Written by: Carroll Jenkins on June 20th, 2012
Theatrical Release Dates: Sweden / USA, 1968 (Inga), Sweden / USA, 1971 (Seduction Of Inga), USA, 1969 (The Indelicate Balance)
Director: Joseph W. Sarno (All Films)
Cast: Marie Liljedahl, Monica Strommerstedt, Thomas Ungewitter, Tommy Blom, Inger Sundh, Kim Anderzon
DVD released: August 14th, 2012
Approximate running times: 84 minutes (Inga), 81 minutes (Seduction Of Inga), 90 minutes (The Indelicate Balance)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame (All Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (All Films)
DVD Release: Retro-Seduction Cinema / Pop Cinema
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.99
Inga – An aging widow can’t afford to keep her young male companion any longer. When her recently orphaned niece comes to stay, she schemes to pimp her off to a middle aged lecher.
This is a soap opera, as is most of Sarno’s output prior to giving up on plot during the hardcore years. This flick is very sleazy without much overt nudity, but it is highly suggestive and understandably shocking at the time. One of it’s major strengths is the excellent black and white cinematography. As with many films of the time, the dancing footage of the wild hedonistic partiers was filmed to different music than appears on the score. That actually sounds sped up in a failed attempt to match the frantic visuals. One of the key extras is extended outtakes from this scene, again with music that hardly suits.
Marie Liljedahl’s portrayal is excellent and she exudes the innocence demanded by the script. That makes the infamous ‘facial expression’ masturbation scene work, among others. Her role is pivotal but not central to the story, that character is Aunt Greta played by Monica Strömmerstedt. Mostly a character performance, she is nonetheless well cast. One of the most memorable supporting roles is Lennart Norbäck as Lothar. He returns, along with Marie Liljedahl in the sequel.
Inga is presented OAR full-screen in the original Swedish version with hard-burned English subtitles. Of course, there’s the English dub if you prefer. Run time is the same for both versions.
Seduction Of Inga – A lot has changed in four years. Her lover left her, It’s in color, the music matches the dancing, and the plot is decidedly secondary to the sex scenes.
There are several problems with the presentation which drastically affect the enjoyment of the feature to the point where they become the main review. Number one with a bullet: there is no Swedish language version, instead we get two dubbed versions, a good source, and a beat up grindhouse print. The grindhouse print takes the quite lengthy sex scenes that already contain abundant nudity from the performers and extends them with (softcore) inserts with body doubles. This was hardly necessary and detracts from the experience. But, the good print must be called the ‘shorn’ version, because most of the sex scenes are reduced from minutes to mere seconds. A fatal flaw as they be the focus of the film. The desirable version, presumably the original Swedish cut, is regrettably absent.
The Indelicate Balance – A painter becomes depressed, unable to paint, and unable to perform his husbandly duties. The desperate wife takes him back home to visit his mother. Uh oh.
Now, this is one of, if not THE Sarnos masterpiece, one which achieves his goals of emotion heavy plotting with eccentric but engaging and iconic characters. It features an incredible and claustrophobic setting at an old farm that is all but buried in snow and contains sinister outbuildings such as ‘the bungalow’ and ‘the studio’. It is a gothic mystery with, of course, heavy emphasis on obsessions, compulsions, and fetishes. The pacing is deliberate and dramatic, but the dialog, atmosphere, and caliber of the acting continually demand attention. Quite superb, so why is it listed as an ‘extra’?
This is reportedly the only print in existence and it is rough, It is also a ‘shorn’ version, though it’s hard to tell censoring apart from jump cuts due to print damage. There are still several nude scenes, but one suspects that Lena, in particular, had rather more to display at one point in time. The colors fluctuate throughout, but this is the Swedish language version with burned in subtitles.
Inga is quite worthy of this purchase if you don’t already have the special edition. But the essential part of this collection is The Indelicate Balance. Yes it is censored and yes it is in rough shape. But it is so compelling and rewarding and such a work of art that it overcomes all of that. Something The Seduction Of Inga just can not muster.