Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hot Snow, Dirty Fingers and a Trip to Hell

The title of what is probably Sweden's first drug thriller, Hot Snow, refers of course to cocaine, which must have been a fairly exotic substance in 1968. The film is an unusual combination of sleaze and glamor, and feels more continental than just about any other Swedish film of the period. The cast is prime Swedesploitation: brilliant drama actor Ernst-Hugo Järegård as the evil drug lord, spitting out his lines in inimitable fashion; Sven-Bertil Taube, son of Sweden's national poet Evert Taube, as the race-car-driving playboy; and Norweigan import Grynet Molvig as the fashion interest. Well-known Swedish writer Sandro Key-Åberg shared the writing duties with director Torbjörn Axelman, who would later go on to work with Lee Hazelwood. The review on this Swedish insert heralds it as "Sweden's first real gangster movie"!

Arne Mattsson went from almost single-handedly creating the image of Swedish sin in the 1950s with One Summer of Happiness, to popular thrillers (e.g. Mannequin in Red), to increasingly exploitative fare in the 1960s and 70s. Dirty Fingers is a rock-hard drug thriller with torture, sex, murder and a gangster who wears a set of razor sharp knives on his glove - an inspiration for Freddy Kruger perhaps? According to the Swedish insert, it was even "an international smash hit"!

Finally, the whole reason for starting this thread in the first place. I am proud to present in my opinion one of the best and most unusual Swedish posters of all time - artist Olle Frankzén's one-sheet design for The Trip - re-named Trip to Hell by distributors Corona Film! This poster was part of the Swedish National Museum's exhibition of Swedish film posters in 1983. A great, stylized image that captures the feel of "psychedelic color" perfectly...

And very finally, no poster available but here's a plug for the best Swedish drug move of recent years: Brorsan Såsett, a no-budget epic from the little town of Stenungsund on the Swedish West coast. Created by two film-fanatics in their own spare time it is a surprisingly successful drug-drenched love story. There are rough edges but the warmth and humor of the story shines through. If you speak Swedish you should check out an excerpt here - one of the funniest drug trips on film in recent memory!

That's it for the drugs for now - but at some point I'll dig out a few Italian examples, including an amazing 2-sheet for The Trip.

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