Plot: friends, family and other lovers - and heroin too.
Sängkamrater (or Bedfellows, released for reasons unknown in the English-speaking world under the porntastic title Wide Open) reunited Christina Lindberg with Finnish director Gustav Wiklund for what was to be the last of her prime titles during her initial run. Lindberg had worked with Wiklund on Exponerad (1971) three years before and saw her back in familiar territory. After her excursion into Japan that was Journey to Japan (1973) and Sex and Fury (1973), as well as her induction into German softcore with Schoolgirl Report Part 4: What Drives Parents to Despair (1972), Secrets of Sweet Sixteen (1973), and Schoolgirl Report 7 (1974) Christina returned home to Sweden. There she would launch herself to cult cinema superstardom with Thriller – A Cruel Picture (1973), Anita Swedish Nymphet (1973), and the Shirley Corrigan romp Around the World with Fanny Hill (1974). Wide Open could, nay, should have been Lindberg’s last hurrah and the Three the Hard Way (1974) of Nordporn, except that neither of the Maries Liljedahl or Forså, were nowhere to be seen. In the year that ABBA rose to worldwide prominence by winning the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo” Lindberg was just about to fall into certain obscurity and irrelevance.
The other big name here is auburn haired demi-goddess Solveig Andersson. Andersson, of course, was Eva (1969) and had starred in the Danish-Swedish classic Dagmar's Hot Pants, Inc. (1971). It wasn’t even her first time supporting Lindberg as she had already done so in the contemptible and widely derided rape revenge caper Thriller – A Cruel Picture (1973) the year before. For lack of a better descriptor Wide Open is kind of a Swedish precursor to Popcorn and Ice-Cream (1978), although this being Scandinavian (and not German, Italian or British) it’s far from cheery.
For Gustav Wiklund this was supposed to be his pièce de résistance, his masterwork as he not only directed, but took to writing and producing it as well. Not that anyone could blame him. What would you do if you had Christina Lindberg and Solveig Andersson running around the set half-naked? In one of life’s bitter ironies Wide Open has become something of a forgotten title, as it’s seldom talked about when discussing the Lindberg and Andersson canon. For those hoping to see Christina Lindberg and Solveig Andersson engaging in extensive mutual groping will be sorely disappointed as no such thing will be forthcoming. Wide Open sort of bounces and straddles around (both in the literal and figurative sense) aimlessly before finally deciding what it wants to be. Not that that warrants the effort of seeking it out. Wide Open has been relegated to obscurity for a reason. This is the sort of thing you don't want to dirty up your resumé.
Paul (Kent-Arne Dahlgren) is an unambitious taxi driver in the capital of Stockholm. One day he picks up his bewildered alcoholist father Ollie (Âke Fridell) at a horse race and brings him to his apartment. In the apartment Paul’s journalist girlfriend Marianne (Solveig Andersson) is in the habit of wandering around naked, and she’s none too pleased with the improvised arrangement of having his father sleep off his hangover. Things don’t improve between the young lovers when Ollie suddenly assaults Marianne for no discernable reason. Thankfully Paul is able to intervene. To ease the tensions and diffuse to quarrel the two decide to go to a party. While Paul is in another room making out with a willing and able blonde girl Marianne runs into her free-spirited, promiscuous, and libertine sister Beryl (Gunilla Larsson). Things take a turn for the complicated when Marianne and Beryl’s parents (Per-Axel Arosenius and Karin Miller) come to visit unexpectedly the next morning and an impromptu birthday party is hastily thrown to fake that their relationship is at least halfway functional.
The following morning Paul wakes up between a naked Marianne and Beryl. Seething with anger and jealousy Marianne then departs for Copenhagen, Denmark on a work assignment. Beryl is an aspiring actress that has taken up nude modeling to pay the bills. When she picks up her friend Eva (Christina Lindberg) at the airport she speaks about her modeling work, and Eva’s all ears to make some money on the side. As it happens Eva is in an abusive relationship with Peter (Leif Ahrle) who degrades her in various ways and insists she do housekeeping chores au naturel. Beryl tries to seduce Paul, but he’s far more interested in Eva. Meanwhile the two girls go the studio of Mr. X (Jan-Olof Rydqvist) to shoot another nude spread. Afterwards Beryl is offered a stripping assignment at a gentlemen’s convention. On the way home she’s picked up by overweight bald deviant Leonard (Sture Ström) who locks her up and whips her. Beryl manages to escape and to hide her modesty grabs the nearest fur coat. What Beryl doesn’t know is that said coat has heroin hidden in the lining. When his shipment doesn’t arrive Mr. X dispatches his enforcer (Tor Isedal) to locate the missing heroin. He forces Marianne, Beryl, and Eva at gunpoint into a bout of bottomless go-go dancing to ensure they aren't carrying any of the goods….
Wide Open may be somewhat forgotten in the annals of Nordporn, it does feature a whole host of familiar faces. First, there are Tor Isedal from Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring (1960) and Exponerad (1971), and Åke Fridell from The Seventh Seal (1957), and Dagmar's Hot Pants, Inc. (1971). Back once again is character actor Per-Axel Arosenius from Alfred Hitchcock's Topaz (1969) and who played fatherly roles to Lindberg in Maid in Sweden (1971) and Thriller – A Cruel Picture (1973). Jan-Olof Rydqvist had crossed paths with Solveig Andersson in Eva (1969) and with Christina Lindberg in Anita Swedish Nymphet (1973). The remainder of the cast consists of television actors Robert Sjöblom and Gunilla Larsson. Despite their presence here Sjöblom and Larsson had and build extensive careers in television afterwards. As for svenske skønhed Christina Lindberg and Solveig Andersson, both were well past the apex of their respective careers. Lindberg’s initial run ended with a disappointing thud as she has more of a supporting role here, and she’s given little to do besides bouncing and strutting around naked. The same goes for Andersson, whose star burned bright and fierce in Eva (1969), something which her subsequent roles never were able to consolidate. Compared to both Gunilla Larsson was, while not exactly unattractive, on the plain side of average. That Wide Open gets the most out of her is with good reason too. In stark contrast to Andersson and Lindberg, Larsson could actually, you know, act.
Swedish erotica has the tendency to be downbeat and depressing most of the time. Unlike German, Italian, and British sexploitationers of the day Wide Open is about as far from fun and breezy as you could get. At least the whole fur coat plotpoint was used to far greater effect in the Cine-S classic The Hot Girl Juliet (1981) (with the triarchy of Iberian softcore sex goddesses Eva Lyberten, Andrea Albani, and Vicky Palma). There’s ample opportunity to get an eyeful of bröst and röv from the two main flicka. Typically, it’s Lindberg for the former and Andersson for the latter. Not that we would want it any other way, but by 1974 the whole spiel was getting kind of old. No wonder Gustav Wiklund grabbed every opportunity to have Solveig Andersson cavorting around completely nude.
Five long years had passed since Eva (1969) and Wide Open consistently fails to capture her beauty. Which is strange considering director of photography Max Wilén was behind the lens here too. Even Christina Lindberg looks more bored and boring than ever. Dog Days (1970), Sex at the Olympics (1972) or Love In 3-D (1974) this most certainly is not. Wide Open didn't even have a gimmick the way the amiable and psychotronic Four Dimensions of Greta (1972) had. This is one of those titles that is long overdue for an extensive restoration and high-end 4/8k remastering complete with digital color correction and improved audio. In recent years Christina Lindberg has been vocal in her disdain for Wide Open and has openly expressed her discontent and disappointment with how it turned out. It’s not exactly hard to see why she would feel that way. Wide Open was so cheap it couldn’t even afford a decent poster – and recent DVD releases have been forced to use images from Lindberg’s nude spreads of the day instead. In the Lindberg canon this is probably the most impoverished, incoherent, and lazy of all her prime features.