Christa (1971)

R | 94 or 99-100 mins | Romance | 1971

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HISTORY

Swedish Fly Girls was the title under which the film was re-released in 1972, as well as the title of the viewed print. That title is a misnomer, however, as there were no Swedes in the Danish-American-made film. The contemporary poster advertising the film added “the air hostesses of Copenhagen” to a list of cast members. During the opening credits and song, Birte Tove, who portrays "Christa Pedersen," appears in a montage showing stewardesses preparing for a flight and doing other work-related activities.
       As noted in Filmfacts , Box and NYT reviews, Christa had both English and Danish dialogue, and included English subtitles when Danish was spoken. During the sequence in which Christa tells "Ellen" (Susan Hurley) about her history with "Torben" (Baard Ove), she narrates some of the story in voice-over during a flashback shown in montage.
       The Var review noted that at one time, the film’s running time was almost four hours. Although the onscreen credits contain a 1970 copyright notice, naming “Astron/Laterna Productions” as the claimant, the film was not registered until 12 Apr 1978 under the number PA 6-337. Christa , a U.S.-Danish co-production, was produced by New York-based Astron Films, owned by American Jack O’Connell, and Copenhagen-based Laterna Films, headed by Mogens Skot-Hansen. According to a modern source, Skot-Hansen also appears in the cast.
       A 4 Jun 1969 Var article announced open auditions for the film and that shooting was to begin in Copenhagen later that summer, with interiors to be shot at Laterna Studios, Copenhagen. Although a 16 ... More Less

Swedish Fly Girls was the title under which the film was re-released in 1972, as well as the title of the viewed print. That title is a misnomer, however, as there were no Swedes in the Danish-American-made film. The contemporary poster advertising the film added “the air hostesses of Copenhagen” to a list of cast members. During the opening credits and song, Birte Tove, who portrays "Christa Pedersen," appears in a montage showing stewardesses preparing for a flight and doing other work-related activities.
       As noted in Filmfacts , Box and NYT reviews, Christa had both English and Danish dialogue, and included English subtitles when Danish was spoken. During the sequence in which Christa tells "Ellen" (Susan Hurley) about her history with "Torben" (Baard Ove), she narrates some of the story in voice-over during a flashback shown in montage.
       The Var review noted that at one time, the film’s running time was almost four hours. Although the onscreen credits contain a 1970 copyright notice, naming “Astron/Laterna Productions” as the claimant, the film was not registered until 12 Apr 1978 under the number PA 6-337. Christa , a U.S.-Danish co-production, was produced by New York-based Astron Films, owned by American Jack O’Connell, and Copenhagen-based Laterna Films, headed by Mogens Skot-Hansen. According to a modern source, Skot-Hansen also appears in the cast.
       A 4 Jun 1969 Var article announced open auditions for the film and that shooting was to begin in Copenhagen later that summer, with interiors to be shot at Laterna Studios, Copenhagen. Although a 16 Jul 1969 Var article noted that Drew Henley and E. G. Polidore were cast as leading male players, they were later replaced.
       The 2 Jun 1971 Var review noted that Al Kooper was originally signed to score the film; however, reportedly because of artistic and financial difficulties, he was replaced by Manfred Mann, who is listed onscreen as the music producer. The soundtrack consists of a collection of songs in the folk-rock style, mostly written by Mose Henry and O’Connell. A modern source claims that Christa was the first film to be edited in time to the beat of the music and that it was recorded at Maximum Sound in London in mid-1969. Modern sources report that singer Sandy Denny, who is not credited in available contemporary sources, performed on “Water Mother,” “What Will I Do with Tomorrow,” “Are the Judges Sane?” and “I Need You,” and that Henry, Mann and the singer Melanie also performed on the soundtrack. The film’s original soundtrack album was released by Juno Records in 1972. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box
30 Aug 1971.
---
Cue
4 Sep 1971.
---
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 473-75.
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1972.
---
New York Times
8 Nov 1970.
---
New York Times
21 Aug 1971
p. 17.
Variety
4 Jun 1969.
---
Variety
16 Jul 1969.
---
Variety
2 Jun 1971.
---
Village Voice
18 Nov 1971.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXT
A film by Jack O'Connell
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Co-prod
WRITERS
Addl dial
Addl dial
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit cam
2d unit cam
Chief elec
Head grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Creative consultant
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus coord
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
In charge of prod
Prod mgr
Asst
Scr girl
Prod secy
Prod secy
Spec asst to the dir
Spec asst to the dir
Spec flying seq
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the medieval legend by Tancred L'Amour.
SONGS
“Queen Bee,” “Where the Beauties Are,” “Easy,” “Beautiful People,” “Outside of My Mind,” “Water Mother,” “The People Show,” “Christa,” “Love Is All I Need,” “What Will I Do with Tomorrow,” “On the Move,” “Are the Judges Sane?” “Blot Jeg Meg En Mand Kan Faa (Love Is All I Need),” “I Need You” and “Crystal Trumpet Smiles,” music by Mose Henry, lyrics by Mose Henry and Jack O’Connell
“Broken Glass Lives,” music and lyrics by Manfred Mann, Jack O’Connell and Peter Thomas.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Swedish Fly Girls
Release Date:
1971
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 16 August 1971
Production Date:
began 1969 at Laterna Studios, Copenhagen
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Lenses/Prints
Movielab
Duration(in mins):
94 or 99-100
Length(in feet):
8,772
Length(in reels):
10
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Denmark, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Denmark, Torben, a wealthy industrialist who inherited his family’s business, refuses to accept that Christa Pedersen, a former lover who bore his son Rolf, will not reunite with him. Twenty-three-year-old Christa refuses his obsessed pleas that she return to him and yearns for a good husband and father for her toddler, who is being cared for by her parents at their farm. A stewardess at chic Astron Airlines, Christa attracts the attentions of many of the passengers on her flights, among them Umberto, who, after returning to his native Italy, impulsively takes a return flight to Copenhagen in order to get to know her. Umberto is surprised when the generous-hearted Christa makes love to him after a short acquaintance and feels uncomfortable in the communal home she shares with several other free-spirited friends. The inhibited Umberto is also uneasy when Christa later takes him to her favorite nude beach and, complaining of a lack of “mystery,” questions the morality of contraceptives. Christa gently suggests to him that morality was invented by men to control women and that he might discover that her way is better. However, when she introduces Umberto to her parents, she becomes aware of the depth of his discomfort and they break up amicably. Meanwhile, Torben schemes to lure Christa back to him by gaining legal custody of Rolf, and has his lawyer, Lundgren, hire detectives to follow her. Torben tells Christa that he is setting up a trust fund for Rolf, but she discourages him, pointing out that he did not want her to have the child. When Torben tells her that, sooner or later, she will ... +


In Denmark, Torben, a wealthy industrialist who inherited his family’s business, refuses to accept that Christa Pedersen, a former lover who bore his son Rolf, will not reunite with him. Twenty-three-year-old Christa refuses his obsessed pleas that she return to him and yearns for a good husband and father for her toddler, who is being cared for by her parents at their farm. A stewardess at chic Astron Airlines, Christa attracts the attentions of many of the passengers on her flights, among them Umberto, who, after returning to his native Italy, impulsively takes a return flight to Copenhagen in order to get to know her. Umberto is surprised when the generous-hearted Christa makes love to him after a short acquaintance and feels uncomfortable in the communal home she shares with several other free-spirited friends. The inhibited Umberto is also uneasy when Christa later takes him to her favorite nude beach and, complaining of a lack of “mystery,” questions the morality of contraceptives. Christa gently suggests to him that morality was invented by men to control women and that he might discover that her way is better. However, when she introduces Umberto to her parents, she becomes aware of the depth of his discomfort and they break up amicably. Meanwhile, Torben schemes to lure Christa back to him by gaining legal custody of Rolf, and has his lawyer, Lundgren, hire detectives to follow her. Torben tells Christa that he is setting up a trust fund for Rolf, but she discourages him, pointing out that he did not want her to have the child. When Torben tells her that, sooner or later, she will come back to him, Christa flatly insists that it will never happen. On a flight, Christa meets Michael, a young American artist with whom she commences a relationship. She takes him to a midsummer bonfire party called Sankt Hans and shows him sites in Copenhagen. They take Rolf to the park and the zoo, all the while unaware that their movements are being photographed by Torben’s investigators. Christa and Michael spend idyllic times together, camping and running naked in the hills, where Michael, who is intrigued by alternative lifestyles, discusses the idea of group marriage. Although he is only speaking theoretically, Christa asks if he would really be able to “share his wife.” Realizing that she and Michael are at different stages in life, Christa is content to end the relationship when he leaves to tour Europe. Reasoning that she needs a mature man, Christa becomes interested in a divorced, middle-aged Frenchman, Andre Terrane, who is a famous conductor of orchestral music. Although she dutifully sits through his rehearsals, Terrane, who is used to receiving sexual favors, tells her frankly that women at first admire his devotion to his music, but later resent it. Terrane suggests that she can find the maturity she is seeking in a younger man. Meanwhile, Christa’s housemate Ellen, a stewardess in training, becomes infatuated with Torben. Bewildered by her friend’s rejection of the rich and attractive businessman, Ellen begins a one-sided relationship with him, aware that he does not really care for her. When Ellen asks Christa why she left Torben, Christa explains that, several years ago, after meeting him at a school gymnastic competition at which he was officiating, he moved her in with him and she believed she was in love. However, when she became pregnant, he wanted her to abort and, against her will, brought a doctor and two nurses to perform the operation at his beach house. Christa explains that they tried to convince her to submit, but she drove off hurriedly, leaving all her clothes and possessions behind. Ellen hopes that Torben has changed since that time, but he becomes increasingly reckless with his life, driving dangerously fast in his sports car and making unwise decisions regarding his business. Christa continues to pursue a separate life and offers Derek, an Australian lawyer booked on one of her flights, a lift from the airport. Derek is intrigued by Christa, but unhappy with his work in London, and when he spends a day with Christa and her parents at the beach, he expresses nostalgia for his homeland. Feeling that their meeting at this particular time in his life is significant, he asks Christa to spend time with him. Upon learning that Christa has gone on vacation with Derek, Lundgren alerts Torben that the information they have compiled about her multiple relationships, coupled with her abrupt decision to take off work, is enough to prove in court that she is too irresponsible to have custody of Rolf. When they return, Derek is obligated to clear up his affairs in London, but before going, he expresses his love for Christa and asks that she and Rolf accompany him to Australia. As Torben’s business problems escalate, his father’s friend criticizes him for destroying his family’s two-hundred-year-old firm and the livelihood of its many employees, and calls Torben a “disgrace to his class.” Despite his financial problems, Torben continues to pursue Christa and tells her of his plans to prove in court that she is an unfit mother. Frightened of losing Rolf, Christa agrees to return to him and writes Derek to break off their relationship. When Torben’s application for a loan is denied by the bank, his company collapses. Overwhelmed by his failures, he plans a triple suicide and tries to get Christa and Rolf in the car with him. Aware only of his distress, Christa refuses to take Rolf, but joins him in the car, soon realizing by his wild driving that he plans to kill them. The gentle touch of Christa’s hand on Torben’s face causes him to stop the car, but he pushes her out and races away to die by crashing into a retaining wall. Some time after his funeral, Christa is entertaining Rolf at the beach, when Derek reunites with them. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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