MVD Visual // 1977 // 91 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // May 22nd, 2009
He always gets his woman!
For most of its running time, Agent 69 Jensen: In the Sign of Scorpio is much like any smutty, soft-core sex comedy, only with subtitles translating the Danish dialogue. A take-off on spy movies, it features broad acting by interchangeable performers, jokes that would get eye rolls in a junior high locker room, lots of naked women, and a goofy soundtrack. There's an unnecessarily complicated plot, a large cast, and more locations than you'd expect from a soft-core sex comedy.
Unlike other smutty, soft-core sex comedies, however, it also has hard-core sex. It's not wall-to-wall sex like an American porno, but it's definitely "the real deal." The stuff that's "XXX" (remember that faux rating?) makes up around 20% of the film. Happily, it's not shot in that clinically revolting way we've come to expect from pornos. At first, I thought the explicit scenes were inserts -- and a couple might have been -- but there were the actors and actresses, sweating and straining and fully loaded for God, country, and the almighty krone.
As the titular Jensen, we get Ole Søltoft, who apparently was Denmark's '70s era version of Rob Schneider. Søltoft starred in a whole mess of "erotic" comedies, including In the Sign of the Gemini and this one, which were part of the Zodiac series. By 1977 when this film was made, Søltoft was something of a "star" in Denmark, and his entrance here capitalizes on that recognition factor. I thought his Jensen character might have appeared in earlier films, but In the Sign of Scorpio was the first for this Get Smart-like character. Søltoft would reprise Jensen the following year with In the Sign of Sagittarius. Søltoft doesn't do hard-core stuff here, though he does simulate a bit of sex. The running joke is that Jensen has to "watch out for the ladies." Whether this is because the rubber-faced secret agent is inexplicably irresistible to statuesque blonde Scandinavians or if he's just an oversexed horn dog is never really clear, though I'm sure if I spoke Danish, I'd get the joke better.
Speaking Danish would be a huge advantage, as this is a fairly talky sex comedy, and like most comedies, many of the jokes are particular to that time and place. The plot involves spies fronting a health food store, a "wrong man" inadvertently providing a secret code, a sex and mishap-filled train trek, and some business with the wrong man's mother who, coincidentally, was a spy herself -- we even get a flashback to the man's conception (!!). Everyone ends up in the lair of the evil "Scorpion," with his harem of naked women and a sheik with a thing for blondes. There are a lot of blondes in this film, and the less they wear costume-wise, the harder it is to tell them apart.
All this is good and fine, funny and silly, but let's be honest: what separates this from the thousands of silly sex comedies -- and makes it worth the effort to slog through the subtitles -- is the hard-core sex. What's remarkable about the hard-core sex is just that it's there, smack in the middle of this otherwise non-hard-core movie. As I noted, a couple of these scenes seem to be inserts -- shot very deliberately without the actors' faces -- but most of it features actors who had legitimate roles in the movie, so viewing them with "an American sensibility" is a little off-kiltering. I don't know if this film or its brethren were ever shown theatrically in the U.S. In the Sign of Scorpio doesn't have the art-house allure of Scandinavian imports like I Am Curious (Yellow) or Sexual Freedom in Denmark, and it was made while the U.S. was celebrating its "golden age of porn," with films like Misty Beethoven and a multi-X rated version of "Alice in Wonderland" sneaking into neighborhood theaters. Maybe a dubbed version played the midnight circuit, or a cut edition turned up on late night cable at some point or another.
Whatever the case, it would have been nice to have gotten a little background on this entertaining bit of smut. Unfortunately, MVD -- which is releasing this as part of it Classic Danish Erotica line -- goes all soft in the supplement department. There is nothing onscreen other than "Play" and "Scene Access" options, and some badly written and hard-to-read copy on the back of the DVD case tells us nothing especially interesting. The transfer is decent and the audio is good.
While not exactly a work of comedic genius, Agent 69 Jensen: In the Sign of Scorpio is worth seeing if you're a fan of '70s-era Eurosmut. Recommended for at least a rental.
Review content copyright © 2009 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Danish)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 1977
MPAA Rating: Not Rated