Digi-Schlock: THE LICKERISH QUARTET (Cult Epics Blu-Ray)

Cult Epics’ line of Radley Metzger reissues are a premier event for fans of vintage erotica.  They’ve taken great care with the a/v quality of these releases, put in a strong effort in the bonus features area and even offered variant cuts of films that allow the version-happy viewer an extra level of choice.  Their blu-ray edition of The Lickerish Quartet is a good example of how they’ve done with their Metzger properties: it looks stunning and supplements the experience with extras that take you further into Metzger’s intellectual approach to the genre.

For starters, the transfer on this film might be the best of any in the Erotica Psychedelica box.  The anamorphic image has strong detail and bold colors.  Age-related defects are minimal and the result is a stunner with an appropriate but very lush vintage look.  The audio retains the original mono soundtrack and it sounds nice and punchy here: the dubbed dialogue comes through in a crisp style and effects and music blend nicely with the vocal tracks.

This blu-ray also sports a fairly ambitious package of extras.  As usual, the offerings begins with a commentary track featuring Metzger and moderator Michael Bowen.  Metzger discusses the atmospheric locations, the complexities of dubbing the film’s soundtrack and plenty of material on the actors (particularly Frank Wolff, who had a tragically short life).  Bowen gently presses Metzger to discuss the meaning behind the story’s more surrealistic touches: Metzger playfully resists at first but soon offers an interesting, thoughtful take on the film’s presentation of a slippery reality.

Elsewhere, there are a few featurettes: “Mind Games” is a brief making-of piece with narration playing over a set of Metzger’s personal home movies from the set.  It also offers some comparison/contrast of the film’s live soundtrack versus its ultimate dubbed incarnation.  The latter element is further explored in “Giving Voice To The Quartet,” a short piece that goes into detail on the film’s complex dubbing situation – two actors supplied their own voices in different studios in different countries, plus the other two actors were dubbed by different actors – and offers more comparison/contrast samples that incorporate the on-set soundtrack.

However, the most intriguing inclusion amongst the non-commentary features might be a set of “cool” takes for the film’s sex scenes: in other words, alternative sequences that cut down sexual explicitness and full-frontal nudity.  Though these don’t reflect Metzger’s intentions for the film, they are composed and edited in as artful a manner as what ended up in the finished film.  The package is rounded out with trailers for The Lickerish Quartet, Camille 2000 and Score.

In short, this is another strong addition to Cult Epics’ line of Metzger titles.  It’s the best this film has ever looked on video and the extras are worthwhile.  Fans will need this – and if you’re a neophyte to the world of Metzger, it’s a great place to start.

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