Thursday, 24 February 2011

What the Swedish Butler Saw (1975)

What the hell was that then?

I love Diana Dors. She's gorgeous and brilliant in early films like Yield to the Night and grotesque and brilliant in later ones like The Amazing Mr Blunden. She went from playing pouting sex kittens to playing raddled old hags with no sign of pompousness or pretension and was fantastic as both. By 1975, though, all of that was behind her and she was reduced to supporting roles in crap sex comedies like The Amorous Milkman and Adventures of a Taxi Driver.

In some ways though I think this is the absolute nadir of her career and, frankly, a level to which she should never have been allowed to sink.

As wheelchair bound Madame Helena, proprietress of a brothel which appears in the film primarily to show off some rather unattractive girls with thin, saggy boobs, she thankfully only makes a couple of briefish cameos, but even those are a couple of cameos too many. More than other sex 'comedies' of the time (which at their best at least had a genuine sense of fun about them) this is an incompetent farce made incompetent people or - to be scrupulously fair - by people who are happy to serve up quickly shot, ineptly scripted, lowest common denominator fluff knowing that that will do just fine for their audience.

Largely told in voice over by the 'hero' (Ole Soltoft), and bizarrely featuring another cameo from Jack the Ripper of all people, the story, such as it, concerns a repressed Victorian lady with whom Soltoft wants to have sex. Creepily he does this by trying to drug her, then attempting to use a machine to pin her to a couch, and finally by tying her with ropes to the ceiling and attempting to rape her. Luckily (sic) she turns out to like all of this (as women do, naturally) and he gets his way in the end.

Diana Dors turns up at the beginning to get her girls to teach Soltoft the Kama Sutra, and then later on to convince him to ravish the lady. It's all pretty icky, not at all funny and as for Dors, I can only hope she was paid shed-loads of money to be in this abysmal rubbish.

One for the Dors completists only.

PS Apaprently this film is based on a Victorian sex novel called "The Way of a Man with a Maid". I mention this for informaiton sake only ;)


  1. Have you heard her superb pop song, So Little Time? It’s on a collection of Beat Girl pop songs (probably on Spotify) and also on Youtube. Dors and a lot of other great women of the 1960s were woefully under-served by the pop culture that made them. They were girls of such power and as they matured it was all allowed to dissipate.

  2. The only DD music I've heard is her fabulous swing album 'Swinging Dors'.

    Yes - the way in which she (and others) was chewed up and spat out was terrible. She should have had such a phenomonal movie career, but it all came to (almost) nothing for one reason or another.