Score – DVD Review

By the 1980s, director Radley Metzger’s name became synonymous with “high class erotica,” having directed over 20 of these films between 1961 and 1984 including Camille 2000 (1969), The Lickerish Quartet (1968), and Carmen, Baby (1967). These films are soft-core features, filled with lots of sex, comedy, and artistic cinematography. If Score is any indication, it’s no wonder why Metzger was able to find success from both heterosexual and homosexual audiences.

Score follows the story of Elvira and Eddie (Claire Wilbur and Gerald Grant) – a happily married swinging couple – as they try to seduce young, religious newlyweds, Betsy and Jack (Lynn Lowry and Cal Culver). Elvira and Eddie play a sexual game where they find a couple, or a single individual, that they want to seduce, and one of them is challenged to seduce the other couple within a six-month time limit. It is unclear what happens if they lose, but that isn’t really the point, as is made clear by Elvira early on: getting there is way more than half the fun. The fifth character in the movie is Mike, a horny phone repairman, played by Carl Parker. He is not in many of the shots, but plays a memorable role anyway, mostly because of his scenes with the two females.

Score is based off of a 1971 off-Broadway play of the same title, written by Jerry Douglas. Douglas, who is a Yale Drama School graduate, reprises his role as writer for the film, and changes very little from the play. Also reappearing from the original off-Broadway production is lead actress Claire Wilbur. It is obvious, in the film, that she knows the character of Elvira inside and out, but she does not come away with the best performance in the film because some of her scenes seem forced. Lynn Lowry plays the young, naïve role wonderfully, and is in excellent contrast to the confident, wily Elvira character. The men in the film are standouts as well, and it is obvious why Cal Culver goes on from Score to become a homosexual film icon. The script doesn’t hold up well by today’s standards, but it doesn’t need to because it is just there to get the characters to the bedroom (or the basement, or the living room, or wherever else they might want to copulate).

Score is mostly about the sex, but there is an interesting dabbing of religion in the film as well. At the start of the movie, the character of Betsy brings up her religion on multiple occasions, and constantly seems to be fighting with her sexuality throughout the movie, as is her husband, Jack. The swinging couple, on the other hand, makes no mention of religion, and scoff at Betsy’s ideas of religion. Score sees a degradation of religious views into sexual exploration, but it does so subtly enough that it becomes a subplot, and flirts with being unimportant.

Radley Metzger delivers an artistic, soft-core sex film, with beautiful actors and sensual sex scenes. Though this DVD release is not rated, it’s important to note that this movie initially earned an “X” rating (for adults only), and what lifts Score above porn is the artistic approach and sensuality that exudes from nearly every aspect of the movie. There are graphic sexual scenes for both men and women, heterosexual and homosexual alike. With a great mix of sex and comedy, Score is a perfect example of “high class eroticism”. This genre is all but dead today in the US, but this DVD release has the potential to introduce a whole new audience to this type of artistic, soft-core, erotic comedy.

This DVD printing has been newly restored from the original release, and looks crisp on high definition televisions. There were a couple scenes that had a piece of fuzz on the camera, which was distracting, but probably unavoidable at this point in the prints history. The main feature is presented in a widescreen presentation, as is the Keeping Score with Lynn Lowry special feature.

The DVD release also contains a Dolby Digital 2.0, monaural soundtrack. There is one scene in the DVD release where the audio track is off from the video. This corrected itself about 30 seconds after it began, and the rest of the film continued without a hitch.

On the Set of Score (20:57): Shows some behind-the-scenes work on Score, with a voice-over narration put on top, explaining some facts about the movie and its director. Narrated by film historian Michael Bowen, the documentary is uninspiring, but the facts behind the movie are an interesting look at the erotic comedy/”high class erotica” genre.

Keeping Score with Lynn Lowry (19:36): Actress Lynn Lowry looks back on her role in Score, and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie. She gives her take on every other actor in the movie, and director Radley Metzger, including the sour relationship between she and Claire Wilbur. Lowry even explains that she had a fever blister on her lip for ten days during shooting, which required Metzger to film unique shots to keep the blister out of the movie. Between the look into her co-stars, the stories of handling the nudity on the set, and her first viewing of the finished product, Lowry gives a funny and insightful journey down Score’s memory lane.

Score Trailer (3:38)

Camille 2000 Trailer (2:17)

Lickerish Quartet Trailer (2:45)

Audio Commentary by Michael Bowen & Radley Metzger: This audio commentary track covers more of Radley Metzger’s background, and the making of Score. The two seemed to run out of things to talk about, and there were a few gaps in the commentary.

Score is a quality DVD release from Cult Epics, but it is not perfect. There are a couple audio/visual hiccups, but nothing that kills the film. Though it isn’t a though-provoking film, it is an artistic soft-core sex film that has a couple special features that give good insight to this niche genre. For film buffs looking to know more about this type of film, Score is a great way to start. For anyone looking to be titillated, Score promises to do just that. Like the line suggests, watch this with someone “you want to excite”.

Cult Epics presents Score. Directed by: Radley Metzger. Starring: Claire Wilbur, Calvin Culver, Lynn Lowry, Gerald Grant, Carl Parker. Written by: Jerry Douglas. Running time: 92 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: October 12, 2010.

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