Director: Radley Metzger
Cast: Silvana Venturelli, Frank Wolff, Erika Remberg, Paolo Turco
Extras: On The Set of The Lickerish Quartet: Behind-The-Scenes Featurette w/rare footage of Silvana Venturelli, Paolo Turco and Radley Metzger / Montage of “Cool Version” love scenes: Produced originally for territories where the original version was too hot! / Audio Commentary track by Radley Metzger and film historian Michael Bowen / On Set Live Soundtrack taken from Original rare work print
Radley Metzger aka Henry Paris as he would be called later in his career, is known as one of the pioneers of sex cinema. In the early 1960s he founded Audubon Films, a company that expanded the European sexploitation film market to the U.S. He began his filmmaking career with soft-core erotica but eventually took his artistic director’s eye to the XXX porn industry to make such classics as The Opening of Misty Beethoven and Barbara Broadcast. In all of his features, he would be acclaimed for his style and grace behind the camera. Some say he was one of the creators of the “porno chic” era of adult cinema. But in 1970, just before he swerved off into hardcore territory, he would make what some believe to be his greatest and most mainstream film, The Lickerish Quartet.
A very rich, jaded and bored couple along with their son are watching an 8mm black and white porn movie for shits and giggles one night and have a little squabble over the minutiae of their thoughts about it. So they decide to got down to the carnival that’s in town to find some other action and happen upon a motorcycle stunt show that features a woman who they think may be the blonde in the film they just watched. This gives Dad an idea; why not ask the girl back to the manor/castle and have a viewing with the star and see what happens from there? When they get back to the viewing room and switch on the projector, something has changed. The blonde woman’s face is now obscured for the most part and when they can see it, it doesn’t seem to be who they thought is was. They ask her to stay the evening while they sort it out among themselves and from there, she begins to seduce each of the three using her own mojo.
I’ll just leave the summary right there because to go any further would, well I don’t really know, because I don’t what the fuck happened from there. Up to that point things were a little weird but as the seductions began and reality began to unravel, I lost my way. Metzger does a masterful job behind the camera. His sense of fluid camera movement, sweeping shot of the country and estate are second to none, especially in the sexploitation/erotics realm. But this story of the illusion of space and time loses its way trying to beguile the viewer and gets trapped by its own ambition. It’s overly confusing and doesn’t seem to really have a point. Metzger bit off more than he can chew story wise but almost makes up for it in the sheer beauty of the film. The huge problem is that you can’t even really fall back on this being a “skin flick” because it doesn’t work in that capacity either. Is it sexy? Yes, but not enough for the raincoat crowd.
My wife asked me after I watched it if I would give it a thumbs up or down and I couldn’t really give her a straight answer. I am so in love with the gorgeous scenery and camerawork on display. At the same time, I didn’t get anything but confused with the overly pretentious timeline and identity jumps and reverse end-around, flip-flop ending. I can say this, I will watch this again. Cult Epics really put some quality work into this release. The transfer to blu-ray really does Radley Metzger’s outstanding eye for art a wonderful service. The details and colors are vibrant and the picture in general looks amazingly like the original film materials would have looked. There are hints of imperfections like a few small scratches here and there and some debris but that only adds to the realness. I really like Metzger’s 1972 film Score and this actually makes a great companion stylistically, so I look forward to seeing Cult Epics next Metzger classic release of Camille 2000 due out this summer.