May 31, 2011 09:50am
Opulent Eroticism of Radley Metzger
Source: Adult Industry News
by: William Margold
Cinema Seen by William Margold
"If Radley Metzger feels that the censors are strangling the cinema, he can rest easy. He has hung a good one on them. A real good one."
And so my review of "Therese & Isabelle" began in the July 2, 1968, issue of the Santa Monica Evening Outlook. My column also incorporated portions of an interview with Metzger, the director of the "controversial" (for its time) production.
The black-and-white — as well as tan and pink in all the right places — film will be screening on Monday, June 6 as part of a UCLA film series called " Smooth Operator: The Opulent Eroticism of Radley Metzger." For further details — including the other six titles (from which some artwork appears here) — please refer to www.cinema.UCLA.edu.
I was "turned on" to the series by the publicist for Cult Epics (www.cultepics.com), as the artistically erotic distribution company is showcasing the re-release of Metzger’s 1969 carnally capricious creation "Camille 2000" in conjunction with the program.
In fact… on Friday, June 3, Cult Epics will be hosting a free screening of Camille 2000… and an after party with Radley Metzger in attendance. Once again… see www.cinema.UCLA.edu for further details.
Returning to my 1968 Evening Outlook column, I was delighted to see that quite a number of my over 40 year old paragraphs were (considering my lifelong battle against political correctness), a harbinger of my eternal contempt for rules and regulations… as I wrote:
Beneath the poetry and pleasantness of Metzger’s "Therese and Isabelle" lurk nudity, possible perversion and lesbianism. So what? It is a very intelligent film, beautifully photographed and edited, and extremely well acted.
Metzger is of the new breed. Today he is called an exploiter, a peddler of cinematic flesh, and a procurer for the public. Just wait — he and the men like him — will be among tomorrow’s movie giants.
Today’s movies are taking it off and socking it in…because that’s the way of the world. And sex seems more obscene because instead of men and women (which stills offends many viewers); it’s two members of the same sex. Religion seems a little shallower, because someone has decided that everything is no longer preordained. That’s progress; progress with a purpose. The world might as well be shown what it has to live with, and men like Metzger are doing it intelligently. Blinders are very unbecoming, particularly on billions of people.
The movies of today are in a position to be the greatest educator of all time. More kids waddle in, and walk out of theaters, than ever before. Since parents are always being attacked for not delivering the facts of life to their charges, the movies have been called in to rock the future generations on cinematic knees.
For that matter, some of the supposedly learned "ready-to-take-it" adults who themselves waddle into theaters that exhibit "18 and over only!" signs, put on quite a show, complete with giggles and sordid remarks.
This not to say that "Therese and Isabelle" is "brilliance incarnate." Far from it. But the theme of the movie is what is at stake. Lesbianism, unlike male homosexuality, is not a surface wrong in today’s world.
Metzger feels that a lesbian episode is very common in many women’s lives. "My film was made to extricate the guilt from many people’s lives," he said.
Metzger’s skill in directing the love scenes — which will be blown far out of proportion with each succeeding word-of-mouth rendering — shows a great empathy for his topic.
"Nudity in films is as prevalent today as a bathing suit was during World War II, and the bikini was in the ‘50’s," he states, not as a defense…but as common knowledge. "There is a trend toward liberalism. However if restriction starts, it could snowball." And with that sentiment, Metzger evidenced a little fear, which coincided with his concluding feeling that "people are frightened today."
Some people may well be, but Radley Metzger is one individual who is not running scared. He is on a direct course to give movie audiences their own life and times — on the screen.
And as the history of the adult film industry has seductively unveiled and sensuously evolved during its warm, wet, and wondrously wanton way up, down, and all around the pubic path of fondling flesh and fevered frolic — over the past half century of carnal cinematics - Radley Metzger has richly earned the title of the Master Titillationeer.