Plot: What’s it about?
Anne (Mary Mendum) is a beautiful young woman in a world of wealth & luxuries, but she has a darker side that few ever experience. She is not a thief, liar, or killer however, she simply takes pleasure in certain sexual situations, ones outside the normal realm of such pleasures. In short, she enjoys being whipped, tied up, and abused in all sorts of ways, with her main partner being Claire (Marilyn Roberts). Claire is an older woman and while is also good looking, she abstains from other methods of sexual release. As such, she loves to take out her frustrations on Anne and since it is her sole release, she does it with passion and often desperation. This offbeat relationship soon takes on a new angle when Jean (Carl Parker) learns of its nature and soon, Anne finds herself at the command of numerous participants. In addition to Anne and Jean doing as they wish with her body, she is offered to others in both public & private sessions, much to her own delight and satisfaction, of course. But what drives these three people to do these acts and in the end, will it bring them whatever they need to find true release?
This movie has ample naked flesh and sexual situations, but it not erotic in the same sense as most of the sexual films on the shelves. As you might suspect from the synopsis, The Image can be a brutal picture and it has a sadistic nature at times, which means not everyone will find it to be erotic, to say the least. But then again, a lot of people are into the situations depicted within The Image and of course, many of us have a darker side, which this movie seeks to bring out, without question. So if you don’t mind having that darker side of sexuality explored, The Image is an excellent piece of erotic cinema and thanks to Synapse Films, the uncut version is available to us on home video for the first time ever. As always, director Radley Metzger supplies lush visuals, good production values, and he guides the cast through good performances, all of which combine to mark this a few notches above the usual erotic cinema efforts. As such, The Image is recommended to fans of Metzger and erotic cinema on the whole, especially since Synapse has put such care in the presentation and given fans such a well rounded disc.
The films of director Radley Metzger were loaded with sex, nudity, and fetishes, but his efforts were more than a step above most erotic works out there. Metzger was able to take his sexual images and give them depth & life, so it wasn’t just a softcore sex flick, but an artistic and well made erotic picture. I’ll grant you that not all of Metzger’s movies were top notch, but his ratio of hits to misses is quite high and on the whole, fans of erotic cinema would be safe in blindly sampling any of his works, I think. The Image is one of his final softcore productions, as he moved into the hardcore arena, but even then, his films retained a sense of class and artistry. Other films directed by Metzger include The Opening of Misty Beethoven, The Score, The Lickerish Quartet, Therese & Isabelle, and The Cat and the Canary. The cast here includes Mary Mendum (The Groove Tube, Cherry Hill High), Carl Parker (The Score, John and Mary), and Marilyn Roberts (Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Skateboard: The Movie).
Video: How does it look?
The Image is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Synapse went back to the original camera negatives and overhauled the materials, which gives us a restored and remastered visual effort here. A few flaws remain behind, but the result is superb and is a very clean, quite sharp presentation. The print has minimal signs of wear & tear, with no real grain presence and only minor, infrequent nicks to be seen. I wouldn’t say this could pass for a recent film, but given the age & nature of the materials involved, Synapse deserves immense credit for how impressive this transfer looks.
Audio: How does it sound?
A new 2.0 surround option has been created and included here, which adds some atmosphere and enhances the musical score. So the new mix adds a little to the experience, but keep in mind, this material never allows for much dynamic presence. Even so, the music is rich and sounds terrific here and the various sound effects come through well, with much more depth than I had expected. No issues with dialogue pop up either, as vocals sound clean and crisp from start to finish here. Although this new option is more than solid, I was pleased to find the original mono track also included, even if just for reference sake.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes an isolated musical score, as well as Radley Metzger’s selected filmography.