Cowboy in Sweden Film Details
Overview: Lee Hazlewood’s album “Cowboy in Sweden” Presented as a series of dreams, the movie alternates between absurdist skits and songs given totally incongruous visual settings.
Review: In light of the current resurgence in Lee Hazlewood’s popularity, including (finally) some rereleases, it’s curious that his films remain unavailable. After finally getting my grubby little hands on a copy of the COWBOY IN Sweden film, I realize how much of a shame it is that these films are not (or haven’t yet) been made more available. The film itself serves as a fine, albeit sometimes bizarre, compliment to the album itself. Primarily, this film is a music video featuring each of the songs from the album, another by Lee that didn’t make it to the album, and a couple of obscure psychedelic bands. The natural beauty of Sweden serves as the setting for much of this film, although we do catch a glimpse of Lee in the studio at the start of the “Leather and Lace” segment. As for Lee himself, the man is at the top of his game. In his black stetson and cowboy boots, he wanders about a series of dreamscapes and entertains with songs from the album (sometimes the mix is a bit different, too, which keeps things interesting). Lee is usually accompanied by at least one Swedish girl (total eye candy, of course). My favorite video in the collection, however, must be the uber-surreal “The Night Before”. Remember the album cover? That image comes from this video. The video itself enacts the song, somewhat, only on a rocky beach. Including a long tracking shot of a Swedish girl dancing across the beach, the video capitalizes upon the hazy, dreamlike element of the song. Between songs, sometimes, Lee tells a bit about Swedish culture. Nothing very profound… he speaks of the ever-changing weather, midsummer festivals (and how Sweden is dark for half of the year), The Nobel Prize (and how he should win one for “No Train to Stockholm”), Ingmar Bergan, etc. These scenes are usually infused with an element of comedy, contrasting to the seriousness of the music itself. The other bands featured in the film are pretty typical for late-60’s obscuro rock fare. In other words, they aren’t great, but they do lend to a feeling of the times. Lee’s first big film (or t.v. special) foray into Sweden is somewhere between a variety show (though Lee is prominently featured, of course), mondo film (with his commentaries on Sweden), and music video collection. As hard as the film is to find, for Hazlewood fans, it is worth it to see the man in action on the coattails of arguably one of his finest albums.
Language: Swedish, English
Duration: 60 min
Genre: Documentary, Fantasy, Music
Also known as: Cowboy in Sweden