An ultra-racy comedy from Danish erotica maestro Werner Hedman, 1972’s In the Sign of Scorpio centers on a secret agent who’s on the trail of a highly coveted roll of CIA microfilm he believes to be hidden in a loaf of bread.
Like fellow Tegn imports In the Sign of the Virgin and In the Sign of the Taurus, this movie blends slapstick action, comedic misunderstanding and dialogue laden with double entendres, along with a healthy pinch (five to eight percent, I’d calculate) of hardcore action. All the usual sorts of adult flick set-ups are here (some hot tub intrigue, an under-the-table encounter), but Hedman has a gift with sustaining a fun, randy tone, and seeds his work, of which this is a top-shelf example, with enough outlandish screwball elements (a dwarf assassin, say) to keep an audience engagingly off-balance.
Hedman was a jack-of-all-trades, serving as his own writer, cinematographer and editor, and his exacting authorial presence is evident throughout, as the production value, costumes and settings aren’t chintzy, and there’s a complexly choreographed ballroom dance sequence that would, were it not for the nudity, likely draw some nice scores and judges’ comments on Dancing With the Stars. Some of the ladies are easy on the eyes, certainly, but also gifted comediennes. Most engaging, though, is Ole Soltoft, whose loose-limbed work as mock-suave Special Agent Jensen Master is a thing to behold. Poul Bundgaard, Gina Janssen, Kate Mundt and Judy Gringer also star.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, In the Sign of Scorpio comes to DVD presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a Danish 2.0 stereo audio track and optional English subtitles. The main menu is animated, as is the DVD’s separate chapter menu, which divides the movie into 12 scene selections. The only bonus feature is a two-and-a-half-minute slide show of images from the movie. Werner passed away in 2005, and his frequent collaborator Soltoft died in 1999 from heart complications, making their participation in any sort of retrospective interviews an obvious impossibility, but it’s really a shame that this title and the other Tegn releases from distributor Smirk didn’t include at least some sort of talking-head/critic interviews, because these films aren’t empty masturbatory fodder. Far, far from it, in fact — I’d argue that Hedman had something few filmmakers of his era or any era since have had: a clear and direct connection to conveying, within an otherwise goofy and ridiculous narrative conceit, just how thrilling and fun sex can actually be with the right, engaged type of partner. B+ (Movie) D (Disc)