Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 26th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / USA / West Germany, 1970
Director: Radley Metzger
Writers: Michael DeForrest, Radley Metzger
Cast: Silvana Venturelli, Frank Wolff, Erika Remberg, Paolo Turco, Karl-Otto Alberty
BluRay released: April 26th, 2010
Approximate running time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
BluRay Release: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.98
Synopsis: A perverse couple and their adult son watch a pornographic film. Things quickly turn sour, when their son becomes bored and wants to go into town to check out the circus. While watching a daredevil woman at the circus, the trio all come to the conclusion that she looks like woman in the film they had watched earlier in the evening. Not wanting to let this mysterious woman get away, they invite her back to their home and show her the pornographic film that features woman who could pass as her doppelganger. Only things are not what they seem and as the film proceeds it quickly becomes apparent that this is not the film that they had originally watched, or is it?
The Lickerish Quartet was co -written and directed by Radley Metzger, who by the early 1970’s had firmly established himself as one of the premier filmmakers working in soft-core erotica cinema. The screenplay for The Lickerish Quartet was co-written by Michael DeForrest, who had worked with Radley Metzger on his previous film Camille 2000. The Lickerish Quartet’s haunting score was composed by Stelvio Cipriani, one of Italian cinema’s most in demand composers of the 1970’s. Some of his more notable film scores include Twitch of the Death Nerve, What Have They Done to Your Daughters? and Rabid Dogs.
When discussing the cinema of Radley Metzger one area that is consistently strong are the visuals. And there is no shortage of picturesque moments in The Lickerish Quartet. With the film’s standout moment being a love scene between the impotent father and the daredevil circus performer in his very stylish library. While the duo rolls around in ecstasy on the floor there are several vulgar words and their meanings written on the floor beneath them.
Besides the aforementioned visuals another area in which this film excels is its razor sharp editing, which borders on subliminal. This most evident in the way in which the pornographic film ‘within a film’ evolves as the story evolves.
Performance wise the entire cast are all exceptional in their respective roles, especially Silvana Venturelli in the role of the seductive daredevil circus performer. Not to be overlooked is the film’s main location an Italian castle located in the Abruzzi mountains. This location plays as an important role as any of the performances in this film.
Narrative wise one would be hard pressed to find a more challenging film in Radley Metzger’s filmography, then The Lickerish Quartet. And yet it also stands out as one of his most fascinating films. The plot is a meticulously laid out labyrinth of subtext, that does a superb job blurring the thin line between reality and fantasy. With the film’s most potent twist being saved for the finale.
The Lickerish Quartet comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Flesh tones look accurate, colors look nicely saturated and at times vibrant. Details generally look crisp, black and contrast levels look consistently good. Print damage is very minimal and there is a healthy layer of grain. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement is kept in check.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Dialog comes through clearly, background noise and distortion are minimal. The film’s score benefits most from this audio mix and at times it sounds robust.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 45 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), three behind the scenes segments, ‘The Making of The Lickerish Quartet’ (11 minutes 17 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), ‘Cool Version Love Scenes’ (31 minutes 50 seconds – 4:3 full frame), ‘Giving Voice to The Quartet’ (12 minutes 52 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a audio commentary with director Radley Metzger and film historian Michael Bowen. The segment titled ‘The Making of The Lickerish Quartet’ is essentially an audio essay Rick Ulfik with about the various aspects of this production. This segment also contains behind the scenes stills and on set footage. The segment tiled ‘Cool Version Love Scenes’ are alternate / softer versions of the sex scenes. It should be noted that all of these are in black and white. The segment titled ‘Giving Voice to The Quartet’ gives examples of this film’s dubbing process. This releases standout extras is another exceptional audio commentary with Radley Metzger. Some of the topics include the origins of this project, the cast and the crew, the various locations used in this production, dubbing the soundtrack, filming erotica and various other production related topics. Also included with this release are trailers for Camille 2000 and The Score. Overall The Lickerish Quartet gets a solid release from Cult Epics.
Note: This title is also being released by Cult Epics on DVD.