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Jean becomes interested in friend Claire's kinky sex with slave Anne.
For more about The Image and the The Image Blu-ray release, see The Image Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on June 11, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Rebecca Brooke, Carl Parker, Marilyn Roberts
Director: Radley Metzger
» See full cast & crew
The Image Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, June 11, 2011
Radley Matzger's "The Image" (1975) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Synapse Films. The only supplemental feature on the disc is a text-format Radley Metzger filmography. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free. Please be advised that the film contains explicit footage that is not appropriate for minors!
Perhaps the darkest and most explicit of Radley Metzger's films (aside from the ones he directed under the pseudonym Henry Paris), The Image explores the sadomasochistic relationship between a man, an older woman and her younger mistress.
The film opens up in Paris, where Jean (Carl Parker, Score) accidentally meets his old friend Claire (Marilyn Roberts, Looking for Mr. Goodbar) at a fashionable party. She introduces him to the stunningly beautiful and elegant Anne (Rebecca Brooke, Confessions of a Young American Housewife, Abigail Lesley Is Back in Town). By the end of the night, he realizes that the two women are lovers. Sort of - they actually have a master/slave relationship.
The three meet again at Parc de Bagatelle where Claire humiliates Anne in front of Jean (I am afraid I cannot describe in detail exactly how). Then she calmly explains to him that Anne enjoys the treatment. Naturally, or not, Jean immediately becomes obsessed with Anne.
A week later, Jean sees Anne at a book market in the heart of Paris. She sees him too, but completely ignores him. Without Claire around, Anne is a totally different person - confident and collected, even slightly arrogant. When Jean attempts to talk to her, she walks away.
Enormously upset by the rejection, Jean decides to focus on his writings and forget about Anne. A few days later, however, he meets Claire again. When he mentions to her his experience with Anne, she offers to lend her slave to him. Jean accepts and shortly after visits Claire's posh home, where Anne is waiting to be punished.
Based on Catherine Robbe-Grillet's (credited in the film as "Jean de Berg") novel, Metzger's The Image belongs to a rather big group of films that attempted to blend art and explicit erotica during the early 1960-70s. Almost all of them were made in Europe, and the best ones featured promising young models such as Christina Lindberg, Lilli Carati, Maruschka Detmers, Brigitte Maier, and Catherine Ringer, among others.
The film is divided into ten episodes, each culminating with an important revelation about the nature of Claire and Anne's S&M relationship. The early ones are rather bland, but as the film progresses, they become quite intense.
Unlike Metzger's previous films, The Image comes fairly close to being a straight pornographic affair (a year before The Image was completed, Metzger had already shot one, The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, under the pseudonym Henry Paris). It features a number of long and unsimulated sex scenes that are obviously not appropriate for minors.
The acting is surprisingly good. Brooke, in particular, is not only strikingly beautiful and bold but also an incredibly gifted actress who literally transforms the entire film. Without her, the film would have certainly looked incredibly dull and classless, perhaps even enormously depressing.
There production values are very strong, featuring excellent costumes and detailed set designs that are rarely seen in other similarly themed films. Also, the film is complimented by a lovely retro psychedelic score (the main theme by Brian Bennett is particularly good).
The Image Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.82:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Radley Metzger's The Image arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Synapse Films.
This is the most impressive presentation of a classic erotic film that I have seen since Blu-ray was launched. I would argue that in certain areas it actually outdoes Criterion's terrific presentation of Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses - and this says a lot, because the two films were shot under vastly different conditions. Very impressive!
Synapse Films have included a short note indicating that the high-definition transfer has been struck from the original 35 mm camera negative - and it clearly shows. Throughout the entire film detail is outstanding and clarity vastly improved when compared to the old R1 SDVD release of the film. Contrast levels are also a lot stronger, particularly during the daylight footage. What impresses the most, however, is the color reproduction. I took a couple of different screencaptures that I believe could give you an idea how dramatic the improvements are - see screencaptures #2 and 4 - but you have to see the film projected to really appreciate the high quality of the presentation. Edge-enhancement is never an issue of concern. There are no traces of heavy filtering either. As a result, the high-definition transfer has retained all of the organic qualities we expect to see from excellent Blu-ray releases. Finally, there are absolutely no stability issues and cuts, scratches, or debris plaguing the high-definition transfer. Indeed, this is a mighty impressive presentation of Radley Metzger's The Image. (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).
The Image Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (there is also an isolated music and effects DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track). For the record, Synapse Films have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The audio treatment is as impressive as the video treatment. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, the film's "original" audio track, has a surprisingly strong dynamic amplitude that enhances the film's retro psychedelic music score quite well. Additionally, the dialog has definitely been stabilized and various clicks, thumps, and hiss removed.
The Image Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Image Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Radley Metzger's films are not for everyone. But if you are interested in exploring classic erotic cinema from the 1960-70s, they are probably the ones you want to see first. Some of them are quite explicit, but are incredibly stylish and surprisingly well acted. The Synapse Films Blu-ray release of Metzger's The Image offers the best presentation of a classic erotic film that I have seen since the high-definition format was launched. RECOMMENDED.
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