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The Lickerish Quartet(1970)
A jaded, wealthy couple watch a blue movie in their castle home along with her adult son. The son is testy, so they go into town and watch a circus-like thrill ride. The daredevil woman in the show looks exactly like one of the women in the movie, so the man invites her to join them for a nightcap. Tensions among the family seem to rise.
For more about The Lickerish Quartet and the The Lickerish Quartet Blu-ray release, see the The Lickerish Quartet Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on June 5, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Frank Wolff
Director: Radley Metzger
» See full cast & crew
The Lickerish Quartet Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, June 5, 2011
Radley Metzger's "The Lickerish Quartet" (1970) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of independent distributors Cult Epics. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; audio commentary by Radley Metzger and film historian Michael Bowen; making of featurette; behind the scenes featurette; and more. In English, without optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
The important thing to remember while watching Radley Metzger's The Lickerish Quartet is that anything is possible. In other words, you do not have to look for a logical explanation of everything that takes place on the screen. The moment you start doing so the film's magic disappears.
A beautiful castle owned by an aristocratic family somewhere in Europe. The father (Frank Wolff, Elia Kazan's America, America, Once Upon a Time in the West), mother (Erika Remberg, Vienna, City of My Dreams) and son (Paolo Turco, Bread and Chocolate) gather around a large projector. They watch a stag film and then head to a nearby carnival. There they meet a gorgeous girl (Silvana Venturelli, Camille 2000) who looks very much like one of the girls in the film. Curious to find out whether she was in the film, they invite her for a drink.
The father turns on the projector and they begin watching the film again but immediately discover that all of the close-ups with the girl's face have disappeared. Confused and annoyed, they rewind and watch the film again but this time other parts disappear. The father is convinced that his son is behind the mix-up, while the mother speculates that her husband might have replaced some of the reels. They invite the girl to spend the night in the castle and she agrees.
During the next couple of days the father remembers a young prostitute he met years ago who apparently looked exactly like the beautiful girl. Eventually, realizing that he is attracted to their guest, his wife confronts him and later on confesses that she no longer loves him as much as she once did. Meanwhile, the son goes out for a walk with the girl at the end of which they kiss.
Fantasy and reality constantly overlap in the film but there is a way to figure out how to separate the two – watch for a string of clues that appear after the family welcomes their guest in the castle. The altered scenes in the stag film also serve a purpose.
The "real" erotic sequences during the second half of the film are used to reveal more about the main protagonists and their strengths and weaknesses. After the girl literally unlocks their desires just about everything in the film begins to make sense.
There isn't a lot of full frontal nudity in the film. The most explicit scenes are in fact in the black and white stag film the family watches before and after they meet the girl. The seductions are beautifully filmed, with a terrific emphasis on detail.
Shot on location at the famous Castle of Balsorano in Italy's Abruzzi Mountains (now a big tourist attraction), the majority of the film features breathtakingly beautiful panoramic vistas. The costumes and dresses seen in the film, all of which were apparently picked up by the great Enrico Sabbatini (Vittorio De Sica's Sunflower, The Mission) are also notably stylish (Remberg, in particular, wears a terrific sexy outfit early into the film and a striking black dress later on).
It is Venturelli, however, that makes this film an unforgettable experience. Every single scene with her oozes style and sensuality. Unfortunately, she made only one other film after The Lickerish Quartet before disappearing into obscurity.
The Lickerish Quartet Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.86:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Radley Metzger's The Lickerish Quartet arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Cult Epics.
I've owned three different SDVD releases of The Lickerish Quartet - the last and best one was a R4 SDVD - and all three were very disappointing. Color reproduction and stability, in particular, were very problematic (on the R1 First Run Features release, for example, the colors would consistently pulsate, and there was plenty of macroblocking during the darker scenes). Naturally, I was very much looking forward to see how The Lickerish Quartet would transition to Blu-ray.
The high-definition transfer is very strong, quite similar to the one Cult Epics used for Radley Metzger's Score. There are multiple scratches and small debris popping up here and there, even a few large damage marks, but detail is very good. Early into the film, for example, when the family is seen attending the carnival, even during the darker scenes detail is dramatically improved -- at the Wall of Death the bikes are very easy to see; on the R4 SDVD release the image is simply blurry. Contrast levels are also much stronger. The most impressive improvements, however, are with color reproduction. On the R4 SDVD release, the blues, greens, yellows, reds, and browns are extremely weak, giving the film a very disappointing pale look. Here they are lush, natural looking, and, most importantly, stable. Lastly, heavy edge-enhancement, macroblocking, and DNR do not plague the high-definition transfer. All in all, The Lickerish Quartet finally looks like a film, somewhat dated but boasting a terrific organic look. (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 Lickerish Quartet Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0. For the record, Cult Epic have not provided optional English subtitles for he main feature.
It would have been good if Cult Epic could offer some sort of a loseless audio track for The Lickerish Quartet, but the Dolby Digital 2.0 track is actually very good. The film's dynamic field is a bit uneven, particularly when Stelvio Cipriani's score is prominent, but there is certainly good depth to it. Also, the dialog is stable and easy to follow, though some of the light background hiss from the SDVD release has not been effectively addressed.
The Lickerish Quartet Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Lickerish Quartet Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
After owning three very disappointing SDVD releases of Radley Matsger's The Lickerish Quartet, I finally have a Blu-ray release that does the film justice. Now I am definitely looking forward to revisiting Camille 2000, in my opinion the American director's most stylish film, which will be released later this month. I hope that Carmen, Baby and Therese and Isabelle are not too far behind. If you are interested in classic erotic cinema, do not miss this release. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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The Lickerish Quartet Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Lickerish Quartet Gets UK Release Date - October 25, 2012
Independent British distributors Arrow Video have revealed that they are planning to release a Dual Format Edition of director Radley Metzger's The Lickerish Quartet (1970), starring Silvana Venturelli, Frank Wolff and Erika Remberg. Street date is February 11th, ...
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