Above can be seen the novel by Folke (Kullamannen) Mellvig
on which the famous Swedish 1958 proto-giallo crime mystery was based
- or NOT.
This novel released by Tidens Bokklubb in 1959 seems to be based on
the movie and has got a lot of nice black & white pictures from
and it's a pseudo-book or film-book then i guess. The Film "Mannekäng
i rött (Mannequin in Red)" came in 1958 and was based on the
Folke Mellvig and Lars Widding. So he wrote a book based on his film
The Film is a Swedish crime classic and number two in
a series of films based on the Hillman crime mysteries written by Folke
A restored transfer was released on DVD by Sandrews in 2008 and the
colors are so lush and crisp they almost seems to jump at you (and probably
gave Mario Bava an idea or two. The DVD has got a very nice audio commentary
by Ronny Svensson and the great actresses Anita Björk (R.I.P. 2012)
and Gio Petré, the first one of Sweden's most hailed actresses
and the latter with a private life so strange it should merit a film
on it's own.
Above: Anita Björk as Birgitta
"Mannequin in Red" about the crime solving
couple Captain John- and Kajsa Hillman (Karl-Arne Holmsten and Annalisa
Ericsson) is for a Swedish
crime movie stylishly unique and looks like an Italian giallo, or a
Proto-Giallo, but without the gorier elements of that genre. And surely
visual master Mario Bava, the inventor of the genre, must've been inspired
by this film and his amazing 1964 "Sei donne per l'assasino / Blood
Black Lace" almost seems like a re-make with it's fashion house
murders but with the addition of gory killings.
Swedish DVD edition of the 1958
The Story: OK, everyone have seen it anyway, all the
Swedish gialli and horror lovers and probably also the "regular"
Swedish film audience
as the Hillman movies were a huge Hit in Sweden and they've also been
shown on TV now and then.
But the film starts with an intro where Hillman catches an extortioner,
and then a really cool intro credits sequence in Red follows.
The first model to die is Katja Sundin (Elsa Prawits in a very small
role) she's an extortioner her too and she's found lying dead in the
of The Fashion House La Femme, a fashion house that's
run in a strict way by the owner, the iron Lady Thyra Lennberg (played
actress Lillemor Ibsen). The Main Players at La Femme are:
Thyra's assistant Birgitta Lindell (Anita Björk),
the fashion illustrator Petra "Peter" Morell (Lissi Alandh),
Thyra's relatives nephew Rickard
(Lennart Lindberg), her niece Gabrielle (Gio Petré) and stepson
Bobbie (Bengt Brunskog) plus some of the models played by Lena Granhagen
and the popular singer and actress Anita Lindblom (who three years later
in 1961 sang "Sånt är livet" (You can Have Her)
and became immortal
in Sweden as it's one of the most famous songs of the 20th century here.
Anita was great 1937-2020 R.I.P.).
The Question is: Who wants to destroy La Femme ? That
worries the directress and she hires Kajsa Hillman to go undercover
as a fashion model
and to sleuth around finding the answer to that question. Naturally
Captain Hillman is handling the case too, and that means the entrance
Comic relief, the Captain's "funny" (or not, i hate the comic
relief guy in crime mysteries films) assistant Freddy (Nils Hallberg).
The tension rises when someone puts wheelchair bound Thyra on fire and
steals an ancient dagger. The atmospere is delightfully macabre when
a hanged doll is found hanging outside of La Femme, and more murders
With a dagger killing, a black-gloved murderer, cool soundtrack, fine
camera movements and bright, strong colors this
resembles a Swedish Giallo.
Above: Gio Petré as Gabrielle
Questions: Why is the fashion illustrator called Peter
instead of her real name Petra and what is her relation to Gabrielle
von Hook ? Director
Arne Mattsson toned this down in the film, but in the book it's clear
that they're lesbian lovers. There's also a long look between Birgitta
Peter/Petra at the end of the film that's not in the book or commented
on in the commentary and what was that about ?
In the exterior shots the trees have autumn color leaves
but still people are dressed in summer clothes, and at the fashion house
summer dresses in their shopwindow. In some scenes you can hear birds
singing merrily (as they do in summer) and have they used canned
bird sounds ? What about tripping on the cat, that wasn't in the film
was it ?
Bengt Brunskog was good as the very volatile and nervous
Bobbie, a guy that surely will get his own seat in the bus, always feeling
and a walking powder keg. Anita Björk - a brilliant actress, Karl-Arne
Holmsten a wooden good guy as always as Captain John Hillman, the
Swedish equivalent to Ronald Reagan as an actor perhaps, Annalisa Ericsson
was OK. Gio Petré talk-sings in the cringy bad "Oscar Svensson"
but is Hot as always and the Norwegian stage actress Lillemor Ibsen
is very charismatic indeed as the despotic directress of La Femme.
Comic relief Nils Hallberg is just too much and Anita Lindblom ... she
was so beautiful (and she should have sung instead of Petré).
The film in 4:3 fullscreen with 2.0 swedish audio with
swedish and english subtitles. Extras: Documentary about Arne Mattsson
with a 15
minutes section about Mannequin in Red and with i.a. fashion designer
Mago, 6 minutes "About Arne" where Ronny Svensson tells us
about the director, 12 minutes about the clothes of Mago, poster and
press stuff, and finally the best - the audio commentary with Ronny
Svensson, Anita Björk and Gio Petré. A nice DVD release
by Sandrews and Ronny Svensson is always great
Tärningen är kastad
(The Die is Cast, 1960) Direction: Rolf Husberg
In the audio commentary to "Mannequin in Red"
the three, Ronny, Gio and Anita, talk about other Swedish directors
of crime, and Gio Petré
mentions Rolf Husberg who made the excellent 1956 thriller "Moln
over Hellesta" and with Anita Björk in the main role. She
the entertaining but forgotten 1960 crime mystery "Tärningen
är kastad" also directed by Husberg. When i watched this film,
which have a
bunch of Sweden's best film and theatre actors in it, i couldn't help
notice that there's a scene with the murderer wearing black gloves and
also there's a really cool camera glide movement from actress Sif Ruud
standing at the window to the next apartment - very Gialli-esque.
But Anita Björk on that audio commentary says she can't remember
that film (but she played the role of Rebecka Striid and Gio was Monica.
The Killer Wears Gloves
The Film starts with a series of ridiculously weird
murders taking place in well known Stockholm settings as the subway,
the Parliament House
and the Central Bath house, committed by a mysterious man. WTF is this,
am i watching a grade Z movie ? But No, it was a shot of an episode
to the Crime TV series "Tärningen är kastad" presented
by Jerk Domare (Åke Falck), a program of the "Alfred Hitchcock
We have Åke Falck as the TV presenter and the writer, Anita Björk
as the actress Rebecka, gorgeous Gio Petré as the script supervisor
Sven Lindberg as Holger the camera man, Jan Malmsjö as the sound
The film takes place mainly in the Stockholm Old Town where we get to
know the Bohemians, the tourist guide Björk and the poet Dag (played
by two of our greatest theatre actors Toiwo Pablo and Allan Edwall)
and they are brilliant.
The actress Inger Brett has disappeared from her apartment
in Old Town and when the sound technician of the TV show, Leif Hagman
by Jan Malmsjö (i.a. "Fanny and Alexander") is found
dead, hanged, Åke Falck's Jerk Domare starts sleuthing around
on his own annoying
the investigating cop Odd (Sigge Fürst). Jerk is an odd man as
he always is thinking of new bizarre murder methods for his show.
So, is this 1960 film a Proto-Giallo like it's Mattsson predecessor
the 1958 "Mannequin in Red" ? No, even though the killer wears
film is very uneven and lacks the macabre style of a giallo, and a horde
of Swedens greatest actors and actresses doesn't make it work either.
The Script was written by Vic Sunesson
and Kerstin Ekman and it should've been great
as Sunesson during the 1950's was on of Swedens
most renowned crime writers and Ekman would only a few years later start
on her classic crime trilogy "De tre små mästarna, 1961",
brinnande ugnen, 1962" and "Dödsklockan, 1963" maybe
the best or among the best crime novels ever written in Sweden.
Also, the settings in Old Town is not used in the best way, and who's
to blame, the director or the script ? But, if you want to see many
greatest actors in the same film, or just to look at gorgeous Gio Petré
"Tärningen är kastad" could be worth a watch