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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Erotic > Adult > Radley Metzger’s Score – Uncensored Version (1972/Cult Epics Blu-ray)

Radley Metzger’s Score – Uncensored Version (1972/Cult Epics Blu-ray)

 

Picture: B     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Film: B-

 

 

A few years ago, I caught up with the DVD version of Radley Metzger’s Score (1972) and was not so impressed, thinking it was a silly, confused work that did not work, though it was one of the better films he had made and that were issued at the time on DVD.  When I saw it was on the way on Blu-ray and claimed to be an “Uncensored Version” of the film, I was intrigued.  Now that I’ve seen it, it turns out to be a better film than the last version would have one believe.

 

With seven more minutes added, you can see someone was still censoring the film, uncomfortable with what was made and the result was a shorter film that made the film look cheesy and not as bold as it turned out to be.  Not that it makes it a great film, but it makes it a key time capsule of its kind of erotic cinema.

 

To recap and repeat from my earlier review, Score is actually based on a play about free and open sex, group sex, and gender crossing, though by the end of the film, this one was more like gender confused.  This includes an actual gay male porno star in his “acting” debut at a time when sex and art became confused.  Whereas I was comparing it to Mike Nichols’ Closer (2004) as polar opposites, now I can see that Score has a more serious subtext for its humor to be juxtaposed to.  A newlywed couple (Cal Culver and Lynn Lowry (Romero’s The Crazies (see the Blu-ray review elsewhere on this site), Sugar Cookies, I Drink Your Blood)) get involved with a married couple (Claire Wilbur and Gerald Grant) who are swingers and intend to have a few sexual trysts with them.

 

With the extra footage, you can see the subject matter was being handled more cleverly, though this is still a sexploitation film, but long before home video (let alone the Internet, before seeing sex acts became a joke and the market became permanently glutted), this was a common kind of film in the wake of the hardcore sex XXX film movement (made permanent by Deep Throat before home video closed the XXX theaters) and the result was a hit success that totally makes sense to issue as one of the very first such films to make High Definition and the Blu-ray format.  Lowry has a particular photographic appeal that ultimately makes this not just another such film of its time, but many will be shocked just how far these films would go in their time.  Carl Parker also stars.

 

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Score also interested me because the DVD version did not look that bad and even a slight improvement would be more watchable, but the new transfer is in amazingly good shape with amazing color, definition and a print that is in better shape than many hit film and TV shows of the time.  Most important, flesh tones are remarkably consistent and naturalistic.  The actors were carefully picked to be watchable for long periods of time, but I give Director of Photography Franjo Vodopivec credit for shooting this in a creative way and making this one of the more visually compelling releases in the subgenre.

 

Those expecting a lossless soundtrack will be surprised this only offers a Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix, but it is a little better than the old DVD, but shows its age with background noise and a very slightly ‘hot’ sound.  However, it has limited compression (despite some harmonic distortion) and purists will be thrilled the sound was not tampered with.  The music ‘score’ by Robert Comfort is amusing and if it survives as original master recording tapes as the new CD soundtrack suggests and if the sound stems of the dialogue and sound effects could be tracked somewhere and survive, a lossless mix might be possible at a later date.

 

Extras include trailers for this and two other Metzger films that will hopefully be on Blu-ray next, Keeping Score With Lynn Lowry (20 minutes) on camera interview, On The Set Of Score (also 20 minutes) interview featurette and a feature length audio commentary by Metzger and film historian Michael Bowen.  That is an amazing set of extras for a type of cinema that is still ignored and not as respected as (frankly) some current junk that is not even sexual and certain circles are too impressed with for their (and our) own good.  Score finally in its unedited version (definitely NC-17 territory here) turns out to be a minor classic of the erotica of its time and yes, there is more talent on and off the screen than you would expect, especially for such a film of any time.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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