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  Wide Open Have You Seen A Christina?
Year: 1974
Director: Gustav Wiklund
Stars: Kent-Arne Dahlgren, Solveig Andersson, Gunilla Larsson, Christina Lindberg, Jan-Olof Rydqvist, Tor Isedal, Åke Fridell, Leif Ahrle, Jan Sjödin, Per-Axel Arosenius, Karin Miller, Sture Ström, Lissi Alandh, Robert Sjöblom, Dennis Dahlsten, Marie Isedal
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Paul (Kent-Arne Dahlgren) is a taxi driver in Sweden who today bundles a potential fare into the back of his cab, an old man who has been at the races and is the worse for drink. He is Ollie (Åke Fridell), and he protests he does not have enough money to pay for the journey, but Paul then points out he is not expecting to be paid since he is Ollie's son. Now the drunken old man recognises him and Paul drives him back to the apartment he shares with his girlfriend Marianne (Solvieg Andersson), but when they get there they find her wandering through the lounge stark naked, and Ollie is so caught up that he grabs her and slings her over his shoulder. Marianne is most upset by this, and even more so that the old man will be staying with them...

Which sounds like the set-up for a sitcom, except that Ollie only appears in one more scene after this, then the movie completely forgot about him, typical of a plot seemingly made up on the spot depending on who was available at the time. Wide Open was not a tale of dentistry as you may have expected from that English language title (it was Sängkamrater in Swedish), but a random assortment of sequences detailing the love life of Paul, who gets to bed at least three women in the course of the movie, which when you see the actor is quite an achievement; Dahlgren was in his late twenties when he appeared here, but looked twenty years older, and you can't imagine him being thought of as much of a catch, but nevertheless here we were.

He doesn't even have a great sense of humour or an otherwise sparkling personality, which leads you to believe the reason these ladies are jumping into bed with him is sheer boredom at living in the Sweden of the seventies, making this a variation on the British sex comedy Adventures of a Taxi Driver a few years before that was even produced. Actually, the taxi driving doesn't take up a huge proportion of the plot, as once Marianne has been brought into the goings-on, we quickly catch up with her non-lookalike sister Beryl (Gunilla Larsson) who likes to take her clothes off even more than her sibling and has a wavering relationship with Paul in that he appears to want to share his attentions between them both and though they grumble a little, they accept that.

But the third woman Paul has his wicked way with is the reason Wide Open isn't some long forgotten softcore blip in the world of cinema, for she was Christina Lindberg, a nude model, or rather it was Christina playing Eva, who makes her living shedding her togs for magazines and films. Art imitating life perhaps, or maybe more lack of imagination on the part of the filmmakers since dodgy pornographers and exploiters of young women are also part of the story as Beryl thinks she can make a bit of extra cash by stripping for the camera, which was what the actress Larsson was doing, which really should have created a feedback loop in the fabric of reality, though in effect just contributed to the thrown together nature of the production. But for her fans, it was Lindberg who would generate the most interest.

Rest assured she was naked a lot, though now more expensive not in the film a lot, largely a supporting player while Beryl and Paul vied for the attention, as the audience you had to assume wished they'd get back to Christina. As this meanders on, a subplot developed about gangsters looking for the heroin Beryl had accidentally taken in a fur coat she grabbed to hide her modesty as she escaped from a fat man with a whip one night (don't ask), though even that was lost in the tumble of casually assembled action. It did lead to the grand finale when the three lead actresses were forced to perform a can-can in their nighties, which is not something most thriller plots could boast, and no wonder, leading some to see Wide Open as a comedy; if it was, it wasn't exactly hilarious, in fact it wasn't funny at all, though perhaps something was lost in translation and the Swedes of the day were roaring with laughter at it. Mostly it prompted ponderings on Andersson and Larsson given sensitive love scenes in setpieces, but Lindberg was shagged in a cow shed. So much for romance. Music by Olov Olofsson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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