In the Sign of the Gemini (1975)
By: Mr Intolerance on September 30, 2009  | 
Smirk (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). Danish DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 91 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Werner Hedman
Starring: Ole Soltoft, Preben Mahrt, Cia Lowgren, Karl Stegger, Bent Warburg, Lise Henningsen
Screenplay: Werner Hedman
Country: Denmark
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If you were to give me a hardcore porno film made today, I'd hand it straight back to you. It's just something I've no real interest in. If you were to hand me a softcore porno flick made in the 1970s, I'd probably give it a spin, because at the very least I'd be getting a story of some kind, and probably some slapstick comedy or a whole bunch of crap (yet still funny) double entendres, as in Russ Meyer's films, or maybe something a little more cerebral, as in Just Jaeckin's ouevre, or just flat out odd or bordering on the disturbing as sometimes happens in Radley Metzger's films. Regardless, the film wouldn't just be a bunch of disconnected cum-shots and a bunch of guys trying force as many things into as many holes into the one girl, as possible, at once. That kind of thing I can quite cheerfully live without. I don't find it arousing so much as just simply depressing.

Personally, I have as much interest in porn as I do in the possible existence of snuff, which is zero, beyond a mild curiosity. I'll watch a doco about porn (like say Porno Valley or Wadd) before I'll watch a porn film itself, and find it exponentially more entertaining than close up shots of cocks and cunts, or some chick with a blast of baby-batter all over her dial. So from the outset In The Sign of the Gemini is not really a film that's made for the likes of me. Oh, don't get me wrong, I like sexpolitation, but when it drifts into the world of the hardcore, I tune out. The least I can take refuge in, in a film like this, is the fact that in the 70s, girls had big muffs, which I like a lot – unlike the current trend towards female pubic hair, which would appears to be: napalm it off and make all women look as though they're children. Me, I don't like that look at all – it's all a bit disturbing and seems to me to be leading towards akind of paedophilic bent. A woman should have have pubes as much as she should have curves. The rather sad current fashionista dictate that seems to state that women should have all the shape of an ironing board needs to betaken out back and shot in the back of the head. Like I said: women need curves. Voluptuousness rules. Skinny skanky hoes with no tits – we don't want any of that. I have a full collection of Russ Meyer films – like I wanna see a washboard chest on a woman? Bah! I want great big, roundy boobies – simple as that. And further: I want them natural. Assisted breasts are rubbish; natural boobs are awesome; they're the kind of things you want to stick your face in-between them and go *makes stupid noise here*.

Anyway, anti-hardcore/anti-fake boob rant over. When I was a young fella at high school, Euro-porn had the reputation as being the sleaziest, the nastiest, the most extreme that there was, and if it was Danish, it was the kind of thing you approached with a fair degree of trepidation – scat porn, for example, or people giving horses blow-jobs. So imagine my surprise when I watched this rather tame piece of Danish Carry On with cocks and pussies. Extremity is avoided here by the kind of narrow margin that an oil-tanker needs to manouver in. Still, it's not the kind of movie you sit down to watch with your grandma on a Sunday afternoon with cups of tea – for that I'd recommend NekRomantik, Cannibal Holocaust or Beyond The Darkness, of course...

The plot to this Scandinavian monsterpiece is pretty simple. Sleazy record company executive Anthon is trying to get popular cabaret singer Dolores to sign to his label, before she signs with rival Ulrik, who tries every low-down trick that he can to prevent it. That's pretty much about it, with a healthy dollop of Carry On on the way. You're probably wondering how that can maintain interest for an hour and a half – well, I'm wondering the same thing myself, because it became extremely trying after fifteen minutes. I guess that maybe in the 1970s this might have made a great deal more sense, and maybe was a great deal more titillating. And non-threateningly naughty (in a kind of Dick Emery "ooh-err, Vicar" kind of way) – which is kind of how In The Sign of the Gemini is marketed for today's audience.

One thing that stands in it's way is that Dolores, our leading lady, is an utter cunt. A primadonna who you or I would kick to death in the street, if we had the chance. Yeah, she may be popular, but so was the Black Death in the 14th century. To have her as one of the leading characters of the film, well, you really do have to wonder what's going on in the director's mind in terms of getting any kind of audience engagement. Excuse the rant, had to get that off my chest. Resume normal transmission.

The "comedy" that makes up the majority of this film is farcical, to say the least – and I don't necessarily mean that in a perjorative sense; it's like a French farce, or maybe like the kind of comedies that were big in the 40s, and that kind of thing simply ain't my bag. Mistaken identities (using Anthon's useless lookalike, which is I guess where the "Gemini" part of the title comes from), kidnapping, disguises, an incongruous chase scene or two – it borders on the painful, it's so lacking in humour or originality. An inconsequential plot bolstered by boobs is all that we get here, and with all the logical coherence of an episode of The Benny Hill Show, albeit with really lame hardcore thrown in to the mix. Does Dolores sign with Anthon, or is she ensnared by Ulrik's nefarious shenanigans? Who cares, really? After all, that's not the reason you're watching the film, unless maybe you're suffering from Ausperger's Syndrome and made a blind buy from your favourite retailer.

Anyway, there's plenty of flesh on display in In The Sign of the Gemini, if that's what you're after – and if you're after more than that, you may be left wanting. And the singing, while I found it irritating in the extreme, seemed to fit the bill, given the plot. Even so, I'd've liked to have strangled Dolores as soon as she opened her mouth, preferably with her own intestines. You also get a whole bunch of finger-banging, which continues with an extended sequence inside a health spa, with some extremely irritating transvestite humour and pussy shaving, ultimately leading in the closing scenes to some rather uninspired blow-jobs and some poor quality fucking (my neighbours – who apparently don't know how to shut their blinds – put on a better display every Friday night, and that in itself is laughable in the extreme – not to mention being an equally laughable non-event). This is the kind of film that I'm sure they show in Hell. Bland, bordering on the humourless to me, and with absolutely nothing to redeem itself. There's boobies and muff, which are normally enough to keep the shallow male of the species watching, but I found myself drifting very quickly, as I did during Salon Kitty and Caligula. The same idea hit me as it did during those two films: fair enough ideas for a film, but poor execution and way too long a duration to sustain audience interest. I could have watched 92 minutes of static and received an equally gratifying and arousing visual experience.

Yeah, I like my sexploitation, but I like it more along the lines of Dave Friedman, Russ Meyer or John Waters. In The Sign of the Gemini just really didn't move me. Sure, there's some vaguely amusing comedy in there for the less than discerning audience (as indeed I can be after 15 schooners), but not enough to drag me up to the 92 minute mark; I have no interest in watching rooting, sucking or fingering, as I said, and if sex is on the video menu, I'd basically prefer to watch a Russ Meyer film – he knew his way around a camera like nobody's business, told a story (even if it was just shy of coherence), and left the particulars up to the viewer's own febrile imagination; he didn't have to show anything in order to get his audience thinking with their trousers. Actually, I think I'll go and watch Up! again now; that's more in line with my kind of sexploitation. It'll help to cleanse my video palate for whatever the hell's next in my teetering "to watch" pile.
The picture is remarkably good. If 70s Danish porn is your thing, then this is a film you should investigate for sure. The picture is razor sharp and in the OAR.
Always a bit difficult to tell if you don't speak the language, but I thought the audio track was fine. It wasn't muffled, and seemed to be delivered reasonably well. Sharp and with crystal clarity.
Extra Features
Bugger all. There are exactly zero special features on this disc. Yes, there is a slideshow – that is NOT a special feature – there's nothing special about it at all.
The Verdict
If you dig screwball comedy with a bit of hardcore sex, then it's probably the film for you. Me, I'll stick to my Russ Meyer films in that regard. A very lacklustre experience that I yawned my way through, basically. Mediocre entertainment at best, and a well I won't be drawing from again anytime soon.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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