Sunday, January 24, 2010

Olle Björling - a part of the swedish cult film legacy

Here's Olle Björling, a man I known for some years now. I ran in to him yesterday at Monkey Beach and decided to honor him with a post here at Ninja Dixon. Even for foreign fans of the cult cinema he's an interesting face, and he has a lot of stories to tell about all the projects he's been involved in since the seventies. 

One thing I want to ask him more about is how he and Arne Mattsson together with Rod Steiger was working on a Nazi-themed thriller in the end of the sixties. The producers, Americans and English, couldn't decide of the hero would be American or British and soon the whole movie was cancelled. Arne and his team already had shot some footage, but it's since long lost. 

Yes, Olle was a long-time collaborator with Arne Mattsson, probably one of the best directors ever to come from Sweden. He's famous of his erotic dramas, nasty thriller and movies with strong criticism towards society, government and cultural elite. Olle was always there, providing some of the most memorable characters in Swedish film history. Edgy, dangerous, controversial. You should see the stuff in Vilgot Sjömans Tabu (1977) for example, few actors would have done that. 

Here's some examples from Olle's long career.

Yngsjömordet (1966) is one of Arne Mattssons masterpieces, a grim and graphic historical movie about the last woman to be executed in Sweden. He fate was later, weird enough, mixed up in the scandalous trial around "Obducenten och Allmänläkaren" in the eighties. Olle has a small part as the assistant to the executioner. 

Next year, in 1967, Olle shows up in Arne Mattsons stylish thriller Mördaren - En helt vanlig person. Set on a train an with a murder to solve, Olle spend most of his time in the coupe making out with Christina Carlwind. Not a bad way to earn money I guess.

In 1973 he makes one of his most popular roles, in a movie quite well known for fans of European cultcinema (and it could be quite a good double feature together with They Call Her One Eye): Dirty Fingers. Olle plays a real perv, sucking on a comforter, having razors on his gloves and raping innocent women!

Vilgot Sjöman is probably one of Swedens most controversial directors with movies like I'm Curious Yellow for example. But in 1977 Tabu was released, which makes Yellow look like Tranformers 2 in comparison. Olle plays a pedophile, and the rest of the movie is filled with characters that never have been show so graphically in a movie before. The highlight is Heinz Hopf (from They Call Her One Eye, among others) as a sadistic leather gay man whipping naked men in the park. I hope one day it will be released on DVD.

In 1986 he also shows up in a small part in The Girl, an erotic drama/thriller with Franco Nero and Christopher Lee. I haven't seen it, but Olle does his job in the first fifteen minutes of the movie and is easy to find.

Olle has mostly been on the theater during his career, and is retired now. But if you see him on the street, say hello and you are guaranteed to hear some amazing anecdote from one of his cool movies. I will end this post with the VHS-cover to Dirty Fingers, where Olle is immortalized as his razing-waving maniac :)


J said...

Hell Yeah! Good stuff, and you know that Mördaren is one of my absolute faves... The day I make real my dream of setting it up as a theatre play, I'll make sure there's a part in it for you!

Keep up the good work!

Tobias Thuresson said...

Det är såna här poster som gör din blogg vansinnigt läsvärd. Underbar läsning. Kände inte igen honom förrän jag såg bilden från Smutsiga Fingrar.

Ninja Dixon said...

J: Thanks! :D I think the idea of a stage-version of Mördaren would be very effective. You need to find someone as brilliant as Edwall in the lead first too. And do you mean me or Olle? :)

Tobias: Tack så mycket, blir så glad när ni uppskattar det jag skriver. Olle är en skön skådis, och förhoppningvis så känner fler igenom honom efter detta.