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Maid in Sweden
An American-Swedish co-production bankrolled by none other than Cannon Films, Dan Wolman's 1971 film, Maid In Sweden was at the top of many a Christina Lindberg fan's wish list until it got a DVD release through Impulse Pictures in 2008. Fast forward twelve years to 2022, and Code Red, through Kino Lorber, give the film a welcome Blu-ray upgrade. While the film follows a formula almost to a fault, it features enough of Christina in her birthday suit to more than make up for whatever shortcomings might be in the script.
Lindberg plays a sixteen year old girl named Inga who decides to leave her small town for a weekend to hang out with her older sister, Greta (Monica Ekman) and her creepy boyfriend, in the big city of Stockholm. Soon enough, she boards a train and makes the journey but upon her arrival, it doesn't take Inga long to discover that her foxy good looks and charming naivety are what every man wants. She decides to roll with it and before you know it, this cute country milkmaid has blossomed into womanhood in a big, big way.
Of course, as this blossoming occurs, conflict arises and Inga has to reassess her new promiscuous lifestyle and figure out if she wants to stick it out in the city and do her own thing or maybe go back to her roots back at the farm.
The plot for this film is wafer thin at best and you get the impression that the filmmakers knew this ahead of time. You also get the impression that they knew the best way to combat this was to get Lindberg naked and throw her into bed with some guy, have her writhe around pleasuring herself, or put her in the shower while the camera lingers over her. Well, it works. Lindberg is as charming as she is beautiful here and while the rape scenes may very understandably put some viewers off, Lindberg's completely uninhibited performance will likely win you over. She's obviously very comfortable with herself and with nudity even at this early stage in her career, likely due to the modeling and pin up work she'd done prior, and the cinematography milks that for all its worth.
Wolman's direction is decent, the film is paced pretty well and he knows well enough to throw in some sex scenes or gratuitous nudity anytime that the plot is on the verge of slowing down. The acting is fine, though everyone in this movie is dubbed in English and so it feels a bit off at times for that reason, but Lindberg has a fantastic screen presence here and Monica Ekman is right behind her in that department.
It's interesting to see how this film would set the stage for the rest of Lindberg's film career. While this wasn't the first film of hers to get theatrical play, it was the first one she shot and the character she plays in this picture seems to have typecast her as it's really not very far removed from every other role she took. Like the old adage goes, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Maid In Sweden did play in American theaters through The Cannon Group, Incorporated (and in fact this Blu-ray still has the Cannon logo at the beginning) in both R and X rated versions with the salacious tagline of 'Inga At Sixteen, Her Coming Of Age' appearing on the one sheet underneath a black and white photograph of a writing Lindberg looking very much like she's enjoying herself. This Blu-ray bares an R rating on the back though there aren't any obvious cuts evident in the print leading one to wonder if the X was bumped down to an R or if the X was simply self-implied in the first place.
Kino/Code Red brings Maid In Sweden to region A Blu-ray on a 25GB disc with the ninety-four minute feature taking up just under 23.8GBs of space on the 25GB disc and framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. Generally speaking, this is a pretty nice transfer. Detail is quite strong, easily improving over the previous DVD that came out in 2008. Colors look nice and natural and there's some pretty nice depth noticeable in the image. The elements used for the transfer were good, but not perfect shape. There's print damage noticeable fairly often throughout playback, but thankfully it's typically pretty minor even if you definitely will notice it. Compression artifacts, noise reduction and edge enhancement are a never an issue. We get pretty strong shadow detail here as well. Overall, the transfer is a strong one.
The only audio option on the disc is a 24-bit English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track. Optional subtitles are offered up in English only. The track is clean, clear and nicely balanced and for an older mono mix for a low budget film from the early seventies, it sounds pretty solid. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and the dialogue is always clean and easy to hear. The folksy soundtrack has some decent depth to it as well.
Aside from menus and chapter selection options, the disc also includes a trailer for the feature (sporting an X-rating) and bonus trailers for Dagmar's Hot Pants, Inc., Dirty O'Neill: The Love Life Of A Cop, The Naked Ape, National Lampoon Goes To The Movies, Secrets Of Sweet Sixteen, La Cage Aux Folles II, Guyana: Cult Of The Damned, an odd cartoon ad for a Mormon program titled Getting The Bugs Out Of Your Marriage and another odd cartoon advertisement containing some talking animals.
While Maid In Sweden may not be Lindberg's finest performance, it's her first feature film and nicely foreshadows what would come later in her career and it is an effective showcase for both her screen presence and her sex appeal. The Blu-ray release from Kino/Code Red is light on extras but it does provide a nice high definition upgrade for the feature. Recommended for fans of seventies sexploitation movies!
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.