Swedish Fly Girls

Levent Varlik, 18 September 1997

The movie, "Swedish Fly Girls", was originally released as "Christa" in 1971, then re-released as Swedish Fly Girls in 1972.

The album Swedish Fly Girls, Juno Records, S-1003, US1972.

Music produced by Manfred Mann. Album production supervision by Ettore Stratta and Robert Colby.

Performers are uncredited but include Melanie, Sandy Denny, Mose Henry and Manfred Mann & Co. The songs were all written by Mose Henry and Jack O'Connell except Melanie's "Beautiful People".

Queen Bee-Manfred Mann & Co.
Where The Beauties Are-Mose Henry
Easy-Manfred Mann & Co.
Beautiful People-Melanie
Outside Of My Mind-Mose Henry
Water Mother-Sandy Denny
The People Show-Mose Henry
Christa-Manfred Mann & Co.
Broken-Glass Lives-Manfred Mann & Co.
Love Is All I Need-Mose Henry
What Will I Do With Tomorrow-Sandy Denny
On The Move-Mose Henry
Are The Judges Sane?-Sandy Denny
Blot Jeg Meg En Mand Kan Faa-Mose Henry with Children's Chorus
Love Is All I Need-Mose Henry with Children's Chorus
I Need You-Sandy Denny
Crystal Trumpet Smiles-Mose Henry
Sandy performs "Water Mother", "What Will I Do With Tomorrow", "Are The Judges Sane" and "I Need You". There's no performer credits on the record.

The review, written by Kell (You can see the reprint of the original press cutting of this review in Fiddlestix Magazine #38) is below:

Cannes, May 15 

Astron (New York) release of Astron & Laleren Film (Denmark) coproduction.
Produced, written and directed by: Jack O’Connell. Stars Birtho Tove, Daniel Galin, Baard Owe, Clinton Greyn, Ciro Elias.
Camera (Eastmancolor): Henning Kristiansen.
Editor: Russell Lloyd.
Musical score, lyrics and playing: Manfred Mann.
Reviewed at Cinema Le Star, Cannes, May 14,’71.
Running Time: 94 MINS.

Jack O’Connell spent the summer of 1969 in Denmark. His San Fransisco feature, "Revolution", fared well at the Danish boxoffice. The Scandinavian easygoing manners, the freshly-green landscapes and the particular cool-yet-hot appeal of haute couture model Birthe Tove tempted O’Connell to make a film there and then. He approached Laterna Film’s open-minded Mogens Skot-Hansen, a production team was set up, the film was shot; then nothing was heard or seen about it till fest time Cannes 1971 with "Christa" posters everywhere.

Reportedly O’Connell’s film had an original running time of close to four hours. The editing job went from one to another until it was beautifully handled by Russell Lloyd. Al Kooper did a musical score for the film but various artistic and financial trouble seems to have arisen and Manfred Mann came around lyrics and another score with more relevance to the story line.

The woman of the title is an airline stewardess in some rather futuristic company. She does all the things airline stewardess normally never do: she flirts brashly with male passangers and give them lifts from the airport in Kastrup to her Copenhagen home where she beds down with them. The sex scenes are mostly tributes to Miss Tove’s spectacular body. The males involved are generally seen as rather stunned spectators as they might well be.

Christa, it appears, has a son by a former, short-lived affair with a young businessman (Baard Owe), but the son is kept at some rural outpost with Christa’s parents. Between lovers, Christa has embarrassing confrontations with her child’s father who is hellbent on trouble and, to prove his absolute impotence in handling the conditions of life, suicide.

Not all Christa’s lovers become real lovers. For instance Daniel Gelin frowns philosophically and insists that music (he is a symphony conductor) demands his life juices.

All the way, film is beautiful in its visual aspects. The dialog and characters are, however, so corny that they have at best camp value and provoke gigles all the way. Camera chief is Henning Kristansen but a cameraman does not, however, make a film.

Birthe Tove is a joy, a natural-born actress who has been used in other current Danish productions, such as Gabriel Axel’s "Harlequin’s Stick" and John Hilbard’s "Bottoms Up". Nudity may have been her main attractions so far, but O’Connell also brings forth an inner beauty that compares favorably with her physical look-alike, Catherine Deneuve.
From: Levent Varlik, September 6, 2002

I've received a message from Mose Henry who was involved with the movie Swedish Fly Girls/Christa.. I'm copying his message below. Some very interesting info.

Hi Levent,

Thanks for contacting me.

I was in London for 12 weeks the spring and summer of 1970. Manfred Mann and I co-produced the music for "Christa". The rythm section was the band who did the London Production of "Hair" and we used London Philharmonic strings and brass. At times a 30 piece rock orchestra for the film. I wrote all of the music, Dereck Wadsworth arranged it Manfred #1 Producer. I was associate producer without credits. I sang "I Need You" with Sandy. Sandy was ill and after she saw the lead sheets of the music she came to the studio to record it anyway, She told me "What Will I Do With Tomorrow" was the most beautiful song she had ever heard. In my book she sang it like an angel. When she sang the final take for that recording the entire studio was lifted to another place and time words cannot describe. The recording said it well enough.

I also sang lead vocals on "Make it to the Land that I Know", "She is Free", and "Love is All I Need".
The film opened in New York in Three Theaters I got to go to one in a Limo and I asked the owner of a theater uptown New York why he had booked the film. He (not knowing I had written and sung the music) said the music touched his heart. The film titled "Christa" did not make enough money as that title so it was re-titled "Swedish Fly Girls". I know that more people saw Christa because fo the new title and that is good. It will always be "Christa" to me. I have 54 pages of lists of countries from BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) of all the countries the film played in, some for over six years. The film played all over the earth for 18 years

Almost every movie since then has been modeled on "Christa" it was the first film edited to the beat ofthe music and other film makers are using a lot more music in their soundtracks. We were the first to edit to the beat of the music with "Christa".

A wonderous project. I am still doing concerts read "The Miracle Concert" on my website and "The Last Breath" film treatment it is my true story however I did not want the hassell of the publicity for that film project.

Lets keep touch perhaps I will be doing a concert in your area some day. and we could put together a video salute for Sandy. She truly has the voice of an angel.

One Heart
Mr. Moses MacNaughten
Global Producer/Marketer/Composer/Publicist
Founder One Heart Global Broadcasting Network

Mr. MacNaughten has served as Producer/Performer/Publicist for the Earth Society Foundation for the past seven years. ESF was founded by Margaret Mead and John McConnell. They established Earth Day International at the United Nations in 1970. Over the years 33 Nobel laureates have served on their board of Directors.

Mr MacNautghten has logged in over 25,000 hours as an international music and global broadcasting producer and has worked with Ford, Kodak, Uniroyal, Mademoiselle, Revlon, House of Lowenstein, Columbia Records, ABC Paramount, and feature film music themes and scores. Moses was a lead singer with "The Highwaymen" Million Record Selling 60's Folk Group 1964-68. He has performed In-Concert with, Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Dianna Ross & The Supremes, Richie Havens, Jose Feliciano, The Four Seasons, The Association, Steve Lawrence-Edie Gorme, and Neil Diamond. 

He was the CEO of his own Marketing and Media Production firm on Madison Ave, New York City. He has produced and performed in over 2,000 music concerts in colleges and performing arts centers, and written and produced over 120 songs and commercials, recording 100 of them in studios in London, New York, Las Vegas, Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando, and LA. His music has been presented in Feature Films for American International, and the USA National Park Service. 

Mr MacNaughten worked in Feature Films and TV Productions with John Avildsen Feature Film Director two Academy Awards, John Directed The original "Rocky", "Save The Tiger", "The Karate Kid Films", and "The Power of One". He composed, co-produced with Manfred Mann in London Eng, and performed with a 60-piece Rock Orchestra the feature film score for American International’s "Christa" making film history as the first feature film to be edited to the beat of the music by Russell Lloyd who edited all of John Huston’s films.

Mr. MacNaughten is committed to producing the best positive solution Global Broadcast Shows, and support Gender Balance, Cultural Diversity, Sustainable Ecology, and World Peace. Their Mission is to support people using the Global Media to promote and fund their projects through the broadcast channels of International Radio-TV Internet-Feature Film Broadcast Specials.

PS: Mose Henry/McNaughten died on November 26, 2010-Levent Varlik
From: No'am Newman, December 3, 2009

Last night was broadcast what might be considered one of the rarer items in the Sandy canon: the 'Swedish Fly Girls' film. Not knowing what to expect, I recorded it onto DVD, and today I watched it.
I needn't have bothered. We know that Sandy's involvement with the film was minimal, but in the film itself, she sings maybe ten lines of song. I don't know how I would have reacted to the film when it was released in 1970; it certainly hasn't dated well. Even the title is a misnomer: the film follows a Danish air stewardess and her multiple (but serial) affairs. Although there is a great amount of nudity (I would say that the stewardess is naked for about a third of the film), this nudity is not sexual, and one would have difficulty in characterising it as even soft porn (although of course standards were different in 1970).

If anyone is seriously interested, I could torrent the film, but honestly it's not worth the effort.
From: No'am Newman, December 5, 2009

No nudity in the airplane, although the seating arrangements are very different to what they are now.

There is music accompanying the film almost all the time; about half is instrumental and half is sung. Sandy sings a couplet here, four lines there and another four lines somewhere else. Maybe it's fourteen lines that she sings, not ten. Of course we don't see her! Otherwise the film would have been much higher up our list of Sandy artifacts and it would have been distributed years ago.

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