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I was exceedingly happy to be able to find this old gem. In the early
70s, there was brief window when porn was where many cinematic
experiments were happening. Some of them actually had some promise for
being important. Perhaps the oddest is the porn musical. This is the
most interesting from a historical perspective.
You have to place yourself in the era: a huge percentage of the population believed that the world was in a time of change for the better and this change had something to do with the overlap of free sex, drugs, some astrological appropriateness and the end of war. At the same time, the American government was hammering back on all fronts, while the Dutch and Danish governments were seemingly alone in supporting all four.
Coming out of Denmark were a series of porn comedies, this being the first. I understand the others are more pornish and less comedic, but this is something else: Woodstock porn.
The story is that some astrological time and place a feeling of love is supposed to occur. Two scientists appear in the town, one with a drug to minimize the effect and another with a drug that enhances it. In fine Shakespearean fashion, the two drugs get mixed up, with the enhancing one ending in the water supply.
Our field of focus is a girl's school which looks a lot like a nunnery. The main action is of the girls after imbibing the drug and attacking the scientists and other males from the town. Along the way is a psychedelic dream and the ending romp in the reservoir straight out of "Hair" except everyone is nude and having explicit sex.
Unlike the porn of today, this is joyful and ecstatic. At the very end, the two scientists spy on the clearly pregnant schoolgirls and are pleased with their obvious pregnancies, ten apiece. The joyful nature of the thing, the drugs, the ordinariness of the girls wouldn't happen today, nor any time outside of that brief period of hippydom.
Sure it is porn, but accidentally. This is hippy cinema first.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
In the 1970s, Denmark produces a number of sex comedies that somehow
to combine slapstick humour with hardcore sex. In particular, this applied
to the "tegn" series which started with this film.
In many ways "I jomfruens tegn" was less accomplished than the later films. The comedy was given too little room to gather any momentum, and as a result this film is not quite as playful and carefree as the others in the series. Its biggest weakness is that its young female characters appear without any signs of individuality, they are just fresh meat. This leaves the film without a focal point for the viewer. I would not be surprised if the filmmakers simply hired a bunch of whores from nearby Hamburg who did not speak a word of Danish - consequently they weren't given any lines which makes character development somewhat difficult.
Still, despite all these flaws the film still compares favourably with 1990s pornography (which is admittedly not a tough benchmark), due to higher production values and a less cynical atmosphere, and the unusual genre combination gives it genuine curiosity value.
This is the first of the notorious Danish "astrological" series. While
I wouldn't really recommend this whole series (which eventually turned
into latter-day spy spoofs featuring one "Agent 69"), it's definitely
worth checking one of them out since you're probably unlikely to see a
films like this anywhere else(if you don't happen to Danish anyway),
and this one is probably as good of as any. These films are kind of
halfway between softcore sexploitation comedy and harcore porn. Like
the former they are fairly long on plot and have relatively high
production values. They also have some respectable actors in non-sex
roles (although since they're Danish no one will probably recognize
them). Like hardcore porn films though they do have some obviously
unsimulated sex scenes (like one girl with her tongue in another girl's
rectum in the first five minutes of the movie!).
Due to astrological events, the planet Venus is going to come very close to the earth, which the state authorities suspect is going to have adverse "erotic" effects on the "innocent virgins" at one particular "school for delinquent girls". (I'm not sure why this event would only affect one single girls' school in Denmark or how these girls can be both "delinquents" and "innocent virgins", but you kind of have to go with it). Unbeknownst to the authorities, the girls at the school are ALREADY a bunch of crazed lesbian nymphos, but an agent is duly sent to deliver a drug that will lower the libido of the girls. Unfortunately, when he gets to town and asks for directions, he ends up at the WRONG "house full of young girls" (the local brothel) and, even worse, manages to get his formula mixed with that of a mad scientist who has invented a powerful aphrodesiac. You can imagine what happens.
Aside from one rather unpleasant girl-on-girl gang rape scene, this movie has a surprisingly innocent tone, not unlike the silly British sex comedies of that era, but obviously it is much stronger stuff as far as the sex goes. The real draw-back of the graphic sex scenes though is the movie has somewhat skankier-looking girls than the Scandinavian lovelies that went to Britain to make tamer British sex comedies or Germany to make the softcore "schulmadchen-report" type films or that appeared in less graphic Scandinavian movies. There is no one in this movie that looks like Christine Lindberg or Marie Lilljhedahl or Yutte Stensgaard (girls that look like that generally don't have to put their tongues in each other's rectums to get movie roles). Interestingly, Anna Bergman, the pretty daughter of renowned Swedish director Igemar Bergman, appeared in some of the later films in this series, but she used a body double for the graphic sex.
This is definitely a weird film, and perhaps worth seeing simply for that reason. As Jack Stevenson wrote in his recent book "Scandinavian Blue" this film and others in this series are kind of like "hardcore porn for the whole family".
Abolishing all cinema censorship ahead of their Swedish neighbors,
Denmark opened the floodgates for skin and sin to run rampant on local
movie screens. As John Hilbard's tremendously popular BEDSIDE series,
featuring comedian Ole Søltoft bumbling his way Jerry Lewis style
through a variety of ill-suited professions, was showing signs of
running out of steam, producer Anders Sandberg snapped up their star
for what was to become a serious box office rival. Commonly referred to
as the ZODIAC series, each episode was built around a separate star
sign, grinding to a halt after only six signs. Sandberg had earned his
stripes as production manager on US ex-pat Vernon P. Becker's 1971
simulated smash hit DAGMAR'S HOT PANTS before turning into one of the
country's most prolific porn producers. Testing the waters with Ole
Ege's BORDELLO, he realized that Scandinavian middle classes took
hardcore imagery in their stride with nary a raised eyebrow, so he
would soon surround Søltoft with primitive porn professionals plying
The first of the series still stays stubbornly soft however with only an occasional and invariably flaccid member intruding on the parade of foxy female flesh. Cunningly rechristened DANISH PASTRIES once the surprisingly above average English dub's producer Robert Sumner (who went on to fund several of Chuck Vincent's '80s classics) and director Richard D'Antoni (perpetrator of such unpretentious fornication fare as CAMPUS GIRLS and TEENAGE CHEERLEADERS) got through with it, it follows the frantic misadventures that inevitably occur when an experimental aphrodisiac for a bordello and a libido suppressant intended for a nearby all girls school get mixed up. See, members of the Copenhagen University's department of astronomy have noticed the approaching passage of Venus and, well aware of the ruckus this caused back in 1769 on the island of Tahiti, they're not taking any chances this time. An emissary, the naive and less than adequate Armand (Søltoft), is dispatched to the minute Danish hamlet housing both school and whorehouse, supplying the suppressant to the former and staying well away from the latter. Meanwhile, horny scientist Professor Bomwitz (Bent Warburg) has arrived at the same town to test his aphrodisiac. Identical suitcases are dutifully switched and voilà ! The movie was competently made by Finn Karlsson, a proper film school graduate turned journeyman director best known for his 1969 naughty box office blast STINE AND THE BOYS starring local sex kitten Sisse Reingaard. Jack of all trades Werner Hedman took over the reins for subsequent episodes as IN THE SIGN OF THE VIRGIN rather surprisingly proved Karlsson's final filmmaking assignment though he would continue to work throughout the decade in menial peripheral jobs on several sets. An alleged drinking problem may have rendered him hard to employ and almost certainly contributed to his untimely death in 2003, aged merely 66.
The time frame, which is the turn of the last century, allows for elaborate costuming adding luster to lust. Søltoft remains all buttoned up but Warburg, half of what was to become Denmark's busiest porno pair, lets it all hang out in simulated sex scenes, some with wife Anne Bie playing not the school's tormented new girl Geminette as some sources erroneously claim, who's portrayed by ravishing one shot wonder Eva Lindberg instead, but the first of the students to sense the effect of the Professor's concoction and making him the immediate beneficiary thereof. Mr. Warburg has a particularly memorable dream sequence that's tricky to describe, wandering buck naked among enlarged lady parts, all set to a chintzy rendition of Ravel's Bolero, which weirdly predates a similar spectacle from Chuck Vincent's 1978 VISIONS. The student body contains several starlets who would willingly comply with Danish dirty movies' demands for increased intimacy. The two girls sharing a lesbian liaison in the opening scene are vivacious blonde BEDSIDE regular Vivi Rau and sultry brunette Lene Andersen from Paul Gerber's THE KEYHOLE. The pleasingly plump prostitute is lovely Lone Gersel, also spotted in Phyllis and Eberhardt Kronhausen's groundbreaking sex documentary THE HOTTEST SHOW IN TOWN.
Although the skin-baring sweethearts receive the lion's share of this fast-paced flick's running time, it's the contribution of several highly respected Scandinavian character actors who stuck around even as the series got more seriously sexual that remains these movies' most striking aspect. A veteran thespian whose career started in the '30s, venerable Sigrid Horne-Rasmussen camps it up as the school's colossal head mistress, raising her skirts (fortunately revealing a pair of demure knickers, completely in character) and blowing Søltoft a lewd kiss after an inadvertent swig of the aphrodisiac. As blowzy brothel keeper Madame Gina, Lone Helmer's another classically trained actress unafraid to appear in XXX fare, not as a pornographic participant but still dangerously close to spilling out of her corset on this occasion ! Even so, the equally middle-aged Mette Von Kohl goes both of them one better as prim 'n proper lab assistant Ms. Troelsen, the Professor's first guinea pig, stripping down to decidedly less than ladylike lingerie. Sadly, all three of these brave grands dames of the Scandinavian screen have long passed away since.
As befits a production intended for mass consumption, the movie's particularly well photographed by Henning Kristiansen, already a veteran DoP since the late '40s, working within whatever genre his country's cinema would embrace, including Knud Leif Thomsen's French New Wave inspired 1964 black comedy SCHOOL FOR SUICIDE as well as the occasionally dabbling in soft porn Gabriel Axel's 1988 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner BABETTE'S FEAST. How's that for eclectic ? Kristiansen was ably aided by a then eager young upstart named Michael Christensen who had already worked as camera operator on another exploitation outing made by an American ex-pat, Jack O'Connell's CHRISTA celebrating the breathtaking beauty of blonde bombshell Birte Tove, illogically renamed Swedish FLY GIRLS for the US market as they tended to associate Danish with, well, pastry !
Softcore (version that I had seen) romp through a boarding school for troubled girls. Subplot revolves around a scientist and his secret love potion. "Danish Pastries" is yet another erotica classic that plays like a good mainstream B-movie. High production values lends to the entire visual experience. As an American, I would prefer seeing foreign films in their native tongue and/or with subtitles, rather than poorly acted voice-overs. Why American producers insist on doing this, is beyond me. Since it was softcore, far and few scenes were able to achieve the height of eroticism. Once again, if you tire of today's assemblyline of camcorder porn, this film is sure to please.
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