Movie Review: ‘Maid in Sweden’ (1971)

(C) 2022 Kino Lorber/Code Red Maid in Sweden (C) 1971 Cannon Group/Metro Goldwyn Mayer ‘Maid in Sweden’ (C) 1971 Cannon Films

Maid in Sweden (1971)

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Directed by: Dan Wolman (Credited as Floch Johnson)

Written by: Ronnie Friedland and George T. Norris

Starring: Christina Lindberg (Credited as Kristina Lindberg), Monika Ekman, Krister Ekman, Leif Neislund, Per Axel Arosenius, Itela Frodi, Tina Hedström, Henrik Meyer, Vivianne Öjengen, Jim Engelau

On August 9, Kino Lorber and MGM released the Blu-ray edition of Maid in Sweden, a 1971 Swedish-American co-production directed by Israeli director Dan Wolman (under the alias “Floch Johnson”) and starring Swedish model-turned-thespian Christina Lindberg and a small supporting cast in a coming-of-age story about a buxom but naïve country girl’s sexual awakening in the big city.

Co-written by Ronnie Friedland – who, per her entry, was a script girl for two of Robert De Niro’s lesser-known films in the 1960s and ‘70s – and George Norris, Maid in Sweden is part sexploitation film (a genre that the Swedish film industry was known for in the 1970s) and part travelogue; it is, for a feature film, short (it has a runtime of 81 minutes) and has a simple plot that is encapsulated in the Blu-ray edition’s promotional blurb:

Cult-film starlet Christina Lindberg (Thriller: A Cruel Picture, Anita: Swedish Nymphet) shines in this erotic coming-of-age story. When young Inga (Lindberg), a country milkmaid, visits her emancipated libertine sister in the big city of Stockholm, her innocence shatters. Possessing a luminous beauty and the proclivity to disrobe at the drop of a hat, she discovers sex for the first time and is forever changed by the harshness of her exposure to life. Some girls only dream about it…but Inga makes her deep sexual dreams come true in this steamy ’70s classic….

Well, there is a bit more to the plot than that, but it boils down to:

  • 16-year-old Inga lives on a farm out in the Swedish countryside with her mother (Itela Frodi) and father (Per Axel Arosenius)
  • Her older sister Greta (Monika Ekman) lives in Stockholm, Sweden’s capital and largest city. She shares an apartment with her somewhat jaded boyfriend Carsten (Krister Ekman). She does not want her parents to know!
  • Greta – much to Carsten’s displeasure – invites Inga to visit and see the “Big City” for the first time. Carsten tries to talk Greta into canceling the visit but fails to convince his girlfriend to do so
  • In Stockholm, Inga has some eye-opening experiences that spark, shall we say, her sexual awakening
Christina Lindberg was 21 when she portrayed Inga, a seemingly naive country girl who has a hard time keeping her clothes on in “Maid in Sweden.”

To get an idea of how Maid in Sweden portrays Inga and Carsten’s somewhat antagonistic relationship, here’s some of their dialogue from early in the movie:

[after Inga settles in her sister’s and Carsten’s apartment]

Carsten – Greta’s boyfriend: What are you taking at school?

Inga: I‘m taking the required program.

Carsten – Greta’s boyfriend: Do you like it?

Inga: Yes.

Carsten – Greta’s boyfriend: [lights a cigarette] Smoke?

Inga: No, thank you.

Carsten – Greta’s boyfriend: You don’t smoke. Do you drink?

Inga: No.

Carsten – Greta’s boyfriend: What DO you do?

Inga: I’m in school.

Carsten – Greta’s boyfriend: Oh yes, I know, you just told me. But, I mean, after school?

Inga: I do my homework.

Carsten – Greta’s boyfriend: Oh. How nice. But I mean at NIGHT, for excitement.

Inga: Sometimes me and my friends are going to the movies.

Carsten – Greta’s boyfriend: Your friend?

Inga: My boyfriend. We are going steady.

Carsten – Greta’s boyfriend: So you’re going steady… what does that mean? Does it mean you’re, ah, holding hands in public or maybe you read poetry together?

Inga: Sometimes.

[Carsten puts his hand on his face in frustration]

Academy Award-winning dialogue?

I think not.

A vintage poster from a seller in eBay. (C) 1971 Cannon Group.

To its credit, Maid in Sweden – which at the time of its release had an X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America but is now rated R – keeps the movie at a believability level of 7.5 (on a scale of 0-10), even though the story strikes me as a cross between soft-core porn and those ABC After School TV movies that showed up every so often on the ABC television network in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Maid in Sweden dances – sometimes not all that gracefully – on the thin divide between corny cautionary stories for older teens (“See? This is what can happen to you if you give in to your hormonal impulses before you get married!”) and titillating scenes – mostly of Christina Lindberg, who was 21 years old when she bared all for Maid in Sweden, but also of a few other cast members, primarily Monika and Krister Ekman, who were a real-life married couple when the movie was made.  

In addition to several scenes where we see Lindberg nekkid in all her luminous beauty – she would go on to be Sweden’s Queen of Sexploitation films but retired from the industry when European directors began pressuring Lindberg to take roles in more sexually explicit movies – the story never veers into the more unrealistic tropes of the adult film industry.

We never see, for instance, Inga aggressively seducing anyone in Maid in Sweden, and the one lesbian “encounter” (there’s seemingly a rule that says all adult films must have at least one “girl-on-girl” scene) in the movie is scary and unwelcome to Lindberg’s character.

Potential viewers who are hoping to see more, um, “sexy” action in Maid in Sweden are likely to be disappointed, but at least they’ll get to see a lot of Christina Lindberg’s nude body and beautiful views of Stockholm and the Swedish countryside.

Again, Maid in Sweden isn’t going to win any awards, either in mainstream Hollywood or the adult film industry. It’s not a bad movie, mind you, but it’s not as memorable or touching as Summer of ’42, either. At most, you can put it in the “Meh” category for its story, with an “Honorable Mention” for introducing moviegoers to Christina Lindberg’s undeniable hotness.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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