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A happily married couple makes a bet that they can seduce a couple of naive newlyweds during a weekend get-together at their Riviera Villa.
For more about Score and the Score Blu-ray release, see the Score Blu-ray Review
Starring: Claire Wilbur, Calvin Culver, Lynn Lowry, Gerald Grant
Director: Radley Metzger
» See full cast & crew
Score Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 22, 2010
Radley Metzger's "Score" (1974) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of independent distributors Cult Epics. The supplemental features on the disc include an audio commentary with Michael Bowen and Radley Metzger; video interview with actress Lynn Lowry; making of featurette; trailer for the film; and trailers for other Radley Metzger films. In English, without optional subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
I became interested in Radley Metzger's films because of Italian actress Eleonora Rossi Drago. She was very good in Michelangelo Antonioni's Le amiche (The Girlfriends) and simply terrific in Valerio Zurlini's Estate violent (Violent Summer), which is why in the early '80s I started tracking down everything she had done that was available on VHS. So, I ended up seeing and liking Metzger's Camille 2000, in which Drago had a small role, and then slowly started going through the rest of his films. They were certainly very different. Because some were quite explicit, at the time in America a lot of critics could not quite figure out how to classify them. I could not either.
Score is one of Metzger's better known films. It is based on an off-Broadway play by Jerry Douglas about a swinging couple, Elvira (Claire Wilbur) and Jack (Gerald Grant, Both Ways), who decide to play a game to determine who could score more sexual conquests. So they meet another couple, Betsy (Lynn Lowry, The Crazies) and Eddie (Calvin Culver a.k.a adult star Casey Donovan), and seduce them in a luxury villa in the beautiful European city of Leisure (Leisure is actually a mythical city; Metzger filmed Score in the home of a high-ranking military official from Bakar, Croatia, which used to be part of the now defunct Yugoslavia).
The seduction scenes are a lot more entertaining than the sex scenes, all of which are indeed quite explicit. For example, in the early seduction scenes, the naive couple is given soft drugs and asked to experiment with various costumes.
There are also some incredibly hilarious scenes in the film. A lot of the dialog, for instance, is rather uneven, and the actors often times look quite stiff. This rawness gives the film that unique pro-amateur soft-core campy look and feel which the overwhelming majority of Metzger's films are known for.
Despite some critics claiming otherwise there are absolutely no serious political or social overtones in Score. Its relaxed attitude towards gay and lesbian sex certainly isn't meant to deliver a stamp of approval. If anything, Metzger only reminds us how prudish and weak innocence could be.
Score has a remarkably strong psychedelic soundtrack courtesy of Robert Cornford. The instrumentals that are heard during the seduction scenes, for example, are notably dark and moody. The opening song, however, which is used as leitmotiv, is surprisingly light and airy.
Lastly, unlike Cult Epics' old DVD release, this Blu-ray disc contains Metzger's uncut version of Score, which runs at approximately 92 minutes. Therefore, if you are easily offended by explicit sex, Score may not be the best film for you to see on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
Note: In one of the supplemental features provided on this Blu-ray disc it is revealed that when Jerry Douglas' play was staged in New York City, a young Sylvester Stallone had a small role in it.
Score Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Radley Metzger's Score arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Cult Epics.
Vintage erotic films were not treated very well during the SDVD era. Many films received very questionable transfers, often struck from poor second, third, and even fourth generation sources. Many films were also cut and poorly dubbed. The original negatives for many of these films are also either lost or in rather poor conditions. I mention all of this because I hope that our readers would understand that the treatments these films will hopefully get on Blu-ray would have certain inherited limitations.
Radley Metzger's Score has received a new, restored high-definition transfer, which offers dramatic upgrades in practically every key area we address in the video section of our reviews. Fine object detail is very pleasing, clarity mostly consistent, and contrast levels a lot better than I expected them to be. The color-scheme is also dramatically stronger. A quick look at the R1 SDVD release of Score immediately reveals that reds, blues, greens, browns, and blacks are richer and a lot better saturated on the Blu-ray release. Neither edge-enhancement nor macroblocking are an issue of concern with this high-definition transfer. I also did not see any traces of severe noise reduction (there are only a few minor corrections that have been applied during selected scenes). As a result, the fine film grain is very much intact. This being said, I must point out that there are many tiny flecks and even minor scratches that pop up occasionally, but, in my opinion, they are absolutely harmless. Lastly, there are no serious stability issues to report in this review. To sum it all up, I am indeed very pleased with Cult Epics' treatment of Radley Metzger's Score and certainly looking forward to their future releases. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Score Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (Mono). For the record, Cult Epics have not provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
I am somewhat disappointed to see that Cult Epics could not include a loseless audio track of some sort as my primary interest in these vintage erotic films actually has a lot to do with their often very well done psychedelic scores. Regardless, the English Dolby Digital 2.0 track is rather pleasing - the dialog is stable and easy to follow and Robert Cornford's score sounding fairly fresh. This being said, occasionally there is mild background hiss that creeps in, as well as a few minor pops.
Score Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
On the set of Score - a wonderful making of featurette containing an abundance of important information about the film's production history and Radley Metzger's career. In English, not subtitled. (19 min, 1080i).
Keeping Score with Lynn Lowry - a great recent video interview with actress Lynn Lowry who recalls her work with Radley Metzger and rather unfortunate relationship with Claire Wilbur. In English, not subtitled. (20 min, 1080i).
Commentary - an audio commentary with Michael Bowen and Radley Metzger. This truly is an outstanding audio commentary that contains a great deal of information about the film's very interesting production history, the European and American film industries at the time Score was completed, the public and critics' attitude towards explicit sex in mainstream films, etc. Outstanding, really.
Trailer - an old trailer for Score. In English, not subtitled. (4 min, 1080p).
Trailer - an old trailer for Radley Metzger's Camille 2000. In English, not subtitled. (3 min, 1080p).
Trailer - an old trailer for Radley Metzger's Lickerish Quartet. In English, not subtitled. (3 min, 1080p).
Score Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I am so pleased to see Cult Epics enter the Blu-ray market. They have a very unique catalog of vintage and cult films, amongst them Jean Genet's Un Chant D'Amour, Pierre Grimblat's Slogan, Fernando Arrabal's I Will Walk Like A Crazy Horse, Abel Ferrara's The Driller Killer, Tinto Brass' classic erotic films (it is time for Paprika to get a decent release), which I sincerely hope will make it to Blu-ray.
Radley Metzger's Score looks very good on Blu-ray. Cult Epics have also included a number of very interesting supplemental features, some of which are actually a lot more intriguing than the actual film. Absolutely, we RECOMMEND Score, and I am eagerly awaiting the distributor's next Blu-ray release.
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