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Lickerish Quartet, The

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    Ian Jane
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  • Lickerish Quartet, The



    Released by: Cult Epics
    Released on: 4/26/2011
    Director: Radley Metzger
    Cast: Silvana Venturelli, Frank Wolff, Erika Remberg, Paolo Turco
    Year: 1970
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Made while his career was in full swing and hot on the coattails of films like Therese And Isabelle and Camille 2000 and just shortly before he'd hit it out of the park with Score, Radley Metzger's The Lickerish Quartet stands the test of time as a work of near pornographic art. As is common with the director's films, the picture blends scenes of sophisticated erotica with a stylish and heady arthouse sensibility and the results are uniformly excellent.

    The picture begins when a smug man (Frank Wolff) and his cantankerous wife (Erika Remberg) screen a black and white stag film, much to the dismay of their moody son (Paolo Turco). The husband, however, is quite impressed with the blonde performer (Silvana Venturelli) in the film, while the wife assumes that all the women involved in sex films must be prostitutes. When the son has had enough, the three venture out of the castle they call home to a circus where they watch some daredevil motorcyclists perform. When the female rider takes off her helmet, low and behold she's a dead ringer for the blonde they just watched in the stag film, albeit with darker hair.

    The husband decides to amuse himself by convincing her to come back to their home where he intends to show her the film in question, but when they return and he fires up his projector, the film has changed and now her face which was once in plain view of the leering lens is now obscured. They convince the woman to stay the night, after all, it's late and they're in a remote location, and the next day when they all awake each member of the family engages in a sexual encounter with her before everything unravels as the film brings itself to a close.

    A twisting and turning game of fantasy becoming reality, The Lickerish Quartet contains no shortage of skin on skin but is shot with a considerably more conservative lens than the films that would soon come from Radley Metzger (and of course his nom de porn, Henry Paris). This doesn't detract from their staying power, as thankfully the convincing performances from all four of the central characters ensure that they're plenty hot, but it does allow for some creative camerawork (those familiar with Japanese pink films will see familiar tricks employed here in order to keep the film out of X-rated territory). This really is a very pretty looking film though and Metzger obviously put a lot of care not only into shooting the love scenes but in the entire framing of the picture, from the amazing locations he secured for the shoot right down to the early scenes in the circus.

    Shot without the intent to use live sound (more on that in the extras), Wolff and Remberg do their own dubbing here but Turco And Venturelli do not - none of this really hurts the film though, and it sort of actually works alongside the film's themes of fantasy and reality. The whole things adds up to a surprisingly trippy and at times almost surreal viewing experience, and an all together different sort of sex film than most viewers will be familiar with. Stelvio Cipriani's excellent score adds an additional layer of 'cool' to an already impressive film.

    Metzger would make more involving pictures in the years to come, and this one is a little slow to start and frequently makes its lead characters a little unlikeable, but once the curvy wrench that is Venturelli is thrown into the works, the story really starts to grab you the film winds up a treat for the brain as well as for the eyes as art truly begins to imitate life - or is it the other way around?

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Cult Epics presents the uncut version of Lickerish Quartet on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1.85.1 widescreen 1080p high definition transfer that is generally pretty strong and which shows more information on the left and right side of the screen than the previous 1.66.1 DVD release from Image. Those with an aversion to grain or minor print damage might be put off by the specks that appear throughout but there's a very strong increase in both clarity and detail over previous releases of the film and the image is definitely cleaner looking than it has been in the past as well. Color reproduction is great and skin tones look nice and natural as well. Black levels very good and sharpness and contrast are set properly. There aren't any problems with noise reduction, heavy edge enhancement or compression artifacts and generally this is a pretty strong, film like transfer.

    The sole audio option on the disc is a standard definition Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix, no lossless option is provided. That complaint aside, the audio sounds fine here, though it should be noted that the film was dubbed and post synched, not shot with live sound. The music used throughout the film sounds nice and punchy without coming across as too loud in the mix, and while there are occasional instances where you might notice some mild distortion, if you're not listening for it you probably won't notice and it's never enough to really be much of a bother. Dialogue is always easy to understand, the levels are well balanced, and it all sounds fine for what it is. No subtitles or alternate language options are provided.

    The best extra on this disc is a commentary track courtesy of director Radley Metzger moderated by film historian Michael Bowen, who does a fine job of keeping the director on track as he tells us about the making of this picture and working with the various cast and crew members on the film. Metzger educates us on the complications that are involved in shooting love scenes, securing locations, distribution issues, the dubbing in the film, and scripting ideas. It's a fairly involved talk with Metzger in good spirits throughout.

    Cult Epics has also included an eleven minute featurette on the disc entitled Mind Games which features narrator Rick Ulfik discussing the picture's history overtop of a series of stills and some footage shot silently on set during the production. Alternate softer versions of the black and white love scenes are included as is a surprisingly interesting featurette that compares the on-set dialogue with the dubbed dialogue seen in the final version of the film. The trailer for the feature is included as are trailers for the previously released Score and the soon to be released Camille 2000. Animated menus and chapter stops are of course included on the disc and inside the keepcase is an insert advertising other Cult Epics erotica titles.

    The Final Word:

    Metzger has made better movies but that doesn't take away from the fact that The Lickerish Quartet is really just an all around great movie in pretty much every possible way. It's amazingly well shot even by the director's own lofty standards and it's both steamy and intriguing enough that it should have no problem holding your attention. Cult Epics' Blu-ray release is a Godsend, offering up a high quality film like transfer and enough extras that we can overlook the lack of lossless audio. Great stuff - and absolutely worth every penny.

    Click the images below for full size Blu-ray screen caps!




















    • Paul Casey
      #2
      Paul Casey
      Frito Bandito
      Paul Casey commented
      Editing a comment
      Hot librarian...bust of Laocoí¶n...looks like my kinda place.

    • Todd Jordan
      #3
      Todd Jordan
      Smut is good.
      Todd Jordan commented
      Editing a comment
      man...knee-high boots get my blood pumping.

    • affrosponge88
      #4
      affrosponge88
      Junior Member
      affrosponge88 commented
      Editing a comment
      Can anyone tell me if the Arrow R2 blu-ray has a different cut of The Lickerish Quartet? I just watched the Cult Epics blu of it last night (first time viewing) and loved it, but I'm curious if there's another cut out there with more hardcore scenes.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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