The Sinful Dwarf (1973)

a.k.a. - Dværgen (DEN)

An improbably bizarre, depraved and perverted Danish dwarfsploitation film - not for the discerning gentleman. Severin US R0 DVD.

The Film

A young and out of work couple move into a very cheap boarding house in London, run by Lila Lash a retired show girl and her son Olaf a dwarf. Hidden in the attic they keep three naked young woman locked in a small cell and hooked on heroin, renting them out to men for their perverted pleasures. Lila and Olaf start plotting to make their attractive new lodger a part of their stable as well...

While the Swedish provided the world with a variety of twisted erotic films during the 1970s, nothing comes even close to their Danish cousin's Sinful Dwarf. It is bizarre and depraved in equal measure and it is genuinely worrying to consider that someone must have actually sat down and written this script. Fortunately unlike many films that try to sell themselves as strange and disturbing, the script here does show at least a little care and attention - the storyline is generally plausible and the characterisation of the couple is brief but effective and quite realistic. The pacing throughout is sedate but is broken up well with ample doses of sex and nudity and a generally weird, nightmarish atmosphere around the house. It is slightly disappointing though, that the film never descends into all out surreality and the ending is rather less subversive than the preceeding storyline would suggest.

The director is credited as Vidal Raski (quite probably a pseudonym as he appears to have no other film credits to his name, nor do many of the other crew behind the film) and he does a decent if unspectacular job. Aside from a couple of brief location shots in London, the film is set in the boarding house and this helps to give it a really claustrophobic feel. The music is particularly effective, frequent use of psychedelic themes in the scenes inside the girls' cell in particular provides a neatly drug addled atmosphere. Raski never tries to make any of these scenes erotic, instead emphasising how the girls are being taken advantage of. This might disappoint some viewers - an S&M whipping scene seems almost a little half-hearted and certainly not up to the standards set by the likes of Jess Franco while the one consensual sex scene in the whole film (between the young couple) plays out in semi-darkness so that nothing can really be seen.

Like the director, many of the actors seem to have no other film appearances under their credited names. The couple, played by 'Tony Eades' and 'Anne Sparrow' are hardly the best actors out there (Anne seems to only have two different facial expressions, normal and eyes-wide shocked) but they play their parts as best they can and she is certainly easy on the eyes. The three sex slaves are similarly attractive and quite convincing in their drug addled states. On actor who does appear under his real name is Werner Hedman, director of a couple of the Danish 'Agent 69' comedies and producer of the Joe Sarno classic Swedish Wildcats (1972) - he plays a drug dealer known as Santa-Claus. The most important role however is that played by former kids television host Torben Bille in the title role - his leering and frankly disturbing apparance really helps to make the whole film unsettling.

It is hard to imagine what the producers were thinking when they made this film - the demographic who enjoy watching drugged up, beautiful young women being molested by creepy dwarfs is probably not the most lucrative, but to any of them reading this review, this production provides everything you ever wanted in a film and is a must-have. For anyone else, this film provides a uniquely bizarre and twisted experience and comes recommended to all fans of the downright disturbing and sleazy end of the Euro-cult spectrum.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Torben Bille - originally a childrens' TV host, he also made some brief appearances in two Agent 69 films.
Directed by anyone interesting? Vidal Raski - an otherwise unknown name, probably a pseudonym. The director might actually be Werner Hedman who appears in this film and also helmed the sex/spy comedy Agent 69 in the Sign of Scorpio (1977).
Any gore or violence ? A little blood but no gore. Several rape scenes.
Any sex or nudity? Many scenes of full female nudity and brief full male nude scene.
Who is it for? Recommended to all fans of sleazy and bizarre Euro-cult cinema.

See Also:
Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970) Werner Herzog's bizarre and twisted movie features an entirely dwarf cast and has a similarly nightmarish quality to it.

Visuals Aspect ratio - 1.33:1 fullscreen. Colour
Seeems to be the correct aspect ratio, no cropping or excessive headroom is noticable.
The print is quite grainy, there is a little damage and colours are slightly faded, however it looks good for a film of its type and considering its low budget production, it is hard to imagine the film looking any better on DVD.
Audio English mono - sounds fine.
Subtitles None
Extras This disc includes:
  • The Severin Controversy. A promotion piece previously available on the Severin website, it is an interview with a fan who apparently wrote to Severin urging them not to release this film after he was mentally traumatised by a viewing of this film many years before. Enjoyable and worth watching once. 10 minutes
  • Original theatrical trailer under the US Abducted Bride.
  • 30 and 60 second radio spots - as Sinful Dwarf
  • EASTER EGG: English language television spot with the Sinful Dwarf title.
Region Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC
Other regions? Severin will also be releasing the XXX version (see note below) with hardcore scenes on US DVD under their "Private Screening Collection label" subject to finding a distributor. The film is also available on DVD in Scandinavia from Another World Entertainment - a two-disc set also including both the soft and hardcore versions
Cuts? The version of the film presented here is the "international cut". The film was originally produced with hardcore scenes shot at the same time and including the cast themselves, these were trimmed out for international distribution.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 26th March 2009.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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