THE SINFUL DWARF
You want sick? If so than this is the film for you, a sordid, ugly and
bizarre Euro-obscurity about, yes, a dwarf who commits all manner of
Believe it or not, Torben Bille, the diminutive star of
this Swedish sickie, was best known as a kiddie TV show host. He also
appeared in films like EMMANUELLE IN DENMARK and AGENT 69. That makes
him among the few principals of THE SINFUL DWARF (DVAERGEN; 1973) to
have any sort of moviemaking career, as nearly everyone else involved in
the production--including director Vidal Raski, producer Nicolas Poole,
co-writer Harlan Asquith and co-stars Anne Sparrow and Clara
Keller--evinces (according to the imdb) no other film credits before or
Unsurprisingly, THE SINFUL DWARF was banned in its
native Sweden, and released in the U.S. by trash mogul Harry Novak (of
PLEASE DON’T EAT MY MOTHER, KISS ME QUICK,
MANTIS IN LACE and many other “classic” sickies).
Mary and Peter, a young, happy-go-lucky couple, turn up
at a secluded boarding house, unaware the place is a den of illicit
drugs and white slavery. It’s run by Olaf, a malicious dwarf, and his
schizophrenic mother. Olaf keeps several naked women chained up in the
attic, hooking them on heroin so they won’t escape. Olaf takes a liking
to Mary, and, when Peter is called away on a business trip, adds her to
his collection of chained-up victims. As such she suffers beatings,
sexual assaults and unwanted shots of heroin.
But Peter arrives home and becomes suspicious when he
can’t find his wife (a fake note planted by Olaf fails to convince him).
He calls the cops, leading to a raid on the house, a freeing of the
captive women and a shocking suicide by Olaf.
The narrative is painfully thin and simplistic, which
makes for a slow-moving and uneventful film. None of the performances
add up to much, even that of Torben Bille in the title role (although
his constant leering does put one on edge).
What really sets THE SINFUL DWARF apart is its
overwhelming atmosphere of sordid despair. There’s plenty of full
frontal nudity and some surprisingly graphic sex, but none of it is
erotic in the slightest. The most memorable scenes involve the sinful
dwarf committing some depraved act upon his captives (i.e.
jamming the end of a cane into an unwilling orifice and twisting it
around), which are so ugly they linger throughout. Also noteworthy is
the dwarf‘s final leap to his death; like everything else in the film,
it’s presented in frank, unblinking fashion (via a dummy thrown off a
building), with nothing in the way of cutaways or subtext, and certainly
THE SINFUL DWARF (a.k.a. DVAERGEN)
Boxoffice International Pictures
Director: Vidal Raski
Producer: Nicolas Poole
Screenplay: William Mayo, Harlan Asquith
Cinematography: Lasse Bjorne
Cast: Torben Bille, Anne Sparrow, Tony Eades, Clara Keller, Werner
Hedman, Gerda Madsen, Jeanette Marsden, Lisbeth Olsen, Jane Cutter, Dale