FILM RESTORATIONS

RADLEY METZGER’s SCORE

by the CINEFAMILY and CULT EPICS

What a great screening, the film looks very good on Blu Ray, the colors are very rich and there was still a nice film quality. All in all , it was an incredibly pleasant event. Radley Metzger did a very entertaining Q/A after the screening and was greeting guests on the patio. I found the film to be entertaining and actually very erotic, and the night was great. And finally, I got my picture……..Radley Metzger is a living legend!

@2010 Evart Enterprises

@2010 Evart Enterprises

 

4 replies »

  1. i really need to be paying closer attention…it’s awesome to see Score hit Blu-Ray with extras, but i can’t believe i missed the news until now. i’ll be especially interested to see what the “original theatrical cut” of the film is. there’s a number of different edits floating around from throughout the years. Score was only the second metzger film i ever saw (technically, the third, but we’ll get to that). back in the late 80’s – i watched porn, naturally, but was a little kid in the 70’s – i was a little tired of the usual, and even exhausted the mainstream canon down to the arthouse classics. by that time, i was always eager for something new and different, and in the wild grip of a mania to hunt down every shaw bros martial arts epic i could find (easy now, hundreds upon hundreds out on dvd fully restored, with subtitles). in any case, one night i rented a softcore flick from a local mom and pop shop, not knowing what it was but guessing it was something european. whatever it was, it blew me away! (despite the print being so washed out that i thought much of it was shot in sepia, and i don’t mean the b@w film-within-a-film parts.) it was clearly a generic retitling, Erotic Illusions if i recall (on the Private Screenings label), directed by someone named radley metzger. i assumed it was italian, late 70’s, and metzger sounded like possibly a pseudonym. there was no imdb then, so i went off to my old college library and hit the microfiche. it didn’t take long for me to zero in on what it was (despite the tedium of pouring through newspaper and periodical indices, pulling down cardboard boxes full of 50 rolls of film, turning each over to find the handwritten date range labels taping the spools tight, and then loading the reels on to the projector)…although at first i momentarily seemed to think it was Therese and Isabelle until i read a NY Times review of that film. In “Erotic Illusions”, the jaded wife says with nonchalant approval, “Ah, Therese and Isabelle…”, as her husband unspools a lesbian stag reel for the group. (the line is post-synched English with a French accent…did Erika Remberg dub herself? clearly Frank Wolffe did, but neither of the other two principals. those are the only speaking roles in the film until the coda, which seeing for the first time made my jaw drop at the audacity of this “metzger” enigma.) by process of elimination, narrowing things after reading a review of Camille 2000, down to The Lickerish Quartet, i identified my newfound masterpiece. this also inaugurated a new focus in my film-hunting, and i have never strayed long nor far from erotica, exploitation and sexploitation, and porn since. and radley metzger made other films, and even porn films under the name henry paris. i had actually seen The Opening of Misty Beethoven years earlier, loved it immediately, and had seen it many times in the interim. only now did i realize paris and metzger were one, and he had made a lot of films that i would quickly make it a priority to track down and see! the tone of the two films, as clear as both were masterpieces, was wildly disparate. i soon saw clearly the arc of his career, tracking down Score, rewatching Misty with a fresh perspective, then seeing virtually all of metzger/paris’ films within the next few years…and even most of the audubon film library, deepening my appreciation for max pecas long before his brilliance became stunningly apparent with his pair of porn films (his only hardcore), Luxure and Felicia. metzger moved from sexploitation (The Dirty Girls and Alley Cats), to mannerist, arty european erotica with gorgeously overwrought mise en scenes (Carmen, Baby, Lickerish, Camille, Therese and Isabelle), beautifully shot and brilliantly cut, on to experimentation as he slid into hardcore, Score (bi-sexual swinging drawing-room comedy) and The Image (taking sadism and masochism outside of the bedroom, and locating its precarious roots deep in the psyche) being the brightest and shiniest jewels uppermost in the crown. so relatively quickly, i had seen what i considered to be metzger’s best films, among my favorite films ever, and it remains so, my favorite movie likely being at any given time the last of the 4 metzger/paris collosi i watched: The Lickerish Quartet, Score, The Image, The Opening of Misty Beethoven. i first saw Score on VHS, on the Magnum label, and the hardcore bits were cut, along with some of the other more explicit moments. the edits were done with a chainsaw (i read once that mr. metzger did it), the soundtrack suddenly leaping around throughout the long final act (a literal sexual act, or rather acts). even compromised, i immediately fell in love with Score. it was witty, its characters possessing far more warmth than in his euro-softcore days (his glacial european actresses chilling the painful undertows that lynn lowry, rebecca brooke and constance money would affectingly explore). it was sexy – add its cool retro feel (and lets not forget that it’s executive producer later collected the best picture oscar for schindler’s list…or for that matter that claire wilbur collected an oscar a few years after this) – and it felt and still feels genuinely liberating. metzger’s camera went from tracking shots and mannerist framing to a free, fast-moving hand-held intimacy (he reputedly took up the camera himself, butting up against language barriers with the eastern european crew). Score may be credited to metzger, but it was truly the first henry paris film. The Image and Misty Beethoven are grand culminations of every cinemagical trick up mr metzger’s sleave. a few years later, radley was selling Score himself, now uncut but not the best transfer. audobon video never got beyond him sending out tapes in plain white sleaves (and i have always regretted not then grabbing the soft cut of Misty Beethoven), and when First Run Features and subsequently Image Entertainment started releasing metzger titles, Score was cut again. it was cut differently, again shorn of its hardcore, but done much more invisibly. the overall presentation was greatly improved, to boot, the film finally revealing itself to be brightly colored in its retro 70’s interiors. there have been scores of Score, in other words, and endless video releases all over the world of metzger/paris’ films. it’s certainly very personally gratifying to see a film i’ve loved for so long hit Blu-Ray. the recent announcement of the deal to re-release the paris pornos, finally done right, is long overdue. i personally need to revisit The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, Naked Came The Stranger (seriously, that flag you guys have is just insane!) and Barbara Broadcast. i’m sure there’s riches in them that yet await me, though of course i’ve seen them all many times, in numerous versions, throughout the years.

    sorry if i got too nostalgic….

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