The Films of Henry Paris: Update Fall 2014
Since 2010, Distribpix Inc. has been working very hard to restore the films of the legendary filmmaker Radley Metzger. More specifically, the 5 X-rated films that he created using the alias Henry Paris. These 5 films, which were all created in a span of about 2 years, and released from 1974-1979, had helped to further bolster the modern porn movement.His films along with others, like Gerard Damiano, Chuck Vincent and the Amero Brothers, all began to take on artistic merit, with larger budgets, real scripts, sets,talented actors, locations, etc. They were produced during the climax of the porn-chic period, right in the heart of NYC. It was kool to go and see a porno, it was hip, it was the thing to do!! It was a time that can never be replicated, and it did not last very long. But, after 30 plus years, these films have not only stood the test of time, but continue to be sought after by legions of film fans, in both the mainstream and alternative cinema circles.
The goal was to be able to start from scratch and remake all of the DVD versions, beginning with the release of deluxe versions and possible Blu Ray’s, in order to really try and get the attention of more mainstream fans, who took this stuff seriously. It worked. The long and hard efforts paid off. I learned so much in one year. Starting with the original negatives and doing proper film restorations on each one was the basic starting point. As well as a burning determination to uncover as much as we could on each film, to properly set the historical context. We began to complete each film one by one, in the same order in which Metzger had released them theatrically, beginning with The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann(1974). It was an exciting time for me and one in which I will never forget.
Like Pamela Mann and all the other Henry Paris films, I have refused to cut or censor any of them, like many of the previous distributors before me. I knew this from the beginning, as it was a practice I had already adopted and clearly the only person in the classic adult genre, who was not afraid to do this, I did not veer away, but at the same time, I would have to accept the consequences. If the film had fisting, I wanted it kept intact. Urination, no problem……some bloody sex, Oh well! Insinuated rape, big deal……. If it was in the original negative, I want it to be in the final version. I did not make these films, but as a secondary producer, I believe in proper film restoration, especially for these archival motion picture film elements. Film restoration is a bit complex, it can be simple to explain, but the process itself has so many variables, some include the age of the film, the film stock itself, conditions in which they were stored, and how the negatives or prints were actually handled, by projectionists, colorists or even the director themselves. The more you work with film collections and elements, the more you learn, just like anything. The bottom line is that unless it is absolutely necessary, I would never want to play censor on a film that was made 35 plus years ago and one that I did not create. As we all know, once we start to censor, we get into dangerous territory. And I have spoken with several directors from the golden age of erotica, who whole heartedly agree, that once these films are cut up and butchered, they are no longer the original creation, and in many ways, the message or soul of the film is missing.
Films were cut for many reasons, sometimes it was an issue of playing time, other times it was a concern of potential legal issues, and other times, it was done to be able to distribute the film on home video. But I truly feel like these films all lose their true essence, their ultimate meaning, if they are edited, censored or cut up. Especially, when in most cases, it is the most climactic, or unparalleled scene, from the film. For example, when the staged abduction takes place in Pamela Mann, it is such a vital scene, it is obvious that the revolutionaries(Jamie Gillis and Darby Lloyd Rains) are not only having fun with their captor, Barbara Bourbon, but it may be the highlight of the film. It further sets the tone and helps illustrate just how incredibly silly, eccentric and over the top, these character’s lifestyles are.
Without that scene, the film is not complete. So leaving that scene intact, was really refreshing and I think many realized that I had a different approach to restoring these films. And keeping the film’s original run time and scene order is vital. Proper restoration is first, and if money is going to come from the release, it comes second. It is nice to know that several other film restoration companies share the same opinions that I do about quality.
Naked Came The Stranger (1975) was next and a great experience, maybe one of the most unique for me. I learned a lot on this project and really fell in love with the music on this one. I realized what true genius George Craig(director of music)really is. The film has become one of my all time favorites, I love the music and story, and the day we shot the bonus features for the DVD all around NYC and Long Island, was amazing.
Then it was on to the big one, The Opening of Misty Beethoven(1976). We needed to go Blu, that was the way to go about introducing classic erotica in 1080P HD. A no brainer. It was a hard 7 months of my life, producing both the 2 DVD collector’s edition, the 50GB Blu Ray, the CD Soundtrack with over 13 licensed songs, not too mention the Kickstarter(KS) campaign, in which we were kicked off, about a 10 days into our campaign, while we almost raised our goal or 10k!!! Thank you so much Kickstarter.
It was the best thing to ever happen, talk about great and free press, and publicity! It was everywhere.
We generated a good amount of income with our own independent fundraiser through Project Misty,which was well over the 10 grand goal. This, in turn showed me that there was enough interest in moving on the blu ray, the fund helped out in a huge way, but was just a fraction of what was needed to get this produced. So many came out of the woodwork to show their disgust at KS, especially university professor-Laura Helen Marks, film archivist-Joe Rubin and of course, my sidekick, Ian Culmell . They all took the time out of their schedules,and really put things into perspective for me. They began sending messages and emails to Kickstarter. Eventually, many others followed they even shut down the KS site for a short time, they were caught off guard, and I loved it. No matter what anyone says, Kickstarter dropped the ball on this one, they were caught in their own bullshit and did not care to step up. I will never forget that and still have all of that correspondence, between us. It was amazing to see how many people from around the world, stepped and supported us.
It also gave me a very unique experience when it comes to social network funding. I mean, I did it right, IMO. We had a kick-ass campaign video with a great message, very professional rewards, and a reasonable goal. And we had our campaign approved as well. I simply wanted to raise money and awareness to restore one of the greatest erotic films of all time(won 4 awards in 1976, including BEST PICTURE, BEST ACTOR, BEST DIRECTOR). All of you who stepped up to support me, thank you so much, you are great. We all still made it happen.
A huge year and learning experience and to this day, I am still amazed at the whole thing. Right before the release, we got hit by Hurricane Sandy and it took even longer to get the packages out. Most of the general public, don’t have a clue of all the work involved in a release of this magnitude, not a clue about the amount of research, travel and dedication, not too mention the costs involved. People think it was just a matter of authoring a few DVD’s, and that is so far from what we created, which was basically an entire make over of this cult classic! Myself and small team, took on that project and kicked its ass!! Great job guys.
The Misty Beethoven Blu Ray has sold very well, although it is essentially-almost of of stock, as the 2 DVD Collector’s editions have been out of stock for several months. These were both aggressive packages and the 60 page liner note books that came with both, are no longer available. Looking back, I may have spent a bit too much on the packaging on all fronts, but that is why I said that they may be limited in some aspects.
Leaving the social fundraising behind, I jumped right into the next films, Barbara Broadcast and essentially treated it the same way as Misty, but had more fun with it. It is a much more dialogue light film, but the sex is key and the steamy eroticism and comedic one liners, really move this one along. Both the 2 DVD set and Blu Ray plus 2 DVD combo pack are decent sellers, they are great packages with lots of value and there are plenty still in stock. The Barbara Blu Ray has not sold nearly as well as the Misty, which has been a great eye opener, considering that dozens of fans are requesting the remaining Henry Paris films to be made available on Blu Ray.
That brings us back to Maraschino Cherry(1979), which has been recently scanned in 2k, b0th the hard and soft versions, and now completes all 5 of the Henry Paris films being scanned and restored. Before we commit, to another deluxe DVD version of Maraschino Cherry, or even the Blu Ray, we want to be able to get a bit more feedback on the best way to approach this. For example, do we do a Blu Ray 3 Pack, of the remaining titles(Pam, Naked, Cherry)??? As well as a standalone Maraschino Cherry Deluxe dvd set??? AND, do we keep all the extras, or trim these Blu Rays down to the bare minimums, like the hard versions and maybe the trailers? A bit more to decide.
So, now as I look back, while trying to move forward, I am in the process of making some very important creative and business decisions in order to be able to get these great deluxe packages back out. We are exploring ways to make the packages more cost efficient, while still being able to keep the high quality of both the content and the package as a whole. Many of the original deluxe versions are at very low stock levels, it is important for me to be able to get these back on the market with some new features as well as other surprises.
One negative aspect of the higher end, deluxe packages, is that many of the adult retail outlets have not been able to carry them, due to higher than usual wholesale pricing, or simply that they did not have the clientele, who would purchase the higher end collectibles. Pricing is very important in every part of the market, but collector’s are, in my opinion, a better customer for my product, as they understand the value and work involved, they appreciate the hard good and want to see it thrive. They also enjoy standing behind independent labels and support much of the work involved. While,the typical adult buyer, really just wants to see the film and in many cases, they don’t want extras and don’t even care about the quality of the film, which I can’t understand, at least not with todays technology, so easily accessible, to film studios and reasonably priced.
With all this said, I have some very good news to announce, that I think will appease a large part of the adult market, particularly-retail stores and their distributors. And anyone else who wants to get in on the action.
All 5 of the Henry Paris films are now all available in single DVD versions. Each DVD contains the full- uncut feature, the film’s theatrical trailer and a slideshow/ephemera gallery of images. Each film has been scanned in 2k resolution from the original negatives. These will all be very reasonable priced and are a fair balance between efficient DVD features and also, clean looking, yet affordable packages. Each DVD comes in a clear case, with reversible box art. Below is a sample of the front and reverse sides for the Barbara Broadcast Single DVD (2014).
As a special bonus for the fans that want too buy all 5 of the DVD’s at once, we are now offering a very awesome looking and totally limited 5 Pack Collector’s Box Set, with a hand numbered case and 500 custom postcard magnets(4×6). There are only 500 numbered box sets and they are a great gift for the hard good DVD collector. A very attractive set indeed.
*Please understand, these are the single DVD versions of the Henry Paris films, if you already invested in the deluxe versions, you do not need to purchase these. These Single DVD editions, will allow many people to purchase and experience the films. in an efficient manner. And the Box Set will get them all 5- in a great package without going overboard. If your a die hard collector and love the hard good, than you may want to buy one anyway, for your shelf. These will make great gifts as well.