Digi-Schlock: SCORE – Theatrical Version (Cult Epics Blu-Ray)

Until the advent of DVD, cult movie fans had a hard time find their favorites in uncut, widescreen versions.  Thankfully, that has changed for the better since the mid-1990’s but one subset of the cult movie fanbase still deals with this kind of problem: fans of vintage erotica.  Labels like Severin Films and Blue Underground have taken up the vintage erotica cause over the years but these is still plenty of work to be done.

On that note, Cult Epics deserves a mention for the amazing work it is doing with the back catalog of one of erotic cinema’s titans, Radley Metzger.  Score is a prime example of their work, offering a carefully rendered presentation of a film that has been hard to see uncut, much less in a proper presentation, on the small screen.  This film has had a rather tragic history on home video until now – click here to read an informative history of its VHS/DVD travails at the great Mondo Digital – but it finally receives a worthy treatment on disc from Cult Epics in both the a/v and extra departments.

Score is presented here in an anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 transfer that does well by the film’s skillfully composed imagery.  The level of detail is rich, as are the colors, and the flesh tones look natural (important in a film like this).  There is a bit of speckling and a minor instance or two of element damage but overall, this has an impressively rendered celluloid look to it. Fans should not that the version reviewed here represents the non-explicit theatrical cut: a variant version with a few hardcore moments has also been released by Cult Epics on a separate disc.

The disc sticks to the film’s original mono mix for its soundtrack and the result sounds pretty robust: dialogue is up-front and clear and the well-chosen library music score comes through with punch.

Cult Epics also scores with a handful of supplements that are all worthwhile for the Metzger fan.  First up is a commentary track with Metzger, moderated by Michael Bowen.  It’s a pretty dense track: Bowen primes Metzger with plenty of questions and Metzger offers detailed responses as this duo talks through the history how Metzger acquired the Off-Broadway play that this film adapts, why it was shot in Croatia, the reason he served as his own camera operator and his reflections on working with the cast and crew.  Bowen gives Metzger plenty of room to discuss each question but maintains a snappy pace, resulting in a brisk track that is a pleasure to listen to.

There are also two twenty-minute featurettes that do a nice job of fleshing out the history of the film presented in the commentary track.  The first is a selection of home movies taken on the set.  This footage was shot without sound but Bowen returns to offer a running commentary, connecting the people and events depicted in the footage with stories of what went on during the shoot.  He reveals some interesting material that isn’t covered on the commentary, like how Clare Wilbur ostracized costar Lynn Lowry over a disparity in salary and the revelation that the film’s production manager, Branko Lustig, went on to produce films like Schindler’s List and Gladiator.

The other featurette is an interview with Lynn Lowry, who sadly is the only surviving member of the film’s two central couples.  She offers a fond but honest look back at the film, including her side of the dispute with costar Wilbur and how it was amicably settled.  As the featurette progresses, the stories get even juicier: she talks about why she had a falling out with Metzger after the shoot, why she disliked the finished film early on and how Carl Douglas insisted on sleeping with her to prepare for their scenes together (note: she declined his demand).  Needless to say, this featurette is fascinating stuff.

The package is rounded out by a trio of trailers: Score, Camille 2000 and The Lickerish Quartet.  The trailers for Audubon Films were always carefully edited so each is worth a watch.

To sum up, Score offers a great-looking transfer and bonus features that give the viewer a richly informative look behind the scenes.  It’s a necessity for Metzger fans and offers a strong example of how blu-ray can do well by vintage erotica.

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