The Film (5/5)
When EuroCultAV launched in 2009 one of the first disc we reviewed was Severin's DVD edition of the Danish film classic(yes, classic), The Sinful Dwarf. It has been 7 years since that already excellent release, and Severin have seen fit to go back to that Dwarven well to upgrade the film to an epic Blu-ray edition.
The Sinful Dwarf stars Torben Bille as Olaf, a disturbed dwarf who lives with his former lounge singer mother Lila Lash in an old boarding house that they use as a front for a prostitution ring. While, they do rent rooms, they seem to get more business from their hidden attic room which they keep supplied with young women, which Olaf tricks back to the house by playing with his mechanical dog in the street and acting lost, and needing help home (that's my takeaway at least). Once there he renders them unconscious, and injects them with heroin (supplied by a dealer known as Santa Claus) , to get them addicted to the drug, and reliant on Olaf for their next fix.
Into this shady scenario come Mary and Peter, a pair of unemployed newlyweds who can't afford a decent place to live, and move into Lila Lash's boarding house while they try and get on their feet. Eventually Peter puts his writing career on hold, and gets a job with Santa Claus unknowingly smuggling heroin in stuffed animals around western Europe. While he is away curiosity gets the best of Mary, and she begins to explore the boarding house, and ends up kidnapped, strung out, and part of the sex ring herself. Upon Peter's return they try to make it seem like she ran away, but Peter is not soon to give up, and begins to investigate his wife's disappearance.
I would describe The Sinful Dwarf it as a love it, or hate it affair, and if you hate it I hear Netflix has this show called Fuller House for you. The film has a very minor plot involving and Mary and Peter's plight, but it's just enough to get us on board with them, and use their story to drive things to a conclusion. The film really can be boiled down to 2 elements, Olaf being creepy, weird, and sleazy, and the sexual antics going on in the attic room. In between those moments we get bits like Lila Lash doing her old lounge routine while Olaf plays the piano, and a friend of Lila’s watches on.
Overall, anything I write here is less than the experience of watching the film. So if you like sleazy cinema, and haven't seen the Sinful Dwarf my recommendation is to stop reading and start watching, because this is The Wicker Man of sleaze films. There is nothing else like it.
The Blu-ray from Severin Films is presented a 1:33:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer and looks, well...like the Sinful Dwarf on Blu-ray. For those who haven't seen it, it is quite a raw looking affair, but the transfer does come across as quite film like in the process. There is a solid amount of detail present throughout the transfer, color isn't a strong point in the film, and mostly consist of muted Earth tones in the background rooms of the boarding house, but they are replicated naturally. There is a natural grain field present, but there is quite a bit of damage throughout from the source material. Mostly consisting of the occasional scratch and nick, and the source appears to have faded a bit in spots, but honestly I would assume Severin did their best here, and this is the finest Sinful Dwarf will probably ever look on home video, and is quite a decent upgrade from the 2009 DVD edition.
The audio is presented in a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track in English and that is quite a solid affair with dialogue and score coming through nicely, not too much in the way of distortion.
Severin very publicly went all out to make their edition of the Sinful Dwarf the best that it could be. They attempted to track down participants in the film who would go on record, one did (the composer), but then decided to end his participation before recording so again they kind of had to it without any cast or crew from the film, regardless the package they came up with is quite solid.
The Blu-ray contains the Triple XXX version they previously released on a separate DVD edition years ago. I don't exactly recommend this version, it tends to slow down the flow of the movie just enough to change things up, the XXX scenes are inserts from a far lesser source to the point of distraction, but it is there. We also get a whole other feature allegedly made by the same people as the Sinful Dwarf entitled The Blue Balloon. We get a clip from a porn film called the Hottest Show in Town which allegedly features a young Torben Bille. There is the Severin Controversy feataurette ported over from the DVD, and featurettes on the Search for Torben, and on producer Harry Novak. We also get trailers, TV spots, and galleries.
The Sinful Dwarf is wild and sleazy cinema recommended to anyone who likes to plumb the darkest and sleaziest of cinema's landscapes. The Blu-ray edition looks and sounds quite solid, and is an upgrade from the DVD. It is also loaded up with extras including alternative versions, and a whole extra feature film. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.