The well-known director and producer Radley Metzger made his great contribution into the development of the sexploitation movie genre which came in handy during the epoch of the Sex Revolution. Furthermore, the talent and the image of the director are well distinguished on the example of one of his movies. In this respect the movie “Score” (1972) is at the core of the discussion. There are different ways to prove it. The plot and the idea of the film capture everyone’s attention to this explicit theme of sex in different variations. Thus, Metzger shows the overall association with sexploitation and the 1960s when the mainstream culture needed some changes. It was well described and shaped on the example of “Score” (1972).
First off, it is quite important to note that the way in which Metzger tried to show nudity is different. It is even unique as he spilled the beans at the restricted at the time theme of sexual relations. Definitely, the visual aids are better to get the idea of what an author wants the one to understand. Movie industry became more popular when erotic and porn films became more evident. Metzger felt the demands of that time when America was thrown between different subcultures and unwillingness of the vast majority of people to carry on war. As “The Lord of the Flies” in the field of soft-core sex films”, he introduced his own vision of pornography which entails shades of mystery in everyone longing for being discovered (Metzger 1). Hence, his ability to feel what a viewer wants to feel out of an adult movie is to be further discussed.
“Score” (1972) is one of the movies by Radley Metzger defined as a sexploitation film where the main attention is paid to the exploration of the bisexual relationships between the main characters (Metzger). The movie had much of criticism by the time of its release. However, it was just a simple continuation of the far-flung and widely popular genre nationwide and overseas.
The plot is all about two married couples (Jack and Elvira and Eddie and Betsy) who met each other in a fabled European city of Leisure (Metzger). The title of the movie is not spontaneous. The thing is that Elvira bets that she will seduce Betsy, and in this case Jack should be ready to seduce Eddie. As was mentioned before, the film is about bisexual relationships. It is better to say that it is more about the swinging relationships and ability of people in marriage to commit such an insane deed with no credit to what happens afterwards. So, being neighbors, both couples agree to arrange a party at Jack and Elvira’s place. While talking about everything that happened before and during the marriage with Jack, Elvira tried to masterly seduce Betsy when both men went to work. At least, she makes her understand of her intentions. On the example of the telephone repairman Mike, she proves that she can do whatever sexual trick she wants, and it seems convincing to Betsy.
Thereafter, when both husbands join them it overgrows into a field of desires mutually excited among all four characters. The power of passion becomes hardly to hide inside of their souls. One more thing that speeded up their feelings is drugs. At a particular moment, there comes a scene when oral sex takes place, i.e. between Elvira and Betsy and Jack and Eddie. Nevertheless, it is not a full-stop as they go further when Betsy is intruded by a strap-on and Jack penetrates Eddie. This is, perhaps, the apogee of the movie. The overall idea of sexploitation and a depiction of what was restricted before reaches the highest point as both couples get through something they never did before. On the other hand, it is a case of experimentation with feelings and interchange of partners in a homosexual manner.
The story is quite naïve, but it introduces the gist of what makes people totally released in their desires. However, it is all about Jack and Elvira who are “sophisticated swingers” who “live in gay and straight-abandon, seducing whoever takes their fancy” (Darren 182). Particularly, the concept of sexploitation touches also the idea of sadomasochism as Jack and Elvira scored over Eddie and Betsy as predators over their victims. In this case Metzger illuminates the classics of the soft-core flow in the filmmaking industry which all about the 1960s.
On the other hand, the story of such a seduction reveals the art of bringing classic erotic and porn movies to the narrow audience of the adult viewers. The inflection point is rather at the way a director gives an alleged taste of passion which was randomly shown before, but amplified with a new power in order to impact a viewer’s imagination. “Score” has much to do with Metzger’s desire to be straight-forwarded in what people long for: “Metzger’s work can be seen in terms of its attempts to dissociate from its sexploitation neighbors through a process of cultural distinction, mapping the move from underground to aboveground along an axis of sexual and cinephile taste” (Mendik and Schneider 27). He broke down all Hollywood canons unable to show what was going on in the forbidden territory of filth and lust.
Back to the movie, there is a distinctive feature of the simplicity in the plot. The main reason is that this genre does not require brainstorming. Hence, the characters are put into the stage of direct action for the sake of the viewers’ attraction until the most exciting scenes take place. In the movie, sexual drive becomes powerful by means of drugs the characters’ use. However, Metzger just makes a hint on the era of the 1960s when almost everyone got through such an experience. As might be seen, this scene focuses on the idea that such intentions are natural even in sober state of mind. Independently of what the characters are supposed to do, they follow the charming power of seduction.
Needless to say, Radley Metzger seems sophisticated in what he includes into this movie. He had much to do with his previous films aiming at discovering the scenes of nude bodies seen from different foreshortenings. This experience made him realize the new perspectives of hard-core bisexual consumerism (Andrews 157). “Score”gave a “refreshed breath” of sexual freedom without any infliction of excuses for what the characters have done. It is a so-called spectacle where straight at a glance people violate the “borders” of traditional marriage in order to show that there is something beyond.
To say more, the movie was well accepted in 1972 as the popularity of sexploitation was at full swing at that time. Drive-ins and single-screen cinemas were full of such film production making it profitable. All dogmas on the real relationships became inappropriate in the Metzger’s overview. “Score” is added to the number of other movies which made the audience nervously wait until the moment of porn scenes takes place. The traditional filmmaking confronted inexpedient realization of moral disgust, so to speak, which, therefore, went hand in hand with the cultural peculiarities at the time: “By the mid-1970s, the techniques for combining traditional and adult soft-core scenes beautifully, as in Score, were already a practiced art” (Hawes 36). Thus, the movie itself was a part of the artistic thought evident in the filmmaking industry of the time. Moreover, it was an attempt to gain artistic freedom by means of making its fruits apparent to the target audience.
Definitely, bisexuality is the main objective of the film. However, even an unsophisticated viewer sees the ability to talk about it with more freedom in spite of the canons of the Nixon era that are imposed on the public opinion. There was a gap between a clear understanding of what makes people normal and how they can stay normal even after a strenuous affliction of abnormality. This talk remained open to everyone and to those who watched this movie for the first time at present. These questions should not bear skeptical or categorical nature, as “Score” may lose its value as a part of real art which “leaks” from all windows and doors in the neighborhood.
The movie was another breakthrough for Metzger as it was shot in Yugoslavia and kept with the demands of the time in an appropriate way and the director of the film could not fail to admit the following statement: “We came back and found hard core was in, which inhibited the arty sex film” (Nichols 2). It means that before shooting the film, Metzger was quite sensitive to what would dictate the taste of the majority. Thus, in “Score”, he refused following the norms and traditional features of an elegant erotica. Instead, the movie became really popular as it introduced another look at the hard-core scenes fascinating the overall choice of viewers which Metzger himself identified through the following idea: “The majors were moving into the kind of sophisticated eroticism we did” (Nichols 2). This is why “Score” “has scored” in the achievement of popularity at a frantic pace.
Of course, such movies as “Score” could not be advertised to the public through mass media sources of a far-flung kind. It was rated “X” in order to show it had explicit features in it. However, such a manipulation by the governmental structure was not a surprise. The movie highlighted the gist of sexploitation on a new degree. The name of Radley Metzger became common with the term of sexploitation and it gave him a huge fame. In the historical cut, Metzger could identify the sociocultural discrepancies that worried the adult population of the United States:
Presented in a clean, new print, "Score" preserves the sexual experiments of the Nixon era in all of their wing-collared, bell-bottomed glory. The frequent nudity of the performers spares them the more profound humiliation of being recorded for posterity wearing paisley prints (Kehr 1).
Hereby, the experiment with Eddie and Betsy done by Jack and Elvira was successful as swinging culture got both sides of its implementation. Husbands reunite while their wives feel delighted by the charm of lesbian relationships. It is something prohibited and far from the traditional “normality”. Notwithstanding, it is like a forbidden fruit which is always sweet to those who share it. Such sweet temptations give a birth to unforgettable sensations. If something struck one’s fancy there is no way other than to “climb aboard a porcupine” as Elvira once said to Jack (Metzger). This idea is like a riot which bubbles over an individual’s soul and attacks his/her mind every now and then. Furthermore, it relieves the urge for passion and gives it another life until it is pertinent to a definite situation.
The climax of the movie is that both Jack and Elvira reached the same score and left it. They tried to stop, but the seduction was even higher once they took a fancy for threesome with Betsy and, thereafter, it turned out into threesome with Eddie, Betsy and Mike who appeared to love bisexual relationships too (Metzger). This is one more acknowledgement of that the bisexuality was a powerful intention among people who tried to hide it before. Even though Eddie and Betsy were confused afterwards whether they stayed “normal” or turned totally into homosexuality, they could fight with another flaming desire to get involved into non-traditional sexual relationships.
It goes without saying that each among characters wants to self-actualize. However, the difference is that Jack and Betsy were ready to do such filth while Eddie and Betsy seemed quite shy and unable to cross the border. It means that at the moment of sexual intercourse each character thought of it as a throwaway. The marriage perjury did not matter for them as they had already shared their passion with different people in an exotic way. Notably, it was a good try to take a leap toward a larger stage of sexual relationships. Amazingly, no one felt guilty or morally broken down after getting sober: the first step towards bisexuality gave rise to another step towards more curiosity.
Given that, the movie “Score” directed by Radley Metzger outlines bisexual relationships which took the form of homosexuality between the two women and two men who seemed straight at the beginning. The idea of hard-core sexploitation is felt throughout the plot of the movie. It incorporates the demands of time after the rise of Sexual Revolution and ability to talk about it sincerely. Metzger implemented a new vision of erotic scenes transformed into more pornographic spectacle where everyone is involved into one and the same activity of lust and filth. It is a remarkable try to accentuate the core of a human passion.