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AKA In the Sign of the Lion
In the Sign of the Lion was Werner Hedman’s third contribution to the zodiac cycle, and the first that he wrote in collaboration with Edmondt Jensen. It was also the last in the series before it was reconceptualized a second time as a vehicle for parodying 60’s spy movies, and the first to be produced under the Happy Film label. (It isn’t clear to me whether Happy Film was the same outfit as Con Amore under a new name, or whether the former company acquired the rights to the Sign series after the extinction of the latter. Either way, it doesn’t appear that Con Amore released any more movies after 1975, or that Happy Film released any before 1976.) Above all else, though, In the Sign of the Lion marked the point at which Hedman and his associates finally pulled everything together, and got the premise of a story-driven porno-comedy set in the “innocent” interwar years really right.
One day in 1934, two old ladies living outside of Copenhagen, on the estate of a count whose predecessor they used to work for, decide to take up writing in their retirement. The women’s names are Rosa (Sigrid Horne-Rasmussen, from In the Sign of the Virgin and In the Sign of the Taurus) and Soffy (Else Petersen, of I, a Woman, Part II and Agent 69 Jensen: In the Sign of Scorpio), and what they have chosen to write is a sprawling dynastic romance, full of gloom and death and misery of the sort that a certain segment of the reading public inexplicably finds inspirational and uplifting. The trouble is, no publisher in the land wants to carry this book, but it isn’t until the world’s most gossip-prone postman (Karl Stegger, from In the Sign of the Gemini and Between the Sheets) comes around with what must surely be the final rejection notice that the would-be authors get a clear and detailed explanation of what the editors who’ve been passing on their novel believe they’re doing wrong. What the market now demands, or so says the letter, is “stronger, meatier, and much more character-driven stories, with lots of sexual innuendo.” Rosa and Soffy are scandalized, and the postman predictably ribs them about being a couple of cloistered old biddies who either never knew or can’t remember how things are in the real world, but they’ve got a retort that’ll stop his smirking right quick.
You remember how they used to work for the deceased Count Johan (played in the ensuing flashbacks by William Kisum, of Justine and Juliette and Agent 69 Jensen: In the Sign of Sagittarius)? Well, no sooner did they hire on as maids at the castle than they had it brought to their attention that Johan’s conception of the job involved a great deal more than the expected washing, waiting, and tidying up. Under the tutelage of Yrsa, the head housekeeper (Gina Janssen, of Sadomania and Schoolgirl Report 9: Mature Before Graduation), Rosa and Soffy learned more about pleasing a man— and about pleasing a woman, too, for that matter— than was probably known by the whole rest of their age cohort in the county combined. (The young Rosa is played by Weekend in Stockholm’s Ann Marie Berglund, the young Soffy by Anne Magle, from Heiße Feigen and Star Virgin.) Immediately after mentioning this unexpected wrinkle to their past, it occurs to Rosa that she and Soffy have all the material they could possibly need for a “character-driven story with lots of sexual innuendo” right there in their own biographies. Screw tragic generational sagas— they’re going to write a shamelessly filthy roman-a-clef!