< Bordellet

Released: 1972
Director: Ole Ege
Notes: Denmark, Con Amore Film
Alternate Titles
  • The Best Bit of Crumpet in Denmark
  • Bordellet - En glædespiges erindringer full title
  • Bordello USA, Lee Hessel version with added scene at start and various otehr changes, Arrow video 88 mins.
  • En Glædespiges erindringer
  • I Glädjens Tecken video with subtitles 83 mins.
  • I gledens tegn Denmark new title
Notes and Reviews

Notable males -

  • Bent Rohweder plays the baker, having it away with Marguerite and Olga
  • Keld Rex Holm plays the barber, having it away with Amalie
  • Gotha Andersen plays one of the policemen

There are several credit lists of this film, they all vary. The above information is based on a combination of the film's end credits, the listing of The National Danish Filmography, plus some personal sightings and deductions.

Also, the original Danish version differs substantially from the English-language one (distributed by the infamous Lee Hessel, notorious for inserting both this and that into the films he acquired). The Danish version starts with young Lonny arriving in Copenhagen, whereas the Hessel version has a long opening scene from the countryside, where young Lonny (played by another actress?) watches a couple in a haystack, and also - very bizarrely - loses her parents to some bloodthirsty pigs (of which one has the words "power to the pigs" inscribed on its back - in English). Before she arrives in Copenhagen, she also stays with her aunt and uncle - the latter tries to rape her, but falls into a latrine (overall, the talky Hessel version is played much more for cheap jokes than the original, which is mostly straight-told, and at a more thoughtful pace).

To complicate matters, the Hessel version has some of the original actresses appearing in scenes not seen in the original. For example, both versions have Leni Kjellander peeing in a pot, but in the Danish version she is naked, in the international one she wears a nightgown. The scene with the girl who picks up the golden coin is longer (including a one-armed bandit joke, where someone pulls her arm and coins fall out of her crotch). There are other examples as well. The Danish version has longer scenes as well, for example the initiation scene where the girls wear painted faces.

In brief, Bordellet is a turn-of-the-century tale of a young country girl (never named in the original version, but referred to as "Lonny" in the English-language version) who comes to Copenhagen and finds work in a brothel. The two main plots deal with 1) the country girl's initiation into "the big, happy family" (depicting lots of frivolous sexual romps) and 2) the case of the owner's death and which of his sons will inherit the brothel. A sub-plot concerns a stolen diamond, an escaped jewel thief and two stupid policemen on the case (one of them is played by Gotha Andersen, who at the time starred in a very popular children's tv-show!). It's all supposed to fall into place at the end, but the film is quite crudely told as well as badly edited (it's also, seemingly, shot without sound. Post-dubbing is often painfully wooden). The main attraction here is clearly the girls (sometimes looking a bit self-conscious and awkward) and the sex (looking 60's-style pornographic rather than 70's-style erotic). Still, it's a landmark film of sorts, a great success of the time, and it spawned the series of (much better) burlesque Danish hardcore sex-comedies of the 70's.

Director Ege initially had help with the script from Finn Karlsson (who also co-directed, but left during filming because he felt the whole thing was "just too un-professional"). Karlsson would soon direct I jomfruens tegn. Werner Hedman, director of all the remaining "tegn" films, is heard reading the owner's will in the film. Annie Birgit Gaarde, star of all the "Sengekant" films, narrates. Thus, the main roster of Danish erotic cinema in the 70's is involved in Bordellet. Ege himself, a prolific super-8 pioneer of the 60s, never made it in the fiction feature field of erotica. Bordellet remains his last film.


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