Smoke

  • 1971
  • Movie
  • Drama, Erotic

Singer-songwriter Lee Hazelwood stars in and co-directs this hippie-era Swedish film about a group of aviation workers who are upset with their boss. Exactly what they want is never entirely clear, although in one scene the ring leader, Hazelwood, playing the eponymous character, demands that the boss make the same wage as the workers. Hazelwood and his...read more

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Reviewed by W. Reed Lowrie
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Singer-songwriter Lee Hazelwood stars in and co-directs this hippie-era Swedish film about a group of aviation workers who are upset with their boss. Exactly what they want is never entirely clear, although in one scene the ring leader, Hazelwood, playing the eponymous character, demands that the boss make the same wage as the workers. Hazelwood and his comrades live in communal squalor in a farmhouse outside of a nondescript Swedish city. Posters of Karl Marx hang on the wall and dogs and lambs sleep with the hippies. The boss’ daughter tries to hang out with them, but Smoke can see that she’s just slumming, and not a true revolutionary. The boss himself is so upset by the workers that he can’t make love to his mistress. The hippies get some guns and things end badly.

Very much a period piece and a vanity project for Hazelwood, the movie nevertheless has some charm. Despite sporting a horrible Prince Valliant hair cut Hazelwood manages to exude enough cracked charisma to explain the devotion of his followers. The film opens strong with a scene of Smoke getting beaten in a burning junkyard. His battered body is discovered by 70s sexploitation starlet Christina Lindberg, sporting a short curly hairdo and traveling with a big dog. Turns out she’s an orphan. Named Annie. Fans of Lindberg may be disappointed by only one brief scene of partial nudity, but she is appealing as a lost naïf swept up by stronger personalities. Too many long discursive scenes of the hippies sitting around the farmhouse smoking dope and talking revolution sap the energy of the opening, and give the film a bit of a padded feel. Nonetheless, Hazelwood’s performance is interesting and the quick turn the commune takes from idealism to violence, and the consequences of this, are handled well. It’s unfortunate Hazelwood didn’t do more acting. He wrote the music for the film, which is more bluesy and less commercial than his contemporaneous recordings, and fits in well with the tenor of the film. In English and Swedish.

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  • Released: 1971
  • Review: Singer-songwriter Lee Hazelwood stars in and co-directs this hippie-era Swedish film about a group of aviation workers who are upset with their boss. Exactly what they want is never entirely clear, although in one scene the ring leader, Hazelwood, playing… (more)

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