Score Blu-ray Review
Directed by Radley Metzger
Written by Jerry Douglas
1974, Region B2, 90 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 11th February 2013
Claire Wilbur as Elvira
Calvin Culver as Eddie
Lynn Lowry as Betsy
Gerald Grant as Jack
Carl Parker as Mike
Stop me if you've heard this one before – muscular, rough around the edges and wearing a bright red baseball cap, a handyman comes knocking on the door to fix a frustrated housewife's telephone. She answers the door looking flustered and in a state of near undress. I think I once saw a Sylvester Stallone movie with a similar plot.
Shagging the handyman aside, Score is far from your conventional grumble flick. A liberated couple living in a fictional 1970s city decide to play a game with an uptight and Catholic local couple. This is no Saw sequel though – the games Elvira and Eddie have in mind are more of the kinky kind. They play a running game in which they try to see who can seduce more members of the same sex. They lure couples to their home for dinner, where Elvira attempts to have the woman and Eddie the man. Such are the lengths couples had to go to for amusement before games like Monogamy were invented.
Of the three Radley Metzger sexploitation movies re-released by Arrow Video (Camille 2000 and The Lickerish Quartet being the other two), Score is perhaps the best. The plot is compelling, the script hilarious and the acting pretty good. Lynn Lowry is perfect as the doe-eyed innocent Betsy, while Claire Wilbur is deliciously manipulative as Elvira. The hunks don't do too badly either, although there is a lot of denim and sailor costuming going on. The film's attitude to bisexuality is remarkably forward-thinking for the time, although one can hardly condone Elvira and Eddie's manipulative games and cruel attitude towards their victims. That said, the fairy-tale, heartwarming ending negates any real bad feeling. It's a fairy-tale, the narrator suggests, except with bonking.
The sex scenes, while not in any way explicit, will do the job if they're the only thing you're watching the film for. Metzger's direction is masterful, his framing playful, erotic and vividly depicted. As the two couples (spoiler) finally have their way with one another, Metzger's cutting between the two sex scenes is very well done. I may be overthinking this somewhat, for a porno, but it's far too glossy and intelligent to be completely dismissed as such. Although if you are looking for material to get your rocks off to, you could do far worse.
Featuring such crackers as, “Elvira, I'd climb above a porcupine if it took my fancy” and “queer strange or queer faggoty?” (“queer faggoty”) the script is eminently quotable. I'm not sure it was completely intended that way, but it's surprisingly funny. “When I get that German shepherd home, you know what he calls this? People style.” I never thought I'd say this about a 70s sex movie, but Score is one of the most feel-good, funny and life-affirming movies I've seen in a long time. It's actually one of the best romantic comedies I've ever seen (my favourite, in case you were wondering, is Pedro Almodóvar's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!). It is indeed, almost the perfect score.
Video and Audio:
It looks amazing – full of funky tunes from the swinging 70s, pan pipes and drum beats. It's little wonder everyone's going around boning all the time, when the ambience is so good. It looks a treat too; upgraded for the Blu-ray, but with enough evidence of the print's age that it looks sufficiently old and funky.
An audio commentary by Radley Metzger and film historian Michael Bowen, The Making of Score and an interview with star Lynn Lowry. There are also trailers for the other two re-released Metzger movies.