Born 1950 in Göteburg, Sweden, Lindberg grew up in a working-class home in Annedal, Gothenburg, together with her sister and three brothers. Growing up in Gutenberg, Lindberg looked after her sister and two brothers, as her mother was busy working hard to feed the family. Their father was out of the picture; Lindberg’s mother divorced him because of alcohol abuse, and Lindberg always felt she had to take care of herself and her sib- lings, all while going to school to study Latin, French, English and German and planned to continue her studies in archeology. During her high school years (she was around 18 years old) she started posing nude for men’s magazines, such as FIB aktuellt and Lektyr, after having garnered some attention posing in bathing suits for newspapers. She later appeared in men’s magazines such as Penthouse (UK), Playboy (U.S.), Lui (France) and Mayfair (UK). She was a Penthouse Pet in the June 1970 issue of Penthouse.
Christina Lindberg made her acting debut in a film called Maid in Sweden (1969/1971) a film shot in Sweden with a Swedish cast by an American crew, playing a 16 year old girl from the country who visits her sister in the city and has her sexual awakening. The film however was not released until 1971, so the first film that presented Lindberg to the paying public was Rötmånad/Dog Days (1970) by Jan Halldoff, a time when erotic cinema was still relatively new, fresh and exciting, and the widespread advent of hardcore was still a few years away. Dog Days, while definitely softcore, did its bit in pushing the envelope of what was acceptable, and it ultimately became a financial success in Sweden. And even though Lindberg had only a supporting role, the film widened her popularity, and more (erotic) features starring her soon followed.
Exponerad/Exposed/The Depraved/ Diary of a Rape (1971) by Gustav Wiklund again features Christina Lindberg in the lead in a sex film about a woman (Lindberg) torn between her young nice guy boyfriend and an older man, a sadistic sociopath, whom she feels herself strangely drawn to though much of the story only happens in Lindberg’s character’s mind (but we still get to see it of course). Exponerad had a much-hyped premiere in Cannes where it became an instant (calculated) scandal – and it helped in making Christina Lindberg into an international erotic star …
It was possibly thanks to Exponerad that Christina Lindberg caught the eye of famous American sexploitation director Joe Sarno. In the late 1960’s/early 70’s, Sarno had relocated his operations to Sweden to make more daring pictures than he could in the USA at that time, and he was always on the look-out for girls who had no inhibitions to appear in front of the camera in the nude, and who had at least basic acting skills and Christina Lindberg definitely fitted both bills.
Lindberg would star in 2 films for Sarno in 1972, and while in the first, Swedish Wildcats/Every Afternoon (1972), one of Sarno’s lesser films, she would have a supporting role as one of a stable of hookers who frequently appear all naked in animal makeup and body painting, the second, Young Playthings, a bizarre tale about a toymaker and her female toys, would see her in the a lead role.
With her fame having transcended the borders of Sweden, Christina then went on a world tour to make films elsewhere. First off was Germany, where in the wake of the successful Schulmädchen-Report films a sex-film industry had developed that would greet everyone who looked young enough (which Lindberg did, despite being 22 she still looked like being in her teens) and would drop their textiles with open arms.
Lindberg starred in films, Mädchen die nach München kommen/Girls who come to Munich/The Swinging Co-eds (1972), the 4th part of the Schulmädchen-Report-series Schoolgirl Report Part 4: What Drives Parents to Despair (1972), Schulmädchen verschweigen/Secrets of a Sweet Sixteen (1973), the 3D-sexploiter Love in 3-D/Liebe in drei Dimensionen (1973). All of these films are cheesy but – more often unintentionally – funny pieces of erotica, not really memorable for their own cinematic merits but highly enjoyable seen from a nostalgic point of view. Possibly the funniest of these is Schulmädchen-Report, 4.Teil, in which Christina feels an incestous longing for her brother, but after he refuses to shag her, she has a surreal nightmare.
Lindberg’s next stop was Japan, where she made 2 films for Toei in 1973: Poruno no joô: Nippon sex ryokô (1973) /The Pornstar Travels around Japan by Sadao Nakajima and Furyo Anego Den: Inoshika Ocho/Sex & Fury (1973) by Norifumi Suzuki. Of these two, Sex and Fury is the more interesting picture, an extremely stylish and completely entertaining mix of yakuza, swordfight- and espionage-film, with heavy doses of nudity (only topless, since this is from Japan) thrown into the mix. Besides Japanese sex-star Reiko Ike as a thief bent on vengeance Lindberg plays a British spy and gambler looking for her one true love.
The Pornstar Travels around Japan by contrast is a simplistic art and heartless story about Lindberg coming to Japan and being kidnapped and raped upon her arrival … and ultimately falling in love with her kidnapper and rapist. Interestingly, this film cannot decide whether or not it wants to be a comedy (!) …
Back in Sweden, Christina Lindberg teamed up with director Mac Ahlberg for I, a Woman (1965) and Fanny Hill (1968) fame, for the over-the-top sex-comedy Jorden runt med Fanny Hill/Around the World with Fanny Hill (1974), but in this one, Lindberg’s role was relatively small.
Not so in Anita: Swedish Nymphet (1973), in which she played the title role, a 16 year old girl (despite being 23, she could still pull off a sweet sixteen) who’s, well, shagging around until she a) has her first true orgasm, and finds her true love (Stellan Skarsgard).
By 1974 however, Lindberg had grown tired of continuously undressing in front of the camera and was looking for roles that required more acting and less nudity.
The 1974 release Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973) a film that was allegedly shot back in 1972 but did not get released because of its controversial plot until now – ably showed that Lindberg’s talents went further than just taking her clothes off, her role in Thriller required a lot of acting, which Lindberg pulled off admirably, especially considering she played a one-eyed mute … but the film also required a lot of nudity. The film (in its uncut form) even featured a few hardcore scenes, but in those, Lindberg – never one for hardcore – was replaced by another actress. She even opposed these scenes, but there was little she could do.
As a whole, Thriller is an incredibly ruthless film about a mute one-eyed girl (Christina Lindberg) drugged into submission by a pimp and made into a prostitute with no will of her own – or so the pimp thinks, as in her spare time the girl learns all sorts of self defense and race-driving, and eventually, she gets back at her tormentors, pimps and johns alike. The film is violent and intense, made all the more so by Christina Lindbergs superb acting.
Thriller was followed by a supporting role in the rather disappointing Sängkamrater/Wide Open (1974), in which she had little more to do than get naked every now and again.
After that movie, Christina Lindberg’s career did rather quickly come to an end, with her being only 24 and looking even younger than that. About the wh, one can only speculate, but it might primarily have to do with changes in the sex-film business: Hardcore was hitting big time, and like many other softcore actresses, Lindberg did not mind disrobing in front of the camera but she did have her – understandable – reservations against shagging just anyone on film. And Lindberg’s appeal with mainstream (as in non-erotic film) audiences was (presumably) too small (yet) to continue her career away from erotica.
Christina Lindberg did make a few more small appearances in films over the years, including Attentatet/Outrage (1980)and Sverige åt svenskarna/The Battle of Sweden (1980) , Christina’s Svampskola (1993), a self-directed short film about mushrooms in Sweden, which she not only hosts but has also written and co-directed and co-produced with Bo Sehlberg. She even paid homage to her own role in Thriller in the 2000 parody-movie Sex, Lies and Video Violence (2000), but by and large, she stayed out of the business and had embarked on a second career: Journalism. In the second half of the 1970’s, with her film career rapidly cooling off, Christina Lindberg has started studying journalism and besides writing articles for men’s magazines, she had started working for her fiancé’s aviation magazine Flygrevyn, which she took over after his death in 2004.
Christina Lindberg Interview:
Let’s start with some biographical facts. When and where were you born?
Christina Lindberg: 1950 in Göteborg; I lived on the isle of Hisingen until I was 19 years old.
Was it there you started to do fold-out pictures?
Christina Lindberg: Eeeh.. yes you could say that. The first contact I had with professional persons in this field of photography was a guy who studied a photo school in Göteborg. He asked me to pose for some pictures. Kind of beautifully-lit pictures, with the clothes on! Then…
So you started with face pictures?
Christina Lindberg: Right, and then… this was thee first time I noticed there was a professional interest in my looks… we hired a little cottage down in Falkenberg, at Skrea strand down there with my siblings. They noticed with delight a lot of photographers coming to take pictures of me… that’s how it all started. I was photographed by the GÖTEBORGS-POSTEN (Gothenburg Post) and was a HALLANDSPOSTEN (Halland Post) badflicka (bathing girl). I believe that many start this way. I believe it is rather typical. I was also selected as a bathing girl in BOHUSLÄNNINGEN and several other newspapers in southern Sweden. At a discotheque in Göteborg I was photographed by Siwer Ohlsson. He was in Göteborg quite often. He was the big girl photographer of the time. He was – and still is – a very competent photographer and he caught me dancing at a disco and asked me if I would be interested in being photographed for FIBBAN. I’m not sure I knew exactly what it was all about… but coming from a worker’s home… and getting paid… it didn’t sound too nasty so I decided to say yes, and then I was shot as one of about six girls from Göteborg in a “picture cavalcade” and I was on the cover of that particular issue.
What year was that?
Christina Lindberg: 1969. and they also did a gatefold pin-up and I believe I was also photographed by a guy down on the beach and that picture was in another of Sweden’s magazines, called LEKTYR (Reading Matter) the following week… and I believe this was the way I got my part in Rötmånad (Dog Days).
Quite a few things happened at this time… quite fast, I believe. Weren’t you still in school at the time?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, I believe I did my last year.
What did you want to become?
Christina Lindberg: I had no idea!
What program were you in?
Christina Lindberg: I was in the “half-classical” program, and I was studying Latin! I had planned to go on studying, then I went to Stockholm and made this American-Swedish film called Maid in Sweden. I stayed at the Grand Hotel and thought that life was quite luxurious and pleasant, but I was still in school and my teachers didn’t look very favorably at this. I was summoned to the headmaster and he asked me what I thought I was doing, and said he didn’t find my behavior particularly suitable (for a young girl) and – quite naturally – thought I should concentrate more on my school work. As you can understand, I had to take a lot of time off from school. Of course they knew what I was doing since I was pictured in the magazines. But I decides to continue my education because I had promised my little mother. It was important to her.
Did you graduate?
Christina Lindberg: Oh yes, I did! It was at the time when they changed the system in Sweden. The last two years of the old system, then they changed so I kind of got cheated of my student’s cap.
You didn’t get a student cap?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, everyone had one, but I didn’t buy one – as a protest!
Didn’t you make Rötmånad before Maid in Sweden?
Christina Lindberg: No!
Who asked you about making a film?
Christina Lindberg: I really don’t remember. There was so much photographing and you became sort of celebrity… much in the magazines… very much outside school… it showed of course, in my marks and several of the female teachers didn’t like my modeling.
You were a hit, apparently!
Christina Lindberg: Yes, I really was! Everything went well. If you think this modeling thing is a good thing, of course! But there were many people moralizing at that time! And I had my mother, we were four siblings growing up there. I was a child of divorce. My mother never had any moral attitude to what I did. I have taken care of myself and I’ve looked after my brothers and my sister. My mother has always trusted my judgement. Feels quite good! There is so much to tell!
Let’s talk about one film at a time! So we start with Maid in Sweden.
Christina Lindberg: To be honest, I remember very little about the film.
How did you get contacted for the film?
Christina Lindberg: I don’t remember, but most often the film people contacted the personnel at FIBBAN or LEKTYR, who then forwarded…
They were you agents?
Christina Lindberg: Yeah, in a way that’s how it worked.
I believe that you were not allowed to have an agent (in Sweden) at the time…
Christina Lindberg: But you must have had the right to have an adviser, if you wanted to, don’t you think? I could have used a good adviser at times.
Who is Floch Johnson (Dan Wolman)?
Christina Lindberg: I don’t know! The crew consisted of established Swedish film workers. He was the American director. Monica and Krister Ekman were in it.
What’s the film about?
Christina Lindberg: A little girl on the run, I suppose. What do I know? That’s what can I remember. What I do remember especially; there was a scene in a little restaurant. I was supposed to walk around and drink a little or something like that. I remember that I drank a little too much, so I became a little dizzy. I don’t’ know if you can notice it in the film?
So your glass didn’t contain tea then?
Christina Lindberg: Then I was going to joke with the sound man so I went to the microphone and did like this… “snaps her fingers” I was not his favourite after that, as you might imagine! I really learned a lesson! I never did again!
Otherwise I get the impression that you have been very easy and nice and grateful to work with.
Christina Lindberg: Yes. I feel at ease, maybe especially with the crew, the ones who work with sound and camera. They were my confidence! I was pretty young, remember.
Were you curious about how they worked?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, I believe I found it interesting. Then, many of them “returned” through the years, on other films, so they were the ones you knew. More often than the actors, as a matter of fact.
Rötmånad is next. How did you get that part?
Christina Lindberg: I got it through those pictures in FIBBAN, I’m pretty sure. At least, those were the pictures that were laid in front of me. It was above all Bengt Forslund, who was the producer of the film, who had decided: This girl we shall have! And his decision was made from those pictures, among other things… I also has a screen test for the part in Rötmånad. But in reality they had probably been searching for a girl through an ad in the paper. I believe there were around 400 candidates who had come to a cinema in Stockholm… but I never applied for the part. Instead he (Forslund) picked me up “by the side,” so to speak. But I believe it was Jan Halldoff’s idea to take someone he had checked through the ad. So I believe he was not for me… that was the producer! I probably was some kind of sales pitch. The producer was probably thinking more in economical terms and the director on the artistic level.
You don’t know of any other well-known girls who applied for the part?
Christina Lindberg: I believe they were looking more for an appearance than for an actress, and then I was suitable.
Christina Lindberg: No, I never met her. She was making films during the same period as I. Some people said we resembled each other. We were both dark, small and tender. I think she reminds me of a soft roe deer.
Christina Lindberg: Yes, she arrived a little later. She was quite another type. I’ve met her only in passing.
Christina Lindberg: She made one short only, called Lajla 17 år (Lajla, 17 years old). I believe that’s a hardcore film. I really don’t know. Leena was extremely good at marketing herself! She also became known to be the king’s flame… but she probably came no closer to the king than all we other girls did during this period. He went out a great deal at the time, but being part of the king’s party was not something that you went to the press with.
Leena Skoog went to England and made Britain’s first sex film in 3-D, The Four Dimensions of Greta. Marie Ekorre?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, I’ve worked with her. I helped her to get home from Germany when we worked on Flossie. She was also in Torgny Wickman’s Lått Byte that was never finished.
Christina Lindberg: I’ve never met her. She was in the same period as a Essy Persson.
Christina Lindberg: I’ve worked with her. A very sweet girl! She became religious later on. Maybe she was always that way. Anyhow, a very kind and lovely person!
When you did Rötmånad you had no training or education as an actress? Did you think “now I’m going to be an actress?
Christina Lindberg: No, I never had such dreams, but I believe that I have an ability to make the best of the things I get into. Now I’m a journalist. I believe that I have a creative temperament. I believe that I was very ambitious and went at it very hard. I think it developed in me that I wanted to become good.
Maybe I was in some junk films, but they were good technically. The level of ambition was always high. They might have thought that I was deserving. I worked like a horse to do something good. I was always treated well by film people. After all, it’s very positive to think back. I mean, it could have been the other way around, which I believe some others might have gotten into. I believe my ambition might well have come from Öllegård Wellton. You know, I studied acting with her then. Around 1975- 1976. then I applied for entrance into the School of Drama. I passed some tests, but I believe my past was a big drawback. You know, now was the radical ‘70s. you can imagine yourself, with my background. Was the least accepted kind of person in those circles. The School of Drama didn’t teach the art of acting only, but they also taught a political way of thinking. I didn’t fit very well in this system, but maybe I wasn’t good enough after all. Öllegård was an extremely good pedagogue and I think she was very disappointed when I wasn’t taken on at the school. Besides, I wanted to establish myself as an actress since I had been working for such a long time in films. I think she aimed too high. I got to know several film people, and some of them said: “Christina, come back when you’ve been through the School of Drama!” My reputation wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t good either. Some people thought that I wasted myself. “Why did she appear in pin-up magazines…”
So you have done 10-12 films by intuition then?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, kind of.
Rötmånad is a very special film. It was on TV the other day.
Christina Lindberg: It got mixed reviews, both good and bad. I don’t think that people knew what to make it… but it’s the film I’m most proud of.
It was a success in Scotland! Do you have any good memories from the shooting?
Christina Lindberg: To be Honest: I knew the crew. I was together with them. I did not get close to either Carl-Gustaf Lindstedt or Ulla Sjöblom. Ulla Sjöblom was not nice (to me). She was a little bitter and a bit nasty. She was hard to work with. I believe it was difficult for her to accept that I was so young (and she was not). They were so grown-up and I so very young – you must remember that I kind of arrived into a completely new world, two days after I left school. I had no references. I felt lonely, extremely lonely, during the shooting.
How was Jan Halldoff to work with?
Christina Lindberg: He was good. He was a good “person director”. By the way, his wife was in the crew. She did the costumes.
So she did that wonderful funeral finery? The undertaker eas very good.
Christina Lindberg: That’s Jan’s brother!
Oh, it is? What about the explosion? Did you do many takes?
Christina Lindberg: That thing you did only once!!!
What happened to the dog?
Christina Lindberg: I don’t really know.
Who is Gustav Wiklund?
Christina Lindberg: I don’t know! After Rötmånad I got hold of a small, very small flat, then I found a little bigger one in Svartmannagatan in Gamla Sta’n (“The Old Town”), where I lived for several years. I got a lot of offers. I think I could have benefitted from a counsellor. I think I ended up in those films where the makers were best in promoting themselves. I was not without work!
So you had left Göteborg for good? And you had many offers?
Christina Lindberg: I think I can say that I earned my living by working for the men’s magazines. I worked for PENTHOUSE, LUI and many other foreign magazines… several German men’s magazines. Working for the magazines was the basis for my support, even if the films didn’t get much for that one! During this time I traveled a lot, and I believe I was quite well-known. You know, when you went to school and had to struggle for everything, you had to pay for yourself. Then suddenly, when you are a celebrity and you’ve got a lot of money, you don’t need to pay. Most often, when I was out; you could get in wherever you wanted and you don’t have to pay for what you eat and drink. Remarkable conditions!!!
Those who have, shall be given; and those who have nothing, shall not be given.
Christina Lindberg: I remember I bought a lot of clothes.
So you didn’t invest your money?
Christina Lindberg: No, I lived it up. Except when I was working! I believe I had what they call good work discipline. You had to, because you noticed what chaos you were living in.
Did you get together with other celebrities?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, I was often together with celebrities – and others. There was a lot of booze and also some dope even at that time. But I tried to be firm!
You mean that you said no?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, I did” Maybe that’s why I’m sitting here now.
Well, back to Gustav Wiklund and Exponerad (Exposed). Janne Carlsson was in that one.
Christina Lindberg: Yes, and Heinz Hopf.
What was the film about?
Christina Lindberg: That’s what I can’t remember. Most often, the story is not important in these films. You just flit around and expose yourself, then the makers of the film try to sell it with the help of as many attractive pictures as possible – and publicity stunts. Much money was invested in the publicity for Exponerad. Among other things, we went to the Cannes festival, and I was installed t the luxurious hotel Majestic. The others, the film marketers, couldn’t afford to live there so they had to go a cheaper hotel further away at the beach. Photographers from thee Swedish magazines followed me all the time. I was photographed on the big balcony… I was half-naked all the time. The “big” Swedish film there was Elvira Madigan.
But they had invested “in me” by having a very special dress made for me. It was exceptional! It was made of some kind of transparent stuff, with black dots. I had a coat on, because I felt almost naked in that dress. Then somebody said: Take off your coat! I didn’t want to at first, but then I took my coat off anyhow, and the photographers could take the pictures they wanted to. Then there was this publicity stunt on a pier, in the harbour where I was supposed to meet the press. I wrote 1,000 invitation cards that were handed out to the press people. Then they hired a small handed out to the press people. Then they hired a small helicopter and lowered me. Half-naked, from the sky onto the pier where hundreds of photographers were waiting. They got the attention they wanted. Among other things, those pictures were distributed all over the world, and all the way to Japan. This was one of the reasons behind my publicity trip to Japan.
Who is Gustav Wiklund?
Christina Lindberg: I don’t know! I believe that he made only those two films. (Exponerad and Wide Open). I think your friend Bertil (Lundgren) knows more about that.
Then there is Torbjörn Axelman’s Smoke!
Christina Lindberg: In that film I played a tiny part, a girl that is (or was) a character in a comic strip in the U.S. I believe her name was “Orphan Annie.”
Yes, “Little Orphan Annie!”
Christina Lindberg: She was the model. She had short, curly hair… but I had my long, dark hair. Torbjörn Axelman wanted me to cut my hair short and have it permed. Then I’d get more money for my part. But I didn’t want to cut my hair, so I said no thanks to the money and used a wig instead. Then I had a big, shaggy dog who lived with me in my small apartment. It was a very slushy winter, and I remember I had to wash its paws after we had been out walking. The dog was living at my place simply because it should get used to me, so that dog and I got to know each other very well.
What’s the film about?
Christina Lindberg: It’s about a hippie.
Cia Löwgren was in it, I believe?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, and Johannes Brost (not listed in the cast) and Ulf Brunnberg! There were a lot of well-known actors in the cast. According to the critics, it was a poor film. I’ve not seen it. Torbjörn Axelman got very good reviews for his TV work.
Now it’s time for Yusra.
Christina Lindberg: That’s a Swedish-Tunisian co-production. I was the only Swedish actor/actress. I believe it was a Swedish crew. I believe it was the first color film made in Tunisia.
What was the film about?
Christina Lindberg: I don’t’ know. I had a small part.
Were you dressed in the film?
Christina Lindberg: I was thinly clad!
How did you get in contact with Joe Sarno?
Christina Lindberg: I don’t know. He always lodged himself in a big hotel, and then he had people come t him. I think I was in two of his films.
I think it’s a little remarkable, an American coming to Sweden to make films.
Christina Lindberg: Well, he found Sweden easy-going and the girls easy to work with. I didn’t live a very normal life. I moved in certain circles. I always had a lot of people around me all the time. People found this very exciting. I’ve always felt respected. Never felt myself in an exposed position. Even today, I get a lot of letters from people living in hospitals and the like… it is this type of person who usually gravitates towards celebrities.
It seems to me that Sweden never had any of the prudishness about putting sexuality up on the big screen that other countries (i.e. England, the U.S.) had. So an American, finds Sweden exciting in a way.
Christina Lindberg: I believe that’s how it was at the time. The men’s magazines then, FIBBAN and LEKTYR, were a little taboo, but not quite.
People were reading those magazines on the trains.
Christina Lindberg: Yes, and also there were some good reports and stories in them. It was probably because of the fact that those magazines were so well established, that I became such a well-known personality. You must remember that FIBBAN had a circulation of 300,000 copies. The C.L. – were, after all, kind of accepted by the vast majority of the public. This is not the case today, of course! If you become known today in AKTUELL RAPPORT (Current Report) it stays there. Today there are no bridges between the media. In the seventies you could well be famous in a greater sense, because if you had been in FIBBAN, you could be featured in HÄNT I VECKAN (Happened During the Week) and EXPRESSEN (The Express), for example.
Well, back to Joe Sarno then! In the beginning he used professionals like Ulf Brunnberg, Pierre Lindstedt and Lars Lind. And then he started to work with amateurs.
Christina Lindberg: Well, he always had very professional crews, he often used professional crews. He often used professional together with amateurs. Actors from the Dramatic Theatre made their salaries last longer by appearing in films…. Stellan Skarsgård, for example; he started in films for Torgny Wickman and then he worked as dresser at the Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. He wanted so much to work in the theatre, of course. But he doesn’t want to acknowledge this period with Torgny Wickman today. I think that’s a little…
You mean, a little cowardly?
Christina Lindberg: I really think… I wonder who he is, really? I’ve heard that he has said, at some occasion, that they had to get him drunk to get him to participate in those films. But I can tell you that they did not have to do that! I don’t think it’s something to be shamed of! I think that instead he learned a lot from these films. I mean, as good as he has become today, I think he should disregard this.
Do you remember anything of Young Playthings? It has become a cult film in the U.S.
Christina Lindberg: Very little. Was that the film with all those masks? That’s the thing I remember especially.
The photography is a little amateurish. Not the neat pictures you’ve become used to in Sarno’s films. Everyone speaks English, it’s not dubbed. The Americans think this is fantastic, you get an ethereal feeling of non-reality. It’s a little lengthy, but you should take a look at it. It’s very especial … do you remember anything else?
Christina Lindberg: I remember very little.
How did you like to work with Sarno?
Christina Lindberg: He was a friendly person; nice, polite and well-mannered.
He resides in Stockholm in the summertime.
Christina Lindberg: Yeah, I’ve heard that.
Christina Lindberg: I think I made four films there. From the beginning I was going to make only two, but I got on well with the directors, so I did two films for each director. The films were very strange, tremendously German. The films were short, they were funny, it was a lot of uniforms and it was a lot of bouncing in bedrooms.
One of the films was in the “Schulmädchen Report” (Schoolgirl Report) series; kind of pseudo-instruction films. The producer of several of these films was Wolf C. Hartwig.
Christina Lindberg: The films were produced very fast. It was like a kind of factory made films.
Do you remember anything of Ernst Hofbauer?
Christina Lindberg: He was old and grey-haired, very friendly. I think he had lost his visions and ambitions.
Now we get to Thriller. I’ve seen a very butchered version. According to the French magazine SEX STARS SYSTEM. There are eight different versions of the film.
Christina Lindberg: I really believe that. I know some hardcore inserts were shot. They probably hired a couple from some porn club. There were a lot of couples working in the porn clubs at the time, with names like “Romeo and Julia.”
So you had a stand-in for the hardcore scenes! Did they ask you…?
Christina Lindberg: It started to get a little rougher in the films then, so I think I had it written down in my contract that I should not take part in any hardcore scenes whatsoever, but I also believe that (Bo) Vibenius persuaded me to write in the contract that he was allowed to insert hardcore. I’m not sure about this, but Vibenius was a master at talking people into different projects. Anyhow, I was fascinated by the chance to really act in this film. And also, because the girl I was mute, I could avoid my big weakness: delivering lines. So I really wanted to play this part. I was not aware then of the extreme cynicism that characterized the contents of the film, this unbelievably shabby message, so very exploitative, there were no limits to its coarseness… the film really overshot the mark. I was poorly paid for the film, but I was promised a little percentage on it, then Vibenius pinched on that because I didn’t want to take part in the fight on the beach.
Christina Lindberg: A publicity fight between me and my stuntmen. You know I had been trained – for at least two months – by the Swedish champion in karate. Well, Bosse interposed his veto on Cannes, so I said: No, thanks!
Anyhow, I was badly paid… but he (Vibenius) took out a big life insurance policy on me. I was educated and trained by taking lessons at shooting ranges. You know we used live ammunition. It was a tough job shooting with the Mauser rifle and the German hunting rifle. In this respect it was a serious production… I had a lot of bruises thanks to the kicks (recoil) from the Mauser rifle. I took the whole thing, and especially my part, very seriously. I walked around with the patch at home as an exercise, to get into the role. It was tremendously exciting!
Your character became a cult figure!
Christina Lindberg: I still have some of those patches… I took this role very seriously. I probably didn’t understand the baser motives for the film. There were some good stuntmen in the film.
I’ve heard that you have no driver’s license and still you drove the car very fast on Öland.
Christina Lindberg: Yes, that’s right, and because I had to drive fast, the commissioner of police (!!!) was lying on the floor of the car and shifted gears!!! And I drove with that eye patch on… when, at one time, I jumped out of the car in an avenue in Drottningholm outside Stockholm, and flung out my rifle and aimed at a certain point, I saw a lot of people run for their lives. Someone later reported me for “illegal threat” and I was summoned before the police and had to explain what had happened.
How did you prepare for the physically demanding role of Frigga?
Christina Lindberg: I trained in karate for two months during the time the movie was being made. One of the policemen in the movie was my personal trainer and he took good care of me, making sure I would not get hurt. I was also trained to handle weapons on that film as well. The violence in the movie didn’t bother me once I got started. I just became Frigga. The patch on my eye, I wore it even when I was at home so that I could act natural with it on when filming. For the months that we filmed, I lived like Frigga in everyday life in some ways.
Did you use blanks at this particular time?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, of course, but anyhow… in the dope scenes, those injections were the real thing, I mean, they really injected some sort of salt-solution. It was bit nasty… I was hesitant in the beginning. But C.L. – then I decided to do it for art’s sake – that’s how I experienced it. It was his (Vibenius’) manipulative personality that made me do the film.
It’s a very distinctive exploitation film.
Christina Lindberg: Yes, it’s really crude in every way.
I believe Vibenius started as an assistant for Ingmar Bergman.
Christina Lindberg: Yes, that’s correct. Ha was very good at doing special effects, and I would say he was ahead of this time. He did explosions in other films. He also did some good model work. He was enormously good at action scenes. Do you know how he did that scene when they’re poking out her eye?
That scenes is missing from the version I’ve seen!
Christina Lindberg: Well, he (Vibenius) knew some doctor, and he asked him to get ahold of a corpse to perform the poking on. So they’re really cutting (with a scalpel) through the eye of a corpse (of a girl about my age), on which he had painted the face (with rouge, mascara, and the like). You see, that’s the way he worked… I was told this story long afterwards I’m glad he didn’t do this to me.
The film was a success in Cannes!
Christina Lindberg: I don’t know anything about that, because, as I said, I didn’t go there.
The film got bad reviews!
Christina Lindberg: Yes, very bad! I especially remember Jurgen Schildt’s review. He was extremely nasty. It was not nice, but it was probably fair.
It was not his cup of tea.
Christina Lindberg: No, why he watched this film, I can’t understand.
Last year, there were some people who managed to persuade you to put on that outfit again? What was that?
Christina Lindberg: Yeah, you’re right! And then I did some scenes as Frigga again. They wrote this cult figure into their story. It went well. The old pacing was there. I had that long coat, and the eye patch. It was a lot of fun! It’s an underground film. There is one guy called Richard something. I think he works at Svensk Filmindustri. It’s a couple of young film enthusiasts… they did a film a couple of years ago that was much talked about. They are extremely talented.
I’ve heard that Vibenius wants to sell the film to the U.S. and that there are people in the States who might want to buy the film for future video release.
Christina Lindberg: It’s quite an extraordinary film… it really stands out.
The Japanese got wind of you after Exponerad/Diary of a Rape (1971)?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, there were a lot of conferences, much TV, shooting for magazines…
You did two films there?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, eventually I did two Japanese films.
One of them was Sex and Fury with Reiko Ike!
Christina Lindberg: Is that a guy, or…? In Journey to Japan I performed with a well-known guy, at least in Japan… that’s the artistic film. There was a documentary film made at the same time. I liked Japan very much. It worked out very well there. I almost stayed. (You know, I’m quite small myself.) I think I was 23… then I got the offer to do Anita. I returned home because they worked too much, around the clock… extra hours… but they wanted to use me maximally. I did a lot of TV programs. They were unbelievably effective once they got hold of you. I was exploited in a frantic way. They looked after you, but still they almost worked you to death. Still they were very friendly; I liked them anyhow… but I felt I was not going to be able to cope with it… then I decided to go home. I was a shy girl, and Japanese people are very humble and not very tall, like myself, so it was a very nice situation. After I made those two films, they asked me if I wanted to stay and sign another contract. But I got a telegram about a movie called Anita  in Sweden, so I went home to star in that. I really loved Japan, though. They were so hardworking there, too. I would shoot a film all day, and then do television appearances at night. I was exhausted.
The films you did were decent…?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, it was “above the navel” films… very respectable. The Japanese are fascinated by violence. In the costume films, heads rolling to and fro, I almost said… there was no real story in the films… they think backwards … they think differently from us.
Let’s go to Anita then.
Christina Lindberg: Yes, I did that one after I came back home. Torgny Wickman tried to put social aspects into the film. I got a feeling that the sold his social values a little, to get money to make his films.
You could also put in the other way around.
Christina Lindberg: Yes, but it’s too easy to say that he only wanted to do sex films. He is a very hard-working director. He took care of you. He was very fair to work with. Yes, he was good.
A man of the old stock…?
Christina Lindberg: He really wanted to have control over those he worked with. He wanted to own us 100 during the shooting. Then he held big dinner parties with his giant family…
He wanted you for the part?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, I think so… well, in the beginning I believe he saw money in me.
What about Stellan Skarsgård?
Christina Lindberg: Stellan Skarsgård was one of Wickman’s favourites… and he also used Per Mattsson a lot. There were many capable actors from the Dramatic Theatre.
Do you remember any scenes?
Christina Lindberg: Yes, there was a lot of sex in the film. And I was not allowed to make myself up. He wanted me “freshly scrubbed” in the face. Again, I played myself. The films with Wickman were probably the most difficult to make, in an emotional way. I felt reluctant to take part in certain scenes. I believe I have a great deal of integrity. I’ve set distinct boundaries.. I’ve always been able to keep people at a distance.
Do you know that there are several versions of the film? There is an American version with hardcore inserts.
Christina Lindberg: Yes, I’m painfully aware of that.
Have you heard any reactions to the film, how it was received by the press?
Christina Lindberg: I think I got quite good reviews in some places; but mostly, it was thumbs down.
You did one film with Mac Ahlberg?!
Christina Lindberg: Yes, you mean Around the World with Fanny Hill. I had a fairly small part. I don’t remember anything special. It took three days or something…
What do you think of Mac Ahlberg?
Christina Lindberg: I don’t remember. I think he is quite professional. A little mediocre, compared to Torgny Wickman.
After 25 films, you left the business to pursue Journalism. Why?
Christina Lindberg: I went back to school to study it, and my boyfriend Bo Sehlberg didn’t really like me starring in the types of films I had been working in. He was a photographer and journalist. I met him while I was still making movies. And you know, I had spent those years using my body, and I just thought that it was time to use my head.
The Dark Side#95