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(aka "Esotika Erotika Psicotika" or "Erotic Illusion")

 

directed by Radley Metzger
Italy 1970

 

Castello Balsorano in Italy's Abruzzi mountains is home to an ex-GI (Frank Wolff, CALIBER 9), his imperious wife (Erika Remberg, CIRCUS OF HORRORS), and her son (Paolo Turco, WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO OUR DAUGHTERS?). Tired of watching stag films in the great hall, they go out to the local carnival and are amazed to see the star (Silvana Venturelli, CAMILLE 2000) of the film they have been watching as a motorcyclist on the "Wall of Death." They invite her home in hopes of surprising her with evidence of her youthful indiscretion, but they find the actress in the film replaced with another one. She, however, seems to pull details of their secret pasts out of thin air as she seduces each of them, becoming what they desire most and literally blurring the line between the screen and reality. Opening with a quote from Pirandello's SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR, THE LICKERISH QUARTET is a puzzle film in the guise of a softcore sex film. Metzger does not skimp on displays of flesh, but also conjures up intriguing characters performed with conviction (especially by Wolff and Remberg). There's a dash of Pasolini, some Bergman, and more than a bit of Resnais (cinematographer Hans Jura lent a LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD-esque feel to sequences of Metzger's earlier THERESE AND ISABELLE, which is referenced in this film's dialogue). Stelvio Cipriani provides a lyrical score not unlike his work on Piero Schivazappa's FEMINA RIDENS/THE FRIGHTENED WOMAN (which Metzger distributed in the US the year before through Audubon Films). Although the literary source of THE LICKERISH QUARTET is obscure and possibly nonexistent (it is supposedly based on a story called "Hide and Seek" by screenwriter Michael DeForrest), it proves more satisfying in narrative terms than his glitzy and sexy Dumas adaptation CAMILLE 2000.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 13 October 1970 (USA)

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Comparison:

Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze for the Screen Caps!

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Cult Epics
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:27:30 (includes trailer) 1:27:06.093
Video

1.65:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,807,345,035 bytes

Feature: 13,403,277,312 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 18.98 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Image Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

Cult Epics Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles none None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.65:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 3:15)

DVD Release Date: April 27th, 1999
Snapper Case

Chapters 11
 

Release Information:
Studio: Cult Epics

 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,807,345,035 bytes

Feature: 13,403,277,312 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 18.98 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Michael Bowen + Radley Metzger

• The Making of the Lickerish Quartet (11:17)

• Cool. Version Love Scenes  (31:50)

• Giving Voice to the Quartet  (12:52)

• Score Trailer  (3:38)

• Camille 2000 Trailer  (2:16)

• Lickerish Quartet Trailer  (2:45)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 10

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray: a dramatic improvement in detail, colors and brightness - the SD is dark, obscures information and has some occasional contrast boosting and edge enhancement. Skin tones on the 1080P transfer are very warm and there is a shade of noise on the single-layered disc but it is progressive in AVC and could easily be considered the best the film has ever looked on digital to date. 

 

Regarding the audio - this was recorded on location for DUBBING reference only. Obviously, no attempt was made to mask the camera or incidental production sounds at the time. Frank Wolffe in Rome and Erika Remberg in Paris recorded their own post-synchronization. Silvana Venturelli and Paolo Turco's voices were replaced by other actors. So sound is 2.0 channel and not lossless - it sounds as wonky as DUBs produced in this manner will tend to. Dialogue is always clear though and there are no optional subtitles on the region FREE Blu-ray disc.

 

Supplements contain quite a lot starting with a commentary track by director and provocateur Radley Metzger talking with film historian Michael Bowen. Also included is a montage of cool version love scenes produced for international territories where the Original version was too explicit, a making-of The Lickerish Quartet featurette containing rare footage of Silvano Venturelli, Paolo Venturelli and Radley Metzger and a piece on the audio entitled 'Giving Voice to the Quartet': location sound vs. dubbed soundtrack. There is also a trailer for The Lickerish Quartet and 2 other Cult Epics released Blu-rays (Score and Camille 2000 - both directed by Metzger).

 

More soft porn than arthouse but it still has merit. Those keen on the 70's film erotica should be happy with Lickerish Quartet considered the director's 'magnum opus'. The Blu-ray is imperfect but vastly improved in every are from what has been available since and there are some visible and worthwhile extras. Recommended for the right audience.

 - Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE IMAGE DVD: First released on cassette in the US under the title EROTIC ILLUSION by Private Screenings in the eighties and then in the nineties though mail order via Metzger's Audubon Films (with listings showing up in magazines such as PSYCHOTRONIC), the film's third tape incarnation was through First Run Features in a widescreen edition with somewhat muffled sound. Image's DVD edition under review (First Run Features later reissued the DVD edition in 2006: HERE) sported better audio and a slightly improved picture (although it was encoded interlaced). As with some of Image's other early releases, the theatrical trailer was included in the same titleset as the feature, so the timing in the bitrate graph of 1:30:45 includes the trailer timing.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)


 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Cult Epics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray
 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Cult Epics
Region FREE - Blu-ray


 



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Gary Tooze

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