• Swedish Wildcats (Retro-Seduction Cinema) DVD Review

    Released by: Retro-Seduction Cinema
    Released on: February 21st, 2006.
    Director: Joseph W. Sarno
    Cast: Diana Cors, Cia Lowgren, Christina Lindberg, Misty Mundae, Chelsea Mundae, Katie Jordan, Ruby LaRocca, John Fedele
    Year: 1972
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    Swedish Wildcats - Movie Review:

    Susanna (Cia Lowgren) and Karin (Solveig Andersson) are a pair of orphaned twin sisters working as high-ticket prostitutes for their Aunt Margareta (Diana Dors) in her swanky Copenhagen brothel. Each night the girls of the house put on a special show (dubbed “The Menagerie” by circus-master Margareta) for the kinky clientele. They, in turn, bid high to win an evening with their desired femme, with the twins always being the most popular.

    All of this glamour and desirability holds little attraction for them, however, and it is quite apparent early on that Susanna has the looser grip on reality of the two, as she is constantly inventing fantasy identities and scenarios for herself, including that of Natasha the ballerina, whose persona she is employing when she meets Peter, a pleasant young man that works as a cargo carrier at the airport. Either because he is unhappy in his position, or because he quite simply wants to impress this willowy dancer, he tells her he is a pilot.

    They meet each day in the park and basically make excuses as to why they cannot see each other at night. We then come to learn that Peter’s boss, the sadistic Gerhard (seen earlier at the brothel), is up to no good, smuggling drugs to supplement what is probably a paltry wage. Peter catches wind of this and threatens to expose him, to which Gerhard replies that something bad could happen to the ballerina he has been bragging about. When Gerhard sees Peter on the street with Susanna/Natasha (whom he eventually recognizes from Aunt Margareta’s), the wheels start turning and he hatches a nefarious plan to expose her, deflate Peter, and take revenge for Susanna’s earlier rejection of him.

    Directed by upscale-smut maven Joseph W. Sarno (BUTTERFLIES, ABIGAIL LESLIE IS BACK IN TOWN), SWEDISH WILDCATS (original title: EVERY AFTERNOON) is an enjoyably dramatic character study of people so unhappy with their situation in life (and, ultimately, themselves) that they feel the need to adopt fantastic identities in order to function, and in the case of Susanna, actually feel something, anything. The two sisters are constantly subjected to the kinks of their rich clients, and as Aunt Margareta is loath to lose their business, she offers very little in the way of protection, which only adds to their alienation, and eventually, sister Karin’s fleeing to be with the son of a very well-to-do family.

    The performances are all pretty solid, certainly for adult-oriented cinema of the early 70’s. Diana Dors (just a few years away from her appearance in CRAZE with Jack Palance), while a little past her 60’s va-va-voom prime, brings a very welcome light touch for comedy, as well as a certain boozy sexual charm, enhanced in no small amount by her upper-crust British accent. Cia Lowgren is believably vacant as Susanna/Natasha, all pretty and delicate shell with not a lot underneath, and while she doesn’t get enough serious screen-time, Solveig Andersson is incredibly sexy as Karin, whose character is obviously the more concerned of the two about the gravity of their situation. Speaking of criminally little screen time, I regret to mention that the heart-twistingly adorable Ms. Christina Lindberg (THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE, SEX AND FURY) has very little to do as Helga, another girl of the house. She shows up in a cute red nightie, serves drinks, looks beautiful, and that’s about it. No eye-patches or sawed-offs here, folks!

    The cinematography by Lasse Bjorn (THE SINFUL DWARF) is very nice, capturing the various interiors and exteriors in a naturalistic, yet stylish, way. Peggy Sarno remarks in the featurette that he took great time with lighting and set ups, and it shows, bringing a higher level of class to this production than others of it’s type and era. Mr.Sarno’s direction is sure-footed and deliberate, making sure that the story is told in a none-too-rushed fashion, while making sure that the average raincoater gets to see what he came for, that is, European flesh! It should also be noted that there are a few noticeable trims in some of the kinkier scenes, but these were apparently the result of cuts either made by the MPAA or the distributors before submission. That said, none are that jarring, nor do they leave the viewer feeling cheated.

    Swedish Wildcats - DVD Review:

    SWEDISH WILDCATS is presented in a 16x9 enhanced transfer (from a newly-discovered 35mm print) with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which looks quite nice, given the fact that we could have easily ended up with a battered and drive-in ravaged print form the Independant International vaults (for the SWEDISH WILDCATS title is theirs). The opening scene exhibits some serious grain, but once the film is underway it clears up considerably. The colors are pretty strong overall, and while some scenes appear a little on the pale side, this seems due more to artistic choice than anything else. Print damage is minimal, as is visual noise, and with as many red curtains and drapes as there are in this film, that is a definite plus! Some mild edge enhancement is visible, though not much in the way of mpeg compression, another plus.

    The lone audio track consists of the original export mono English dub track that sounds quite good and strong, with only a couple of cases of popping noises (from the original mag stripe) evident during quieter scenes. Dialogue is easy to hear und understand, and the music floats behind it all beautifully.

    Extras consist of the following:an extremely brief featurette (entitled WILDCAT INTERVIEWS) that, at 6 minutes, barely scratches the surface, but we do learn that Joe and his wife/longtime collaborator Peggy greatly enjoyed working with Diana Dors, who was the utmost professional, and that the s&m scene was an influence of producer and co-writer Vernon P. Becker, which Mr. Sarno is quick to point out that he has very little interest in bringing these elements into his own stories.

    Also included is what is described on the packaging as the “co-feature” (“co-featurette” on the disc menu), NEW YORK WILDCATS a 45 minute softcore re-make of sorts, directed by Johnny Crash. In it, Aunt Margareta (played by Chelsea Mundae, who is clearly about twenty-five years too young to be playing the part!) runs a NYC brothel that caters to peculiar tastes (if animal-themed dancers wearing goth garb that can be seen at every third Portland area strip club can be considered peculiar) and is under the thumb of coke-headed mobster Master Camuto, who is squeezing every last financial drop from the enterprise. After the nightly auction ends, it becomes apparent that he has trouble in mind for star performer Pleasure (played by, you guessed it, Misty PLAYMATE OF THE APES Mundae) and it’s up to the New York Wildcats to mete out justice. A rather tedious 45 minutes, yet probably a major selling point for fanboys who drool over anything with Misty’s name on it.

    Presented in all it’s full-frame SOV glory, it looks about as good as any digital video feature you might see, colors are good and bold, and the audio is strong (all the better to hear the synth goth rock score).

    Also included are trailers for seven Shock-O-Rama titles, twelve Seduction Cinema titles, and nine other Retro-Seduction Sarno titles, including a new production, LUST FOR LAURA, due out on disc this year.

    Don’t forget to check out the very informative illustrated booklet written by Michael J. Bowen, which is a bit more detailed than the actual Sarno interview clips. There are no chapter stops.

    Swedish Wildcats - The Final Word:

    An enjoyable Joe Sarno film gets a nice special edition release from Retro-Seduction cinema. And it has Christina Lindberg in it!