Jlewis

A discrete discussion on "adult" films and their social impact

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Getting into some taboo subject matter here, but no need to panic. I will be very discrete. I hope. Yet prepare for frequent visits by the TCM Moderator.

 

There are two "crown jewels" of the "Golden Age of Porn" that I previously just saw excerpts from over the past couple decades of movie watching, but... thanks to the all reliable Pornhub... I got to sit through them in their entirety. One was Wakefield Poole's Boys In The Sand, released December 1971 as the first feature length all-male sex film. The other was Gerard Damiano's strictly heterosexual Deep Throat, released six months later and needing no introduction since, of course, it was the film most responsible for opening the flood gates. Before both of these films, you also had Russ Meyer's "nudie cuties", nudist documentaries that gradually removed the concealing volley balls from This Nude World (1933) through The Raw Ones (1965), naughty Swedish imports like I Am Curious, Yellow (Jag är nyfiken – en film i gult) (1967, the one film TCM was brave enough to broadcast one middle-of-the-night), Andy Warhol's Blue Movie (1968), Ur kärlekens språk (1969, with its fully clothed experts talking and happy unclothed couples demonstrating), History Of The Blue Movie (1970) and Bill Osco's Mona The Virgin Nymph (1970) in addition to the countless under-the-counter shorter films going back to the dawn of the 20th century that were dubbed "smokers". Yet they haven't been subjects of popular documentaries like Inside Deep Throat and I Always Say Yes: The Many Lives Of Wakefield Poole.

 

Ooooh boy. Where to begin?

 

I guess I will start by saying that former is a piece of fine art, if slightly boring fine art, while the latter is unashamedly a piece of junk, if entertaining junk.

 

Everybody from Frank Sinatra to Vice President Spiro Agnew (allegedly) saw Deep Throat back then, even if some of these same folks wouldn't be caught dead watching the much more innocent Boys In The Sand. There are scenes here that give me an awful after-taste, like both Dolly Sharp and Linda Lovelace being too willing to allow multiple guys enjoy them at once. Also I didn't like the later scene involving alcohol drinking "down under". No... I am not getting into details here.

 

Harry Reems as Linda's good doctor is quite lovable, always smiling and seems confident enough in his masculinity to allow the women to dominate him. Their scenes in his office are quite enjoyable, both when he is trying to find her "tingler" (cue stock shots of bells banging, fireworks and Apollo launches) and when she unwraps his "little" bandage later. Much of the comic dialogue is pretty lame, but it certainly was lampooned enough in many TV sitcoms (albeit toned down to please the FCC), especially the running joke involving Harry talking to either his recorder or telephone while "in action" with his other nurse. The final scenes with Linda's ex-husband "Wilbur" (I won't mention his last name) call to mind Bye Bye Birdie with Linda imitating Ann-Margret's "awwww Hugo" talk with Bobby Rydell.


Artistically Boys In The Sand is a lot more interesting than Deep Throat, which... let's be blunt here... resembles a low-budget "B" of the period. This classier production was shot like a silent film (all pantomime) with only a music score, much of it quite good with Indian sitars included for part 3. (Actually the music in the other is good too, much it original songs with great humor.) Boys displays double exposures, lots of soft focus and some special effects work which remind me of the contemporary shorter films of James Broughton like The Bed, Golden Positions and Dreamwood. There is also an overall theme full of meaning and symbolism. In part 1, Casey Donovan emerges from the sea and changes places with the other guy on shore, returning to the woods where the former emerged from. In part 2, Casey is shown waiting by a mail box, then orders a magic potion that he throws into a pool and a new man emerges as his next lover. It concludes with a different man waiting by a mail box. In part 3, Casey is shown in bed restless, but a telephone man later visits him in a rare (for that time) inter-racial scene, then they trade places with the latter laying alone on the bed.

 

If you use this film as an example and not some of the rougher offerings made in later years, you could potentially prove to the right-wing conservatives that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. Everybody is enjoying themselves and there is no harm done apart from not using "rain coats" in this pre-HIV era. Casey is fully nude two-thirds of the film's running time (and sporting a very white central region since he couldn't avoid those tan lines) and his actions with three different guys are mostly seen in long-shot with occasional periodic closing-in shots done very tastefully and artistically. The earliest scenes show less than the later ones (so as not to shock the prudish viewers too soon) with foliage casting shadows over the bodies. In contrast, Deep Throat has many close-ups that were merely edited in and you aren't 100% positive the "parts" all belong to the same actors; much of it resembling those clinical films shown in medical schools. Sadly there is also a lack of kissing in the heterosexual film as well, but Boys has a LOT of it, along with eye-gazing, rubbing and gentle caressing. It appears that Casey had met each of his partners before filming and already got acquainted with them, while Linda seems to have been instructed what motions to do once she saw a certain anatomical part placed at eye level. With the exception of Harry and possibly Wilbur, I don't see her all that "connected" emotionally with any other guy on screen. Casey really likes the guys he is with and has this tantra like, both "maternal" and brotherly, dedication with each.

 

My overall impression seeing these back to back is that gay film makers of the early seventies who wanted to show sex and nudity had to get around it by making their material look worthy, at least in pictorial quality, to something shown at the Museum of Modern Art. (Amusingly Greta Garbo made her final screen appearance, just walking down a city street, in one such film, Adam & Yves, which likely wouldn't find distribution without that selling point.) While Deep Throat was very taboo breaking like other heterosexual sex films of its era, there was less of a need to be "art" since audiences were already more comfortable watching intimacy between opposite genders than same genders.

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I have not seen either film you mentioned but your right when you suggest that gay erotic films had to be presented in more artistic style in order to be accepted.

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Compared to all that is easy to find online at various sites (you name the site), Boys In The Sand is a very boring movie for most who stumble on it. I am sure somebody like Mike Huckabee or Pat Roberston would find it vile and disgusting, but I don't think most heterosexuals who have seen porn before would be that disturbed by anything shown, since it is all done with pleasing cinematography and, oddly, gets rather predictable with the star doing the same provocative actions three times during the movie with no variation. To be honest, I dozed off a bit while watching it. In addition, the cinematography is very dreamy with a lot of soft focus, like other early seventies films of the period of The Garden Of The Finzi Continis / Summer Of '42 / The Way We Were / The Great Gatsby variety. In fact, Casey (Calvin Culver) did remind me a lot of Robert Redford even though they don't look alike. Something about their walk and mannerisms.

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Oh... I should add that I saw another one this week that is just dying to get analyzed here: Radley Metzger's Score. I guess you can say it brings together the best of both worlds. It certainly gets my vote for some of the funniest dialogue in this, um, genre. Calvin Culver actually talks in this one.

 

However I think that one should wait for another time. Already we have gone off course of our usual Bette Davis Now Voyager discussions here.

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I have not seen either film you mentioned but your right when you suggest that gay erotic films had to be presented in more artistic style in order to be accepted.

 

Accepted by whom?     In addition what do you mean by 'accepted'?    E.g. a politician 'accepting' a porn film therefore they wouldn't try to get it banned?   Or did you mean viewers 'accepting' a more artistic porn film;  I.e. more likely to see it or purchase it?

 

Heterosexual porn did make some major changes by adding romance so that the films would be 'accepted' by women viewers.   This was done to increase rentals by couples.     

 

Does artistic gay porn have better rental revenues than non-artistic gay porn?    

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Accepted by whom?     In addition what do you mean by 'accepted'?    E.g. a politician 'accepting' a porn film therefore they wouldn't try to get it banned?   Or did you mean viewers 'accepting' a more artistic porn film;  I.e. more likely to see it or purchase it?

 

Heterosexual porn did make some major changes by adding romance so that the films would be 'accepted' by women viewers.   This was done to increase rentals by couples.     

 

Does artistic gay porn have better rental revenues than non-artistic gay porn?    

 

Actually there was plenty of romance in heterosexual "soft core" in the sixties leading up to the more explicit material in the seventies, so it wasn't that big of a leap.

 

Earlier I was making a distinction between two films viewed and got the impression that the gay material was forced to be more "artistic" in order to get accepted in theaters. Mind you, Deep Throat still got banned in many states, so it isn't like all of America embraced it with open arms. Nonetheless it received a wider audience because the battle against censorship tended to side more with what was still "normal" and heterosexuality was considered more "normal" in the early seventies.

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Accepted by whom?     In addition what do you mean by 'accepted'?    E.g. a politician 'accepting' a porn film therefore they wouldn't try to get it banned?   Or did you mean viewers 'accepting' a more artistic porn film;  I.e. more likely to see it or purchase it?

 

Heterosexual porn did make some major changes by adding romance so that the films would be 'accepted' by women viewers.   This was done to increase rentals by couples.     

 

Does artistic gay porn have better rental revenues than non-artistic gay porn?    

Not necessarily but obviously Wakefield Poole was interested in more than just showing guys having sex.

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Actually there was plenty of romance in heterosexual "soft core" in the sixties leading up to the more explicit material in the seventies, so it wasn't that big of a leap.

 

Earlier I was making a distinction between two films viewed and got the impression that the gay material was forced to be more "artistic" in order to get accepted in theaters. Mind you, Deep Throat still got banned in many states, so it isn't like all of America embraced it with open arms. Nonetheless it received a wider audience because the battle against censorship tended to side more with what was still "normal" and heterosexuality was considered more "normal" in the early seventies.

But this is even true today-a gay love scene in a movie usually means that the film will be rated R

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Not necessarily but obviously Wakefield Poole was interested in more than just showing guys having sex.

 

Boys In The Sand could fit into TCM's schedule if it didn't have... well... those few scenes that I don't think TCM programmers are quite ready to embrace. Then again, the amount of footage of the star frolicking with a dog on the beach is still longer than the provocative moments.

 

One scene that I particularly liked was at the tail end of the pool sequence (part 2). After getting intimate together, the two guys get fully dressed and walk together as buddies walking and talking. The whole "vibe" of that film is so different than the other, although I still like the relationship between Harry and Linda.

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Actually there was plenty of romance in heterosexual "soft core" in the sixties leading up to the more explicit material in the seventies, so it wasn't that big of a leap.

 

Earlier I was making a distinction between two films viewed and got the impression that the gay material was forced to be more "artistic" in order to get accepted in theaters. Mind you, Deep Throat still got banned in many states, so it isn't like all of America embraced it with open arms. Nonetheless it received a wider audience because the battle against censorship tended to side more with what was still "normal" and heterosexuality was considered more "normal" in the early seventies.

 

You really believe heterosexual viewers are more likely to watch artistic gay porn than non-artistic gay porn?    I don't,  especially heterosexual men.     Even guys like me that are 100% for gay rights and have many gay friends,   don't wish to watch gay porn,  period.     Of course maybe I'm old fashion but I watch porn for only one reason and since I'm not gay,  that reason doesn't 'work' with gay porn.

 

Now films with gay characters and gay sexual scenes are now receiving a wider audience (the fine show 6 Feet Under is what may be more 'accepting' of such programming),   but that programming isn't porn.

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You really believe heterosexual viewers are more likely to watch artistic gay porn than non-artistic gay porn?    I don't,  especially heterosexual men.     Even guys like me that are 100% for gay rights and have many gay friends,   don't wish to watch gay porn,  period.     Of course maybe I'm old fashion but I watch porn for only one reason and since I'm not gay,  that reason doesn't 'work' with gay porn.

 

Now films with gay characters and gay sexual scenes are now receiving a wider audience (the fine show 6 Feet Under is what may be more 'accepting' of such programming),   but that programming isn't porn.

 

Well... I wasn't expecting to go THIS far in the conversation. Ha ha! I guess you have a point though. Then again, some heterosexual men enjoy lesbian activities... if we want to get really deep into this discussion.

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Well... I wasn't expecting to go THIS far in the conversation. Ha ha! I guess you have a point though. Then again, some heterosexual men enjoy lesbian activities... if we want to get really deep into this discussion.

 

Uh,  films with lesbian 'activities' tend to feature good looking naked women.     Heterosexual men like looking at that, but good looking naked men;   not so much.      

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Uh,  films with lesbian 'activities' tend to feature good looking naked women.     Heterosexual men like looking at that, but good looking naked men;   not so much.      

 

Like Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon in The Hunger. I remember watching that one on video in 1983 with my mother. She had a hellavah lot to say about it. Then again, she wasn't "100% for gay rights" as you claim to be either.

 

One curious thing I didn't think of before, until you took this conversation in another direction. Boys In The Sand only features four guys naked in it and mostly it is Casey/Calvin showcased. The other three have less time on screen and the guy in the pool sequence gets the least amount of coverage with hardly any close-up shots. On the other hand, Deep Throat had, I think, seven guys with their prominent members exposed but only three women and usually they were partially clothed when occupied. This raises some interesting questions as to whom the latter film was really intended for.

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Uh,  films with lesbian 'activities' tend to feature good looking naked women.     Heterosexual men like looking at that, but good looking naked men;   not so much.      

I love lesbian vampire movies- I was watching "The Blood Splattered Bride" (1972) a Spanish version of Le Fanu's "Carmilla" with a kinky erotic touch

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OK. Another title I suggested a couple posts below.

 

Radley Metzger's Score (1973) is definitely unique and should please at least some movie fans who generally don't watch "adult" films. With that said, I should still give a warning. Yes, there is some explicit material here and those who are too cautious should try the 84 minute "soft" version which cuts out much of the hanky panky. It is the "hard" 91 minute version that I watched and will analyze below... with discretion. However the dialogue is delightful, Robert Cornford's music score lingering on the brain (interspersed with a sixties-ish theme song "Where Is The Girl?") and the cinematography (much of it by Frano Vodopivec, a veteran in Yugoslavia's film industry since the WW2 era) is bold and dazzling, with many shots done at peculiar angles and even some subtle referencing to Michael Powell's films (i.e. he is mentioned by name on screen) with the ground level staircase scenes resembling The Red Shoes.

 

I must admit a certain fondness to the few films I have seen directed by Metzger, who passed away this past March. Between 1963 and 1984, often with his Audubon Films company, he made very stylish productions that were mostly shot in Europe, this one using Bakar of current Croatia, then Yugoslavia. His earliest productions would be defined as "soft core", barely making an R or PG-13 rating today. Score was the first available in both "soft" and "hard" versions, the result of a new market expanded by Deep Throat. The earlier Theresa And Isabelle (1968) had covered a lesbian relationship, but most of Metzger's other features focused on heterosexuality. Score dramatically takes on the letter B in LGBT.

 

Think of this as a follow-up film to both Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice. The first title merely insinuated an attempted seduction involving Liz Taylor's Martha and George Segal's Nick that didn't pan out. The latter had all four hopping in the sack together, then deciding it is too-too much. In this one, they all want to but the telephone repair man disrupts them in a very funny twist ending.

 

One frisky married couple, Claire Wilbur playing Elvira (the Martha/Carol role) and Gerald Grant as Jack (the George/Bob role), compete with each other to "score" with their new neighbors. Lynn Lowry plays Betsy who is every bit as reserved as Sandy Dennis' Honey and Dyan Cannon's Alice (and also "devout Catholic", prompting Elvira to dress as a nun). Gay porn star Calvin Culver a.k.a. Casey Donovan (previously in Boys In The Sand) plays her frustrated but ivy league husband Eddie, resembling George Segal's Nick somewhat in his clean-cut preppy looks but sharing Elliot Gould/Ted's sexual frustration; a key scene has her catching him in the bathroom doing the same thing Annette Bening catches Kevin Spacey doing in American Beauty... and I think an episode in Sex And The City also covered this territory as well.

 

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? had a made up tale of a son who suffered tragedy due to a porcupine crossing a road. Porcupines are referenced here too, but only to emphasize Elvira and Jack's "lavender" marriage. (She wears plenty of that color too.) As they say, couples who compete together stay together. We do see Elvira express her heterosexual tastes with both her husband and the telephone repair man Mike (Carl Parker takes on the screen role that Sylvester Stallone did in the Jerry Douglas stage play that this was adapted from), but curiously we don't see Jack chasing any women besides his wife. Wife and hubbie do seduce, of course, the other wife and hubbie... respectively.

 

I suspect that the women were cast for their acting abilities but the men for their looks, even though Calvin did work with Ingrid Bergman on the stage in addition much less-dialogue heavy material in... you know... stuff like Boys In The Sand and L.A. Tool & Die. Claire Wilbur channels more Elizabeth Taylor feline prowess than sweet Natalie Wood here.  Allegedly there was some animosity between her and the higher-paid Lynn Lowry and this shows on screen. Clever editing and creative use of mirrors and glass effects heighten the sensuality of their scenes together, but one senses that more camera trickery was necessary to crank up their heat than usual.

 

In contrast, it appears that Calvin and Gerald Grant were passionate enough together that they probably continued long after the camera crew yelled "cut". Thus, director Metzger likely wound up with way more material to use of them that had to be cut down to balance the couplings out. Virtually all of the scenes cut for the tamer 84 minute version involves them and, yes, the un-cut version deserves its X-rating and, therefore, if you are shocked by any kind of bro-bonding that goes beyond merely sharing a Miller Lite during Super Bowl half time, then avoid the 91 minute version at all costs. The "next morning" scene has Elvira coming downstairs to check on her husband in that groovy shag-rug basement, finding him asleep with Eddie in naked embrace and, like the proud parents glimpsing their daughter and boyfriend asleep together in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Decameron, she looks rather touched and proud of her hubbie's success. When Eddie wakes up befuddled, Jack responds wife-like and maternally "Did you have a nightmare?"

 

There are plenty of visuals that fascinate on repeated viewings. Many shots are split into square and rectangular segments. When Jack asks Eddie and Betsy if he spoiled their evening by starting their marital disagreement, we see a grumpy Eddie on the left side of the screen and confused Betsy on the right with Jack's back side holding a wooden "wedge" in the middle. This emphasizes Jack's success in separating the two for his and Elvira's conquests. While the footage with the ladies involve most of the trendy mirror fun house stuff, there's an amusing shot of a black and white "stag reel" shown on Jack's pants, the body parts shown in the movie-within-the-movie cover the key areas as if the cloth is see through. I am sure this is not the first film to use this gimmick, since the Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy toyed a little in this direction during the Warhol factory party scenes, but there is great discipline shown here. Metzer wasn't merely making a sex flick, but an artistic motion picture that merely had sex scenes in it.

 

Colors are used very creatively. Betsy and Eddie wear plenty of "virginal" white when visiting for the night-time party, but Jack only puts on the white sailor suit to impress Eddie. Mike the repair man sports a red cap (minus the "Make America Great Again" logo) to match the red swimwear in a flashback scene that Elvira and Jack wear as she relates her view of their marriage to Betsy, although we just have Eddie's red scarf later when this flashback is revisited by Jack (who later tugs that scarf like a dog collar). I should also point out that there is more color here than in a Vincente Minnelli musical, all of it mismatched with bright blue phones against orange tables and very loud yellow couch throw-overs. Gotta love the early seventies!

 

What really sells this film is the dialogue. Metzger's features were among the best written productions of their genre; his later The Opening Of Misty Beethoven even took on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. When Elvira is getting glamorous, Jack asks her if she is having her "Loretta Young moment" (and Elvira does mimic Young's later TV persona on occasion by being overly composed). Betsy asks Elvira "What does Jack say is important in an erotic photo?", the reply being "F22". Betsy says she wants to play "Chopsticks" on the piano "but I don't remember the words". After Betsy and Eddie get blue-collared "big bad wolf" Mike interested in going bowling with them, Betsy says "You can come over for brunch and you and Eddie... can watch television." Eddie then reuses Jack's old line: "How do you think we will do in the Olympics?" Betsy later suggests they all play Bingo, but Jack and Elvira would much rather see that new Michael Powell film at the cinema and, as Jack eyes a young waiter across the street as a new conquest for the two to fight over, he quips "Hey, let's have a cup of coffee there after the movie."

 

While these swinging couples may not be the couples conservative Middle America would want to emulate, happy couples are those who share a happy thirst for competitive sports.

 

One couple has sailed the seven seas while the other couple has been stuck on dry land for too long.

 

score-03.jpg

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Interesting review of SCORE. Especially how you drew comparisons to more mainstream fare like WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF and BOB & TED & CAROL & ALICE. 

 

I strongly dislike BOB & TED & CAROL & ALICE because it seems as if it ultimately gets scared of the subject-- the ending is a real cop-out in my opinion. But in a film truly geared for an adult audience, the exploration of these themes can be, well, more adult.

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Interesting review of SCORE. Especially how you drew comparisons to more mainstream fare like WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF and BOB & TED & CAROL & ALICE. 

 

I strongly dislike BOB & TED & CAROL & ALICE because it seems as if it ultimately gets scared of the subject-- the ending is a real cop-out in my opinion. But in a film truly geared for an adult audience, the exploration of these themes can be, well, more adult.

 

Actually B&T&C&A felt like a silly movie when I first watched it completely, but it has grown on me over the years due to how retro it is. I have sat through it at least four times and started the memorizing the dialogue even if it isn't nearly as funny as Score. Yeah, I am quirky that way.

 

Probably everything made between 1968, when the MPAA ratings replaced the Production Code and Hollywood now was clueless what to do with all of this new found cinematic freedom, and 1974, when even Columbia Pictures was backing the downright stupid French import Emmannuelle just so they could compete with United Artists' handing of The Last Tango In Paris, is very much a time capsule of "what exactly were they all thinking?" I have read at least one recent review of Score that finds it totally ridiculous for today's audiences who now have gay marriage and don't understand why Jack and Claire still love each other despite being more attracted to other people. That is a logical point, but I actually kinda like their oddball relationship because their conversations flow naturally. Sort of like Liz' Martha loving Richard Burton's George because "he can play the game well".

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Actually B&T&C&A felt like a silly movie when I first watched it completely, but it has grown on me over the years due to how retro it is. I have sat through it at least four times and started the memorizing the dialogue even if it isn't nearly as funny as Score. Yeah, I am quirky that way.

 

Probably everything made between 1968, when the MPAA ratings replaced the Production Code and Hollywood now was clueless what to do with all of this new found cinematic freedom, and 1974, when even Columbia Pictures was backing the downright stupid French import Emmannuelle just so they could compete with United Artists' handing of The Last Tango In Paris, is very much a time capsule of "what exactly were they all thinking?" I have read at least one recent review of Score that finds it totally ridiculous for today's audiences who now have gay marriage and don't understand why Jack and Claire still love each other despite being more attracted to other people. That is a logical point, but I actually kinda like their oddball relationship because their conversations flow naturally. Sort of like Liz' Martha loving Richard Burton's George because "he can play the game well".

 

I feel like BOB & TED & CAROL & ALICE is kind of childish. Yes, they had greater freedom after the abolishment of the production code, but they didn't actually take advantage of that freedom. They still made a film to appeal to the masses-- which meant they censored themselves. So the whole set-up seems phony. At least in an actual adult film, the exploration of these issues is a bit more legitimate.

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As I said. I like it because it was "retro", not because it was realistic or ground breaking cinema. I mean... Elliott Gould has to be instructed to remove his undies while they are all covered by the bed spread. Lol!

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OK. Another title I suggested a couple posts below.

 

Radley Metzger's Score (1973) is definitely unique and should please at least some movie fans who generally don't watch "adult" films. With that said, I should still give a warning. Yes, there is some explicit material here and those who are too cautious should try the 84 minute "soft" version which cuts out much of the hanky panky. It is the "hard" 91 minute version that I watched and will analyze below... with discretion. However the dialogue is delightful, Robert Cornford's music score lingering on the brain (interspersed with a sixties-ish theme song "Where Is The Girl?") and the cinematography (much of it by Frano Vodopivec, a veteran in Yugoslavia's film industry since the WW2 era) is bold and dazzling, with many shots done at peculiar angles and even some subtle referencing to Michael Powell's films (i.e. he is mentioned by name on screen) with the ground level staircase scenes resembling The Red Shoes.

 

I must admit a certain fondness to the few films I have seen directed by Metzger, who passed away this past March. Between 1963 and 1984, often with his Audobon Films company, he made very stylish productions that were mostly shot in Europe, this one using Bakar of current Croatia, then Yugoslavia. His earliest productions would be defined as "soft core", barely making an R or PG-13 rating today. Score was the first available in both "soft" and "hard" versions, the result of a new market expanded by Deep Throat. The earlier Theresa And Isabelle (1968) had covered a lesbian relationship, but most of Metzger's other features focused on heterosexuality. Score dramatically takes on the letter B in LGBT.

 

Think of this as a follow-up film to both Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice. The first title merely insinuated an attempted seduction involving Liz Taylor's Martha and George Segal's Nick that didn't pan out. The latter had all four hopping in the sack together, then deciding it is too-too much. In this one, they all want to but the telephone repair man disrupts them in a very funny twist ending.

 

One frisky married couple, Claire Wilbur playing Elvira (the Martha/Carol role) and Gerald Grant as Jack (the George/Bob role), compete with each other to "score" with their new neighbors. Lynn Lowry plays Betsy who is every bit as reserved as Sandy Dennis' Honey and Dyan Cannon's Alice (and also "devout Catholic", prompting Elvira to dress as a nun). Gay porn star Calvin Culver a.k.a. Casey Donovan (previously in Boys In The Sand) plays her frustrated but ivy league husband Eddie, resembling George Segal's Nick somewhat in his clean-cut preppy looks but sharing Elliot Gould/Ted's sexual frustration; a key scene has her catching him in the bathroom doing the same thing Annette Bening catches Kevin Spacey doing in American Beauty... and I think an episode in Sex And The City also covered this territory as well.

 

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? had a made up tale of a son who suffered tragedy due to a porcupine crossing a road. Porcupines are referenced here too, but only to emphasize Elvira and Jack's "lavender" marriage. (She wears plenty of that color too.) As they say, couples who compete together stay together. We do see Elvira express her heterosexual tastes with both her husband and the telephone repair man Mike (Carl Parker takes on the screen role that Sylvester Stallone did in the Jerry Douglas stage play that this was adapted from), but curiously we don't see Jack chasing any women besides his wife. Wife and hubbie do seduce, of course, the other wife and hubbie... respectively.

 

I suspect that the women were cast for their acting abilities but the men for their looks, even though Calvin did work with Ingrid Bergman on the stage in addition much less-dialogue heavy material in... you know... stuff like Boys In The Sand and L.A. Tool & Die. Claire Wilbur channels more Elizabeth Taylor feline prowess than sweet Natalie Wood here.  Allegedly there was some animosity between her and the higher-paid Lynn Lowry and this shows on screen. Clever editing and creative use of mirrors and glass effects heighten the sensuality of their scenes together, but one senses that more camera trickery was necessary to crank up their heat than usual.

 

In contrast, it appears that Calvin and Gerald Grant were passionate enough together that they probably continued long after the camera crew yelled "cut". Thus, director Metzger likely wound up with way more material to use of them that had to be cut down to balance the couplings out. Virtually all of the scenes cut for the tamer 84 minute version involves them and, yes, the un-cut version deserves its X-rating and, therefore, if you are shocked by any kind of bro-bonding that goes beyond merely sharing a Miller Lite during Super Bowl half time, then avoid the 91 minute version at all costs. The "next morning" scene has Elvira coming downstairs to check on her husband in that groovy shag-rug basement, finding him asleep with Eddie in naked embrace and, like the proud parents glimpsing their daughter and boyfriend asleep together in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Decameron, she looks rather touched and proud of her hubbie's success. When Eddie wakes up befuddled, Jack responds wife-like and maternally "Did you have a nightmare?"

 

There are plenty of visuals that fascinate on repeated viewings. Many shots are split into square and rectangular segments. When Jack asks Eddie and Betsy if he spoiled their evening by starting their marital disagreement, we see a grumpy Eddie on the left side of the screen and confused Betsy on the right with Jack's back side holding a wooden "wedge" in the middle. This emphasizes Jack's success in separating the two for his and Elvira's conquests. While the footage with the ladies involve most of the trendy mirror fun house stuff, there's an amusing shot of a black and white "stag reel" shown on Jack's pants, the body parts shown in the movie-within-the-movie cover the key areas as if the cloth is see through. I am sure this is not the first film to use this gimmick, since the Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy toyed a little in this direction during the Warhol factory party scenes, but there is great discipline shown here. Metzer wasn't merely making a sex flick, but an artistic motion picture that merely had sex scenes in it.

 

Colors are used very creatively. Betsy and Eddie wear plenty of "virginal" white when visiting for the night-time party, but Jack only puts on the white sailor suit to impress Eddie. Mike the repair man sports a red cap (minus the "Make America Great Again" logo) to match the red swimwear in a flashback scene that Elvira and Jack wear as she relates her view of their marriage to Betsy, although we just have Eddie's red scarf later when this flashback is revisited by Jack (who later tugs that scarf like a dog collar). I should also point out that there is more color here than in a Vincente Minnelli musical, all of it mismatched with bright blue phones against orange tables and very loud yellow couch throw-overs. Gotta love the early seventies!

 

What really sells this film is the dialogue. Metzger's features were among the best written productions of their genre; his later The Opening Of Misty Beethoven even took on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. When Elvira is getting glamorous, Jack asks her if she is having her "Loretta Young moment" (and Elvira does mimic Young's later TV persona on occasion by being overly composed). Betsy asks Elvira "What does Jack say is important in an erotic photo?", the reply being "F22". Betsy says she wants to play "Chopsticks" on the piano "but I don't remember the words". After Betsy and Eddie get blue-collared "big bad wolf" Mike interested in going bowling with them, Betsy says "You can come over for brunch and you and Eddie... can watch television." Eddie then reuses Jack's old line: "How do you think we will do in the Olympics?" Betsy later suggests they all play Bingo, but Jack and Elvira would much rather see that new Michael Powell film at the cinema and, as Jack eyes a young waiter across the street as a new conquest for the two to fight over, he quips "Hey, let's have a cup of coffee there after the movie."

 

While these swinging couples may not be the couples conservative Middle America would want to emulate, happy couples are those who share a happy thirst for competitive sports.

 

One couple has sailed the seven seas while the other couple has been stuck on dry land for too long.

 

score-03.jpg

Always been curious about this one

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I attended a revival screening of "Score" at the Cinema Village in the East Village.

 

The theater was jammed - there was not one available seat.

 

Afterward, Calvin Culver appeared in the front of the theater - with a very pretty girl.

 

He was expecting an appreciative crowd of admirers.

 

Not one person went up to him and congratulated him.

 

I felt very sorry for him.

 

You could see the disappointment in his face.

 

gjguytut.jpg

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Since he died in 1987, that is going back a few years. Gerald and Claire have also passed away and neither had biographies written about them like Casey/Calvin. I guess one should count their blessings. Sadly when you google the name Claire Wilbur, quite often Lynn Lowry's picture comes up instead. No clue where the confusion started there since they look nothing alike. She is the one cast member who is still alive and making occasional public appearances. According to his imdb.com bio, Carl Parker may also be alive but changed careers to real estate.

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"Boy In The Sand - Casey Donovan - All-American Sex Star" by Roger Edmonson is a heartbreaking read.

 

His nude photos in "After Dark" magazine were such a sensation.

 

He started out as a teacher.

 

His love affair with movie star, Tom Tryon, was kept under wraps.

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I feel like BOB & TED & CAROL & ALICE is kind of childish. Yes, they had greater freedom after the abolishment of the production code, but they didn't actually take advantage of that freedom. They still made a film to appeal to the masses-- which meant they censored themselves. So the whole set-up seems phony. At least in an actual adult film, the exploration of these issues is a bit more legitimate.

 

Should have been more specific in my response. I do agree that the ending was a cop-out. However I think the basic point was that the characters were over-analyzing sex and love and not accepting things naturally. Also, when they decide to have their "mutual beddy bye time", it dawns on them that the idea is more interesting than the reality. Being that they were all friends rather than lovers and probably were only attracted to each other as "friends", they all question themselves what they were doing. I especially love the scenes of Ted getting "high maintenance" in the bathroom before proceeding, as if he was getting ready for a job interview.

 

Bob and Carol were understanding of each other for their infidelities because both went to that "new age" session, Alice less so... and then Ted revealed he cheated too, which made her mad. Yet Ted only did his cheating because Bob did and not because he understood anything as an adult. Dyan Cannon's performance as Alice was the best for me because she acted like a human wife who was unafraid to express her emotions even if they involved jealousy, while the others were... well... a bit too much "in their heads".

 

Although the movie was shot in the autumn of 1968 (cue the humorous newspaper cartoons featuring Humphrey vs. Nixon in one the earliest scenes, suggesting that filming began right around the time Hal Ashby's Shampoo was set), it is almost like a criticism of the later "ME" Decade that Tom Wolfe wrote about in 1976. Everybody was analyzing themselves too much in the seventies (i.e. major joke in Annie Hall too) and getting self absorbed in the process. I guess we haven't changed much since because we, as a nation, would rather have talk show hosts and TV personalities tell us "how to feel" rather than just let emotions and empathy for others develop naturally.

 

You probably would be critical of Score too because, like B&C&T&A, they get stoned with grass and act all analytical. Yet you can see that the characters of Elvira and Jack have a strong bond despite their swinging ways, almost like they are lion and lioness stalking the two impalas and going in for the kill. Yet the impalas survive the attack and actually get over a lot of insecurities in the process. When they... *spoiler alert*... leave to hang out with Mike, they are very liberated. Eddie in particular has flashes of his wife using a toy (you can guess which kind) while he is in cahoots with Jack, suggesting that he still wants his wife but now wants to try different things with her now that he knows what it feels like (thanks to Jack). Um... I hope I explained things well enough without rocking the boat here. Trying to keep it all G-rated here.

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