Seduction of Inga
= Highest Rating
in the day, Marie Liljedahl was one HOT little Euro-vixen.
I'm talking the late 1960s/early '70s
here. The Swedish sex starlet (born 1950) appeared in just a
handful of motion pictures but she made quite an impression.
(Until now, I'd only seen her in Jess Franco's Eugenie...
The Story of Her Journey Into Perversion.) Her debut role
was in 1968's Inga, produced in
her native Sweden and filmed in that language but directed by
American sexploitation auteur Joe Sarno. Although the film was
a big international hit, especially in the U.S., it would be
almost two years before a sequel could be put together. Like
the first flick, The Seduction of Inga
was filmed in Sweden, financed with American money and directed
In the interim the still very young Liljedahl had grown as an
actress; the promise of hotter action, this time in color, would
seem to bode well for the project's success. Inexplicably, American
distributor Jerry Gross sat on the film for almost another two
years, not releasing it until 1971. (Upon which Playboy
magazine named Liljedahl "Sex Star of the Year" —
by which time she'd already retired from acting at the ripe
age of 21!) The opportunity to cash in on the popularity of
the first film had passed. Seduction
did disappointing business in the States, where exploitation
fare was continually pushing sexual boundaries far beyond Sarno's
comparatively restrained erotica. The movie fared better in
Europe, however. Its Italian title, which translates as A
Young Girl With A Hot Body, couldn't be more appropriate.
Seduction of Inga
apparently picks up where the first film ended. (I haven't seen
the original, but Inga herself brings the uninitiated viewer
up to speed with a few short lines of narration.) When she was
16, Inga discovered the pleasures of sex in the arms of her
older sister's boyfriend, Karl; the couple eventually ran away
together to the city. But the joys of first love and freedom
from parental control proved short-lived. Karl split for France,
ostensibly to find a steady job, and Inga hasn't heard from
him since. Now, at 18, she finds herself abandoned, living alone
in a cheap flat without any money for the rent. Her rooming
house is populated with hippies, whores and dope addicts. Bored,
lonely and withdrawn, she rarely speaks to any of her neighbors.
Inga's at the end
of her financial rope when introduced to middle-aged Stig (Lennart
Lindberg), a well-to-do novelist. He hires her as his secretary
— though its quite obvious he has much more than dictation in
mind. Glad to be snapped out of her desperate funk by the older
man's flattering attentions (and money), Inga grows fond of
Stig and enjoys having sex with him. He may be a bit kinky —
insisting she wear certain (very short) dresses without panties
— but is otherwise a kind lover and benefactor. His departure
on a lengthy business trip, however, soon has Inga brooding
and moping again.
Her depression is
relieved by Rolf (Tommy Blom), the young rock musician living
in the flat across the hall. He's been carrying a torch for
Inga for awhile now even though previously she'd barely speak
to him. They strike up a friendship. He takes her clubbing to
dance and hear his band play, and they knock boots. Young love
is in bloom. (Stig who?) Then, at the club one night, Inga notices
a sexy, mysterious blonde chick staring at her intensely. Who
is she? Later, while awaiting Stig's return at his villa in
the country, Inga finds out... The mystery girl (Inger Sundh)
knocks on the door and invites herself in. She introduces herself
as Greta. Seems she knows ol' Stig pretty well — he's her father.
And it always turned him on when his daughter wore short dresses
with no panties...
Little more than a
thinly-plotted soap opera, The Seduction
of Inga doesn't rank among the best Sarno films I've
seen to date — it certainly lacks the erotic charge of, say,
Vampire Ecstasy and Abigail
Leslie is Back in Town. Inga's listless boredom with her
dreary existence may at times be transferred to the viewer through
cinematic osmosis. Populated by few characters and with not
much of a story to tell, the film seems longer than it is, taking
its sweet time to go practically nowhere. There isn't a whole
lot of sex, either, unless you're watching the extended "Grindhouse
Cut" (see below), which clumsily inserts scenes of obvious
body doubles groping and humping. (This spicier footage was
not shot by Sarno, who vehemently disavows such post-production
tampering.) The main setting, a gray, gloomy urban environment
in Baltic winter, doesn't help, either. Parts of the film are
the visual equivalent of listening to an old clock tick in an
otherwise silent, empty room.
How, then, can I justify
giving the pic a '5' Film Rating? Shouldn't it be lower? Allow
me to assume my Squeezy McFeelpants persona for just a moment...
I personally find Marie Liljedahl — in her barely-out-of-her-teens
heyday — extremely sexy. "An angel's face with a body built
for sin" may be a well-worn cliché but it fits the
Norse beauty to a "T". (Something Franco was able
to capitalize on much more effectively in Eugenie/Perversion.)
This film supposedly contains her finest performance; she's
actually quite good in it. Since there isn't a great deal of
dialog Liljedahl has to convey almost all her character's emotions
with her face and eyes; hers is a countenance I'm content to
gaze at. (She had a fabulous ass, too, it must be said.) Liljedahl
doesn't even get naked in her sexiest scene: Inga, hiding behind
curtains, secretly watches Greta seduce her own father and get
it on with him. Accompanied by a driving acid-rock instrumental,
we watch her as she watches them; in the space of a few moments
her facial expressions register in turn shock, revulsion, and
yes, even voyeuristic excitement. When a gal can get a rise
out of me just looking at her from the neck up — well, that
says a lot. (Perhaps more about me than Ms. Liljedahl...)
In much the same
vein I'd be remiss not to highlight the presence of Inger Sundh.
Never having seen her in anything before, after The
Seduction of Inga I'd really like to remedy that situation.
I'm not normally much for blondes but Sundh is simply ssssssmokin'.
Even through the sometimes clumsy English dubbing she shines
as a wicked nymphomaniac with the sexual power to get her guilt-racked,
remorseful father into bed — and then seduce Inga on top of
that! Her Greta may be a psycho-bitch but you'd still want to
bang the livin' hell out of her, consequences be damned.
Seduction of Inga, your mileage will vary
depending on how much Scandinavian ennui you're willing to endure
to enjoy the physical charms of Liljedahl and Sundh. Gorgeous,
ripe, natural young women (the only false thing about
them are their eyelashes) — these ladies are my kind of eye
candy. There's also the pop-rock music score, featuring a couple
of songs contributed by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, future
members of Swedish supergroup ABBA. Parts of it are infectiously
groovy; "Inga's Theme" will be stuck in your head
for days, if not forever.
Cinema's 2004 release compensates for a disappointing source print
by providing two versions of the film and a buttload of extras
among them a "lost" feature-length Sarno pic —
spread across two discs. And you'd better dig the main
title/theme song, because not only is it used multiple times in
the film itself, the DVD set is literally saturated with
it, from menu screens to supplements.
Disc 1: The standard theatrical cut of the
film is presented cropped fullframe, damaged and littered with
dirt; colors are often out of whack. It's not unwatchable but
does get irritating. The flat mono sound of the dubbed English
track is adequate but doesn't do the groovy music any justice.
Extras: Innocence Lost is a 20-minute featurette comprised
of clips from both Inga films interspersed with interviews of
the elderly Sarno, his wife and collaborator Peggy, and a significantly
plumper, 52-year old Liljedahl.
A second featurette, Memories of Inga (11 min.), is really
more of a mini-audio commentary. Over a selection of film clips,
American producer Vernon Becker details many of the nuts-and-bolts
aspects of the production not touched on in the longer doc. (I'd
like to see more DVD releases go this route, as it's a nice alternative
to full-fledged commentary tracks —
which often lapse into long stretches of silence when the participant
runs out of things to say.) A music video of the groovy theme
song also uses scenes from the Inga films. There's also the trailer
for Lust for Laura, Sarno's 2004
DTV film, produced by E.I, which will finally be getting a (much
delayed) release this fall under the new title Suburban
Disc 2 contains the "Grindhouse Cut" of Seduction
of Inga, which runs some five minutes longer. It may not
be what director Sarno intended but it's the best way to the watch
the movie. (At least for now.) While the audio is on par with
the Disc 1 feature, the letterboxed print, although a bit rough-looking
in the opening minutes, is far superior in terms of image quality.
Ironically this version, sexed up with inserts for the American
raincoat crowd, is much nastier and kinkier than the original
edit shown in the supposedly more permissive European countries.
Besides the more explicit body double footage, a couple of key
lines of dialog are changed —
in the standard cut, Greta is merely Stig's former stepdaughter.
The Grindhouse version makes it quite plain that the blonde sexpot
is his "own flesh and blood." (To make things even more
confusing, the American trailer refers to Inga as "hungering
for the arms of her father" when it's actually Greta
who's the incestuous slut.) Extras: An entire bonus feature film,
the "lost" made-in-Sweden Sarno title
Indelicate Balance (88 minutes; 1969), is included, along
with an optional audio commentary featuring film historian Gary
Huggins, E.I. producer David Fine and Peggy Sarno. (In all honesty
I skimmed rapidly through most of this film; it seems to be a
rather turgid psychosexual drama with very little sex in it.).
The set wraps up with trailers for seven other Sarno films (to
include two different trailers for the original Inga)
and 13 for E.I. productions
skin-filled trailers in all, with many of the latter prominently
featuring former Seduction Cinema starlet Misty Mundae. Finally,
a 12-page illustrated booklet of liner notes by sexploitation
scholar Michael J. Bowen imparts further info on Sarno, Seduction
of Inga and Indelicate Balance.
As of 2009 the set reviewed above was OOP. In August 2012 Retro-Seduction
is reissuing the same discs as part of the Inga
Collection, which will also include the original 1968 film.