• Wide Open

    Released by: Impulse Pictures

    Released on: 8/9/2011

    Gustav Wiklund
    Christina Lindberg, Kent-Arne Dahlgren, Gunilla Larsson, Solveig Andersson
    Year: 1975

    Purchase From TLA Video

    The Movie:

    Directed by
    Gustav Wiklund in 1975, Wide Open begins by introducing us to a young woman named Marianne (Solveig Andersson) when her boyfriend, a taxi driver named Paul (Kent-Arne Dahlgren) comes home with his drunken father in tow, unannounced. They walk into the apartment and find her naked, at which point dear old dad hoists her onto his shoulder and carries her around the room. This bizarre opening scene more or less sets the tone for the rest of the movie to come. From here, we learn that Paul and Marianne don’t have the healthiest of relationships, this is something made all the more apparent when they head to a party and she walks in on him unrepentantly screwing a pretty blonde in the back room. When the party is over, they head back to their apartment with Marianne’s shag-haired sister, Beryl (Gunilla Larsson), along for the ride.

    The next day, after a brief unannounced birthday visit from Marianne’s parents (who give her a crystal icebox – the gift that keeps on giving!) Marianna hops a plane to Copenhagen where she has to go to work on a paper. Beryl drives her to the airport and on the way back picks up her friend, Eve (Christina Lindberg) who talks about her modeling work. In need of money since her acting career isn’t going anywhere, Beryl asks if she can get in on this – before you know it the two ladies are posing nude for a leering photographer and shortly after Beryl has accepted a gig to work as a stripper at a businessman’s convention. This is all well and good until Beryl gets into trouble and winds up with a certain mink coat, which Paul then learns is laced with drugs. Once Beryl finds this out, she’s not sure what to do but since a mysterious hoodlum-like stranger is following her, Paul is going to have to help her out – but Marianne is on her way home!

    Wide Open isn’t a film that worries to much about logic, plot coherency or structure and at times it feels more like a series of bizarre set pieces strung together than a properly written film. With that said, it’s not without its screwy charm thanks for a rather free spirited pace, kooky seventies European wardrobes and hairstyles, and one of the most erratically bizarre soundtracks you’re ever going to hear (during the big finale, a moment that should be the most tense in the film, the score switches over to music more appropriate to a Keystone Cops short and then throws random sounds of machine gun fire over top for no discernable reason whatsoever!).

    This being a Swedish exploitation film, it stands to reason that there’s going to be a good bit of nudity and the film doesn’t disappoint on that level. All three female stars disrobe frequently throughout, with Ms. Lindberg, here in a supporting role and not the star that the cover art would have you believe she is, spending more time in her birthday suit or revealing lingerie than any sort of proper dress. Her photo shoot, in which she gets naked and lathers up for the camera, is bound to be the highlight of the film for many a Lindberg fan but
    Gunilla Larsson and Solveig Andersson give her a run for her money in the ‘hey look at me I’m naked for no reason’ department. Kent-Arne Dahlgren has an appropriately scuzzy demeanor to him and looks rather disheveled and curiously undeserving of the women who constantly throw themselves at him, but he makes it work – it must be all the low rent prison tattoos on his hands and arms (one of which looks like either Huey, Dewey or Louie – take your pick, Disney be damned).

    In the end this isn’t a movie you need or will want to take all too seriously but it’s enjoyable enough as the goofy seventies sexploitation picture that it is. The camera work is decent and the Swedish locations are oddly charming. Odd comic relief and loads of naked ladies help distract from the fact that the whole thing is rather slapdash in terms of storytelling – but it’s a fun watch and fans of Swedish sex movies will definitely get a kick out of it, particularly once you take into account the politically incorrect sexual politics that are scattered throughout the film (at one point Paul makes Eve vacuum in the nude and then kicks her!?).


    Impulse presents the film uncut in a 1.66.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks to be the proper aspect ratio as the compositions all look good. There are periodic scratches and nicks throughout the movie and the colors are a bit on the faded side but those issues aside the transfer isn’t bad even if it obviously hasn’t been given much of a restoration.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track isn’t going to win any awards, there’s some background noise in a few spots and at times the dialogue is a little muffled. Subtitles would have been nice here for that reason but that didn’t happen and there are no alternate language tracks offered.

    The best extra on the disc is a twenty-minute interview with Christina Lindberg and director Gustav Wiklund, who notes that, yes, the male characters in the film are all pretty horrible but fails to elaborate on why that is or what point he was trying to make there. Lindberg talks about her role and what it was like making the picture and comes across as gracious and genuinely kind.

    Aside from that, look for a very nice still gallery of Lindberg photos, a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Impulse releases, static menus and chapter stops. Oh and just for kinky kicks, the cover art for this release is reversible, featuring a lovely shot of Ms. Lindberg in the buff on the flipside.

    The Final Word:

    Wide Open isn’t the ‘be all, end all’ of Swedish exploitation nor is it a crown jewel in Christina Lindberg’s filmography but it is a lot of cheap, screwy fun and fans of European sex films and of Ms. Lindberg will appreciate it for what it is. If Impulse’s DVD isn’t anything to write home about in terms of presentation, it does include a pretty decent bonus interview to seal the deal.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      That cover is so awesome. Seems like the best part of the dvd!
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      You'd probably dig the alternate side nude cover more, Paul.