Beautiful Swedish Susanna and her sister Karin are the most popular attractions at the brothel of their Aunt Marghareta. The house of ill repute attracts the richest clients in all of Copenhagen, with unique floorshows including a menagerie of wild animals (the girls are painted to resemble animals to be captured by the clientele) and a slave auction where the loveliest girls go to the highest bidders. It's a wild carefree life, but the lovely siblings are tiring of their lives as whores. Susanna longs to become a professional ballerina (influenced by Marie Liljedahl perhaps?) and begins a relationship with a charming young test pilot. But will he still love her after discovering her wild secret life?
SWEDISH WILDCATS is not your typical Joe Sarno film. Shot in both Denmark and Sweden, none of Sarno's trademarks are present here. There are no scheming relatives, no sexually frustrated women, no stationary photography, and the theme of sexuality is bursting from the seams of a prim and proper community. It's not particularly well-written, either, with the storyline of a prostitute finding love with an oblivious male suitor featuring none of the personal touches in dialogue and visual kinkiness which made Sarno's films classics. The quite beautiful, but bizarre sequences of the girls painted as wild animals being hunted and captured by the lechers in giant nets is so unlike Sarno's movies, yet is so lovely to watch that it doesn't detract from the film. A black woman is transformed into a panther, a high-kicking dancer becomes a zebra, and the most bizarre of all is one gal writhing on the floor as a python! Most memorable is Christina Lindberg as a hissing leopard; unfortunately Ms. Lindberg has little else to do in the film.
By 1972, Diana Dors had embraced the fact that she had become a heavier parody of her former sex symbol look and was playing juicy roles like Linda Hayden's suicidal mother in BABY LOVE, the nasty birth mother of an abandoned orphan in NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT and a philandering wife in THEATER OF BLOOD. Essentially, she was a British version of America's Shelley Winters: an actress who gained weight progressively over the years and adapted by taking gutsy roles as heavies or the mentally unsound. Dors was one of few name stars in Sarno's films, and it's obvious she's having a good time playing the ballsy madam of Stockholm's finest gentleman's club. She appears in skimpy outfits and sheer costumes, simultaneously poking fun at her former sexy persona while also attempting to show she still has it. She didn't, but Dors still has a beautiful smile and a charming on-screen personality, which unfortunately left us forever in 1984 when she passed away from stomach cancer.
SWEDISH WILDCATS features plenty of gorgeous location photography, a lovely leading lady (resembling Candice Rialson at times), Diana Dors hamming it up and an eye-popping floorshow sequence. Still, this is definitely not a film which would be appreciated by those who loved Sarno's black-and-white melodramas or even the coming-of-age INGA films. It's so atypical of Sarno's work that it can't really be classified as a Sarno film; it is more of a Vernon Becker film (his influence on the script is explained in the featurette), so fans of his DAGMAR'S HOT PANTS INC. will probably like this oh-so-70s European sex romp.
RetroSeduction Cinema's anamorphic letterboxed (at 1.78:1) transfer of WEDISH WILDCATS is very good-looking, with sharp blacks, a nice rendering of the candy-colored costumes and sets and only a few instances of dirt and debris. A faint sheen of grain is not distracting. Something Weird Video offered the film on VHS before discontinuing it to make way for this release and it's a definite improvement. The mono audio is quite good, with the terrible musical score and the dub track coming across quite clear (only Diana Dors was recorded live on-set).
A 2002 remake, NEW YORK WILDCATS
starring Misty and Chelsea Mundae and Katie Jordon, is also included on the
disc, but will not be discussed here. Fans of the Mundae girls will probably
get a kick out of it, but the reason to get this disc is the Sarno film and
its related extras, not this contemporary attempt to copy Sarno's style with
a video camera.
A brief 5-minute featurette interviews Joe and Peggy Sarno, the couple behind this sex romp. Joe discusses the genesis of the film, how producer Vernon Becker became involved (and injected much of his fantasies into the script), working with the various actors and actresses and shooting the film in both Denmark and Sweden. An interesting and true observation is that Sarno never included violence in his films mixed with the sex scenes, unlike many of his contemporaries. The oddball S&M sequences in the film were wholly Vernon Becker's inventions. Peggy has the best anecdote, remembering pushing Diana Dors' obese figure into a tight-fighting dress; she also points out the hilarious moment of one woman's wig falling off as she's whipped!! Unfortunately, no memories of Christina Lindberg.
A massive Joe Sarno trailer vault is included on the disc. Chronologically, the INGA films (the original and THE SEDUCTION OF...) are first. If DVD Drive-In readers don't have RetroSeduction's beautiful packages of both these titles on their shelves, they should be ashamed! Marie Liljedahl is a sizzling Swedish cutie whose best work was for Sarno, who she still keeps in touch with to this day. The remaining trailers all represent Sarno's 70s output, and all are coming to DVD in 2005. It will be quite exciting to finally have Sarno's 70s work represented on DVD. Most interesting about his work in this decade is that all the sex is hardcore...with no penetration shots. Hiring porno actors with thespian talents aplenty who had no issues with performing actual sex before the cameras, Sarno created a series of unique adults-only films where the passion is so real and scorching the audience doesn't need close-ups to prove it. Of course SWEDISH WILDCATS' trailer is here, but it is one that was created especially for this DVD apparently with newly-recorded narration. Up next are the three Joe Sarno-Marie Forsa films VAMPIRE ECSTASY, GIRL MEETS GIRL and BUTTERFLIES, announced in a DVD Drive-In Exclusive News Bulletin as hitting the streets in May as THE GIRL MEETS GIRL TRILOGY! Here's hoping RetroSeduction talked to Eric Edwards and Harry Reems for this package. Both have incredible behind-the-scenes stories to tell. Marie Forsa has been hailed as the best sex actress of all time; her expressions of pain, pleasure and insatiable desire put today's porno queens to shame. ABIGAIL LESLIE IS BACK IN TOWN and LAURA'S TOYS are two of the three Rebecca Brooke films being released in November (another DVD Drive-In Exclusive News Bulletin!); the third is MISTY, whose trailer isn't included but does appear as an Easter Egg on a Something Weird Sarno double feature disc. ABIGAIL LESLIE is like a who's-who of New York adult film actors: in addition to Rebecca Brooke, you get Eric Edwards, Jamie Gillis, Jennifer Jordan (who made an impression in Roberta Findlay's ANYONE BUT MY HUSBAND), Jennifer Welles and even past Sarno alumnus Alex Mann (PASSION IN HOT HOLLOWS). If the narrator's voice sounds familiar on LAURA'S TOYS, it's because it is Peggy Sarno herself!! It's too bad RetroSeduction couldn't license and release Brooke and Sarno's final collaboration, CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, but all three films are great examples of Sarno's magic. Last in the line-up is LUST FOR LAURA, which is Sarno's newest film currently in production. It's easy to be skeptical with a cast that includes too many plastic-looking Seduction Cinema video faves, but it's Sarno's return to filmmaking after many years, so it's something to get excited about.
Included inside the amaray is an extensive booklet written by Doris Wishman biographer Michael Bowen discussing the making of the film, including the revelation that the film was originally going to be a French production and the fact that the film's original running time was 94 minutes, meaning this current 91-minute version is missing three minutes of footage lost to the ages! Scattered among the essay are original posters and ads, including a poster for the original film's title EVERY AFTERNOON! Also included is a huge collection of trailers for contemporary Seduction Cinema flicks (lots of Misty Mundae) and recent Shock-O-Rama movies like SCREAMING DEAD and BITE ME. Believe it or not, some of the Seduction Cinema flicks look promising. THE SEDUCTION OF MISTY MUNDAE in particular is an obvious homage to the coming-of-age films of Joe Sarno, mixing plot elements of both INGA films (Julian Wells' character is even named Aunt Inga!). (Casey Scott)
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