The Sinful Dwarf (1973)

The Sinful Dwarf (1973) movie poster

director Vidal Raski
viewed:  05/26/2012

Part two of my oddball “dwarf” double feature was the Danish Exploitation film, The Sinful Dwarf (Dværgen), which I read about on the rather amusing film blog Atomic Caravan a couple of months ago.  The Sinful Dwarf, as you might expect, is more pure Exploitation than its double feature partner Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970), and you would be right indeed.  In fact, The Sinful Dwarf seems to enjoy a certain level of cachet as the crowned prince of “Dwarfsploitation” films, though how that overlooks The Terror of Tiny Town (1938), you’ve got me.

The Sinful Dwarf in question, Olaf, is played by the rather inimitable Torben Bille, who seems to have perfected his demonic leer for this film.  Olaf lives with his mother in a ramshackle boarding house, in part of which they keep their heroin-addicted white slave prostitutes who they abuse brutally.  When a young, unaware couple of newlyweds takes a room in their place, Olaf peeps on their coital relationship before eventually adding the young lady to their harem.

There is ample sex and nudity and rape.  At one point, Olaf even abuses one of the girls with his walking stick.  Bille pretty much makes the film work with his sleazy schtick, though his mother, an aging former burlesque dancer, offers further levels of perversity and depth of corruption.  It’s a family affair.

Their heroin connection is a local toy store operator, who smuggles his illegal wares in his seemingly more innocent wares.  Olaf is fond of playing perversely with toys and is played up as a horribly evil man-child.

There is some criticism of the quality of the film, but really, for what it’s worth and what it tries to do, it’s pretty successful.  If those “hot button” descriptions of the story don’t set you off (this is an unapologetic exploitation film, mind you), then maybe you should consider your own threshold for perversity.

My “oddball ‘dwarf’ double feature,” as I’ve called it, really arose from a happenstance of my Netflix film queue, not from any particular obsession of mine.  But it has given me pause to consider “Dwarfsploitation” as it is called, wondering at what other films would fall under this rubric.  Arguably much employment of “little people” in the history of cinema (and all other arts in which they’ve been used), has utilized them in exploitative ways within other contexts.  Even contemporary media continue this trend with few exceptions.  But for something to be, in particular, “Dwarfsploitation” as a specified descriptor, how many films genuinely merit that term?

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