• 2 - I, A Woman Part II / The Daughter: I, A Woman Part III (Film Media) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Film Media
    Released on: October 23rd, 2018.
    Director: Mac Ahlberg
    Cast: Gio Petré, Lars Lunøe, Hjördis Petterson, Bertel Lauring, Gunbritt Öhrström, Inger Sundh, Klaus Pagh
    Year: 1968/1970
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    2 - I, A Woman Part II / The Daughter: I, A Woman Part III – Movie Review:

    In 1965, a Swedish film directed by Mac Ahlberg called I, A Woman proved to be an international sensation, breaking new ground for what was allowed to be shown on the screen in terms of sexual activity. Not surprisingly, given the film’s success, Ahlberg would, in the coming years, helm two sequels (which were distributed in North America by Chevron!). Previously released on a DVD double feature by After Hours Cinema as well as on DVD-R by Something Weird Video, the films live again in high definition thanks to the efforts of Film Media and, again, Something Weird Video as part of their collaborative Racy Reels From The Something Weird Vault series.

    2 - I, A Woman Part II:

    The first picture introduces us to a lovely lady named Siv (Gio Petré), a woman approaching middle age who is married to a man named Heinz (Lars Lunøe). Very early on in the story you get the impression that Siv could do better. Regardless, Hans has an antique furniture business that proves to be quite lucrative, so at least he’s got that going for him. He’s also got an interesting side business: he sells raunchy photographs of his pretty wife to some of his customers! He frequently submits her to various degrading situations, however, and this coupled with the fact that he’s not paying various debts despite the fact that he has the money, well… she’s starting to get fed up.

    When Heinz decides to take his side business to the next level and arrange for one of his customers, Mr. Svendsen (Bertel Lauring), to have a fleshy encounter with Siv, whether she likes it or not, hunky, considerate doctor Leo (Klaus Pagh) starts to look at lot more appealing - in fact, a lot of other men start to look a lot more appealing than Hans. As the truth about Hans comes to light and Siv realizes that there’s even more foul play in his background than she first imagined it turns out that his past is much darker than she ever thought possible.

    This is a reasonably standard sexy melodrama until the last act, at which point Ahlberg and company get full points for portraying a legitimately surprising twist, one that makes this film a lot more memorable than it would have been otherwise. Still, the movie is well-made. The English dubbing makes it tough to really evaluate the performances but the cast commits to their parts. Petré, who appeared in Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries as well as Joe Sarno’s Daddy Darling, makes for a fetching lead. We sympathize with her character and can understand and appreciate why she’s feel pushed away by Hans, who is played with despicable aplomb by Lars Lunøe (a Danish actor who recently showed up in Men & Chicken and also appeared in Lars Von Trier’s The Kingdom).

    Production values are strong across the board. The film is very nicely shot. Ahlberg handled the cinematography himself, along with Andreas Bellis (who served as director of photography on Thriller: A Cruel Picture), and that’s not surprising given his penchant for coming up with impressive visual compositions. Sven Gyldmark, who scored Reptilicus, contributes a memorable score.

    The Daughter: I, A Woman Part III:

    The second feature (and the third and final in the series), also known as Like Mother, Like Daughter: I, a Woman, Part III, tells the story of Birthe (Inger Sundh of Sarno's classic The Seduction of Inga and Flossie). When we first meet her, she’s having a sexual hallucination of sorts but after this admittedly impressive opening sequence, she’s pulled back down to planet Earth and given a drug of some sort. From there, we flashback in time to learn how Dr. Leo Smidth (Klaus Pagh again) carried on a torrid love affair with her mother Siv (Gunbritt Öhrström) and how Birthe walked in on them doing the dirty deed one fine, sunny day.

    Previously unaware of her mother’s penchant for promiscuity, she’s understandably quite shocked by this. As Siv tries to reinstate her social standing as an honorable woman of sorts, Birthe goes in the exact opposite direction and decides to hit the town and go nuts. She meets an American student named Stephen (Tom Scott of The Green Slime), who works with her mother, and then eventually cozies up to his pretty sister, a dancer named Lisa (Ellen Faison who not only appeared in Bloodsucking Freaks and Dawn Of The Mummy but also in Gerard Damiano’s Odyssey). However, as Birthe’s new exploratory lifestyle may prove to be a lot of fun, it also forces her to confront her feelings for Siv… at which point things get even more complicated.

    Rather conflicted in its portrayal of female sexuality (Birthe is the conservative one, at first, while her mother is the more openminded… but not really the focus of the film), this third film is nevertheless a pretty entertaining picture. The visuals are, once again, top notch and while this lacks the elegance of the second film, it’s weird enough to work. The psychedelic opening is a highlight, and quite impressive visually, but even later in the film we see Ahlberg experimenting with lighting and composition in interesting ways.

    The cast here is solid. Sundh is quite likeable in the lead while Öhrström steals the scenes that she’s in out from under her. It’s amusing to see Scott show up here and Faison has quite an interesting screen presence in the picture.

    2 - I, A Woman Part II / The Daughter: I, A Woman Part III – Blu-ray Review:

    Both films are presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed at 1.78.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc. For the most part, the transfers here are quite good given that they were very likely taken from older theatrical prints. There’s some mild print damage throughout but nothing too distracting at all. Colors are a bit on the flat side but there is some pop here and there. Skin tones look nice and black levels aren’t bad at all. Detail is never quite reference quality but it definitely improves considerably upon the older standard definition presentations that have been available in the past. There aren’t any problems with noise reduction or edge enhancement though occasionally some minor compression artifacts can be spotted. But again, this is, overall, a pretty decent effort.

    Each film gets an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track, there are no alternate language or subtitles provided. Although a lossless option would have been ideal, both films sound fine. The dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and there aren’t any problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary from Tim Lucas available I, A Woman Part II. As is the norm with Lucas’ tracks, it’s very well-researched. Not surprisingly, he covers the original’s films history and subsequent success and gives up plenty of biographical details on Alhberg and his collaborators. He puts the films into context as far as the era in which they were made, discusses their distribution and offers plenty of info about the cast that appear in the film.

    Outside of that we also get a trailer for I, A Woman Part II, trailers for the previous Racy Reels releases (they being the Cries Of Ecstasy/Blows Of Death double feature and the Female Chauvinists/Hot Connections double feature), eight-minutes of silent outtakes from the first movie, menus and chapter selection options. Additionally, Lucas contributes an essay entitled ‘The I, a Woman Phenomenon’ that is included in the accompanying color insert booklet. Here over the course of eight pages he covers the success of the original film and the story behind the two sequels.

    2 - I, A Woman Part II / The Daughter: I, A Woman Part III – The Final Word:

    The Film Media/Something Werid Video Blu-ray release of 2 - I, A Woman Part II / The Daughter: I, A Woman Part III is pretty solid, offering up two vintage sexploitation pictures in nice shape and with some decent extras as well. The films themselves are an entertaining mix of sexploitation and melodrama, but Ahlberg’s direction and cinematography ensures that they look classy, even when they’re not! Fun stuff, particularly if you have a soft spot for European soft-sleaze of the late sixties and early seventies.

    Click on the images below for full sized Critters Collection Blu-ray screen caps!