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GIRL IN A SWING (director/writer: Gordon Hessler; screenwriter: from the novel by Richard Adams; cinematographer: Claus Loof ; editor: Robert Gordon ; music: Carl Davis; cast: Meg Tilly (Karin Foster), Rupert Frazier (Alan Desland), Nicholas LePrevost (Vicar), Elspet Gray (Mrs. Desland), Lorna Heilbron (Flick), Claire Shepherd (Angela), Jean Boht (Mrs. Taswell), Lynsey Baxter (Barbara), Sophie Thursfield (Deidre); Runtime: 119; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Just Betzer; HBO Video; 1988-USA/UK)
“There are many eerie scare scenes.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It’s based on the 1980 novel by Richard Adams. The German-born filmmaker Gordon Hessler(“Pray for Death”/”Rage of Honor”/”The Golden Voyage of Sinbad“) shoots the ghost film in Denmark. After a slow build-up there are many eerie scare scenes. What the film never does is clear things up about all the supernatural.

It bombed at the box-office.

The title refers to a rare ceramic sculpture, that the damaged goods heroine bids on at an auction.

The wealthy uptight prissy English antique dealer Alan Desland (Rupert Frazer), whileinCopenhagen on a business trip, falls for the mysterious German secretary Karin Foster (Meg Tilly), who acts as his translator. He marries her in Florida, but is too repressed to consumate the marriage. In London, where they reside, bad things from his wife’s past surface, such as a whimpering child magically coming into view, her regular panic attacks, her hallucinations, and, if you can believe, a throw pillow turns into a stuffed turtle. Hubby tries to find a way to help her and thereby save their troubled marriage.

For clues to what the hell is going on, the viewer has to think of Hitchcock’s much superior Rebecca (1940). That film also starred a neurotic heroine battling with dark secrets. The impenetrable plot is unfortunately never resolved here. That leaves us with a disappointing but watchable film. One that should have been better.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”