Saturday, September 8, 2012

#754. The Sinful Dwarf (1973)

Directed By: Vidal Raski

Starring: Torben Bille, Anne Sparrow, Tony Eades

Tag line: "A young bride . . . left alone to the lewd passions of an evil dwarf!"

Trivia: This film was officially banned from theatrical distribution in Sweden

Now here’s an odd, disturbing bit of euro-sleaze for you, a Danish exploitation film, shot in England with an all English cast, that’ll have your eyes popping out of their sockets. That is, if you can keep them glued to the screen long enough, and believe me when I tell you, the urge to look way while watching The Sinful Dwarf is a strong one!

The dwarf of the title is Olaf (Torben Bille), a psychotic pervert who owns and operates a boarding house with his mother, Lila (Clara Keller), which is, in reality, just a cover for the duo’s real business: prostitution. You see, Olaf and Lila have three girls chained in their attic, who are fed a steady diet of heroin to ensure their full cooperation. It’s Olaf’s job to kidnap the lasses and keep them drugged, while Lila finds the Johns who’ll pay good money for some alone time with the girls. Their lucrative operation is threatened, however, when a newlywed couple, Peter (Tony Eades) and Mary (Anne Sparrow), rents one of their spare rooms. With Peter out looking for work, Mary is left on her own, and eventually makes her way up to the attic...

The Sinful Dwarf doesn’t waste any time, opening with an outdoor scene in which a young girl, playing a sidewalk game, is drawn to a toy poodle that Olaf has set on the ground, obviously to get her attention. Amazed by the toy, she follows Olaf to the boarding house, and once inside, is lured upstairs to the attic, where Olaf hits the young girl over the head with his walking stick, knocking her out cold. Now, I say “young girl” because that’s what I assume she’s supposed to be. Aside from the fact she was playing a kid’s game on the side of the street, who else but a child would approach a little person carrying a toy dog? However, the actress playing her is clearly much older than the character, certainly over 18 years of age, and more than likely around 20. But the point is, she’s supposed to be younger, probably a pre-teen, and while I applaud the filmmakers for not casting an actress that age in a picture like The Sinful Dwarf, the very notion of Olaf abducting a child to serve as a sex slave is enough to give you the shivers. Yet this is only the beginning. The version of The Sinful Dwarf I own is the XXX-rated version, meaning I was also treated to several hardcore sex scenes, including one with Peter and Mary that’s about as erotic as watching an amateur wrestling match (Anne Sparrow is drop-dead gorgeous, but the sequence is ruined by poor lighting, bad camera placement, and frequent cutaways to Olaf, peering at them through a hole in the wall). And you won’t soon forget the sight of Olaf sexually assaulting a captive with his walking stick, one of many images The Sinful Dwarf will burn into your brain.

How does one go about “recommending” The Sinful Dwarf? Well, I don’t know. Torben Bille’s performance as Olaf, while certainly not what I would consider good, was unsettling enough to make him a memorable character. I was also fascinated by the sheer audacity of some of its scenes; I always enjoy movies that push the envelope. The problem is, The Sinful Dwarf pushes it right off the edge of a cliff, resulting in a mangled mess that’s often hard to stomach. Ultimately, I can only bring myself to throw out the following warning to those who’s interest might have been piqued by any of the above:

Approach The Sinful Dwarf with extreme caution!

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