Per Oscarsson plays a lovesick lonelybird nightwatch at a larger store when he becomes mesmerized by a mannequin doll. When he, one night, manage to steal and take this wax lady home, she becomes his imaginary friend. He is not insane, just very very lonely and isolated. In the beginning she is placed in his small shack, where he kind of talks to himself but also playfully to her.......But didn't the doll just move? The residents of the house where he lives play an important role to this story. Everybody is pretty poor, and live with their own problems and conflicts, but as the sweet and shy virgin man starts to change and act erratic and aggressive, the others start to fear the worst.
Creepy! In the hands of another director the story and certainly some of the scenes would have come out as really silly and unconvincing, but veteran Arne Mattsson treats this whole scenario with a flair backed up by the psychologically strong script that perfectly balances between insanity and reality. I consider this brilliant little film with the equally stunning Per Oscarsson in the lead as one of the strongest studies of insanity there ever was, done small scaled but with ultra atmospheric photo and gritty, believable actors. Actor Oscarsson has, from the mid 1940's to the late 1970's, been playing odd, solitude, frustrated and very eccentric characters on film in Sweden and this may for all, be his lifetime achievement.
It feels kind of strange that I, after I watched this film again, remember that in TV shows and documentaries have seen real men declaring that they prefer to live with a synthethic "doll" rather than with living women. It's as if a part of the mysteries and dark corners of humanity have been exposed so much and normalized so hard in our informative age, in such a degree that real mens' sexual relationship with mannequins can become reality TV show entertainment.
The films director, Arne Mattsson, who became one of Swedens most prolific and talented, made in total 61 films where sex, crime or insanity were the major themes/subjects, from the early 1940's to the mid 70's. In his merit list there are for many Swedes famous titles as Farlig Vår 1949, the legendary succéss of Hon Dansade en Sommar 1951 (She Danced One Summer - worldfamous nude swimming in twilight!), the atmospheric criminal/ thriller comedies of Damen i Svart 1957 (Lady In Black), Vita Frun 1962 (Lady in White)och Mannekäng i Rött 1958 (Mannequin In Red) which clearly inspired Mario Bava to shoot the first considered giallo film , Blood and Black Lace 1964), his masterpiece Yngsjömordet 1966(Dramatizing Swedens last death sentence case), Mördaren - En helt vanlig person 1967 (The Murderer - A completely normal Person!), the sex drama Ann och Eve - De Erotiska 1970 and the really nasty exploitationfilm Smutsiga Fingrar 1973 (Dirty Fingers). They were suspenseful and beautiful, and showed, when Mattsson was at his best, a sophisticated and powerful sense of "mise-en-scene".
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