia, New York in their quest for the Dutchman's legendary loot. Armed with everything from shovels to metal detectors, they have combed the mountains and streambeds searching for this ungodly Holy Grail. Some carry tattered maps, a few are guided by "visions," while others believe that the key to finding the hidden treasure lies in Schultz's raving, incoherent dying last words. What these seekers share is a passionate dream, along with an unshakeable conviction that they will succeed where others have failed. . .

Among the gallery of searchers are an ex-bootlegger; a former Grateful Dead roadie/ex-rabbinical scholar; the director of a remote spiritual community; a pair of undertakers in possession of two halves of a treasure map; and a retired cartographer from Virginia who has a vision while watching Unsolved Mysteries that brings him to Phoenicia to dig up the yard of a woman he's seen only in his dreams.

Digging for Dutch is a tragi-comic tale of modern-day folklore, faith, obsession, the search for happiness, and life's simple treasures.

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