While schlockmeisters Russ Meyer, Doris Wishman and David Friedman were making grindhouse nudie flicks back in the ’60s, before hardcore changed the game in the ’70s, so was Joseph Sarno. But his work was different. Joe made "erotic" films, meaning they had an actual plot, character development and a European aesthetic that felt more like art than raw sleaze. However, don’t confuse that for chastity, because sensuality was a two way (and busy) street in Sarno’s films. Women owned, even reveled in their lust and often explored it with EACH OTHER in timeless adult fare such as Girl Meets Girl, Butterflies, or the immortal Vampire Ecstasy. Yet for decades, Sarno’s most lauded classic, Inga (1967, 80 minutes), languished on mangled video cassettes, but no longer thanks to a new transfer direct from the original 35mm negative by Retro-Seduction Cinema and Independent-International Pictures. At last CineSchlockers can truly savor Sarno’s ingenue Marie Liljedahl just as his camera did 35 years ago in Sweden.
The movie: In reality, this is the story of Greta (Monica Strommerstedt), a frisky broad nearing middle age who is desperate to maintain the nocturnal affections of a skinny "novelist" ten years her junior. And if you get right down to it, Karl (Casten Lassen) is more of a gigolo than a writer, who routinely promises to gladly repay her Tuesday for a new sports coat, car, or boat today. Good thing she keeps her checkbook near the nightstand. Greta’s also got an ex named Einar (Thomas Ungewitter) who’s seen way too many Clark Gable movies and has a penchant for diddling comely young girls. That, naturally, is where little Inga (Liljedahl) comes in. After her mama’s untimely death, she’s carted off to Auntie Greta’s where the 17-year-old virginal vision arrives with her nose buried in a book. And that’s pretty much where it stays when she isn’t shyly batting her eyelashes at a slobbering welcoming committee of letches like Karl and Einar.
Things turn fairly sinister when Greta accepts an indecent proposal that’ll keep her cash-hungry beau at her side by pimping her niece, er, playing matchmaker between Einar and her naive protege. It’s when lavished with the horndog attentions of men that this girl-not-yet-a-woman experiences an awkward, but enthusiastic sexual awakening with unrealized consequences for all involved.
CineSchlockers will remember that Sarno and Ms. Liljedahl reunited four years later for The Seduction of Inga. When that pending disc hits the market, fans can finally recreate a historic drive-in double bill once trumpeted stateside as a "Three Hour Super-Sexy Inga-Thon!"
Notables: Seven breasts. Mechanical amusements. Public deflowering. Boating. Swedish massage. Peeping. Gratuitous shopping montage. Self-gratification. Gratuitous shower scene. Multiple diddling. Boogie-woogie dance parties.
Quotables: Karl is pursued by the neighborhood slut, "When you lay that old bag, is it fun?" and "Marvelous! I’ll just have to seduce you. I’m very good at it!" Greta schools her niece on l’amour, "Inga, it’s natural for a woman to want men to touch her, to need sex. Me. Your mama. Even you. Go. Go to him."
Time codes: Greta sunbathes in the buff (14:55). Blonde beauty auditions for Euro "Soul Train" (26:17). Ms. Liljedahl joins the picture (35:20). Sarno artfully ogles his starlet through a glass shower door (47:23). Inga takes a hands on approach when exploring her sexuality (52:10). Aunt Greta encourages her niece to indulge her carnal desires (1:12:00). Inga diddles herself into womanhood (1:15:00).
Final thought: Nice to see the makers of The Erotic Witch Project honoring their sexploitation elders by distributing such sophisticated sleaze for the truly discerning viewer.