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(aka "The Punishment of Anne" or "The Mistress and the Slave")

 

directed by Radley Metzger
USA/France 1975

 

Author Jean (Carl Parker, SCORE) attends a jet set party on the Place de la Concorde one night and becomes captivated by Anne (Mary Mendum, ABIGAIL LESLIE IS BACK IN TOWN), a photographic model who "belongs" to glacial fashion photographer Claire (Marilyn Roberts, LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR). Although Jean is fascinated by Claire, he is physically attracted to Anne. Claire invites him to witness the depth of Anne's submission to Claire (which soon includes making her available to him). Is Anne a pawn in a power struggle between Claire and Jean, or is Jean the pawn? Source novel author Jean de Berg is actually a nom-de-plume for Catherine Robbe-Grillet (wife of Alain, who himself penned a first-person erotic novel under the feminine pseudonym Jeanne de Berg titled WOMEN'S RITES in 1985). THE IMAGE was published in the US by Grove Press (who also published several of Robbe-Grillet's novels). After the Metzger film came out, it was reissued in a paperback edition illustrated with stills from the film (it was not billed as a movie tie-in, rather it was described as featuring stills by Metzger). Although Mendum is a striking physical presence here, she is better known to exploitation fans as the muse of Metzger's American eroticism contemporary Joseph Sarno as Rebecca Brooke (having starred in five of his films, including the rediscovered ABIGAIL LESLIE IS BACK and LAURA'S TOYS). While shooting in Paris, she also appeared in French erotic filmmaker Max Pecas' FELICIA (a softcore production only available in the US in its hardcore-insert version). Roberts, a stage actress with only a handful of credits in film and TV, is effectively icy while letting flickers of emotion come to the surface. Parker is dubbed here, no doubt to seem more believable as a continental intellectual (his dubbed voice is also American and it is not clear if he is supposed to be an ex-patriot or a Frenchman), but the role is problematic in the first place. All of his emotional conflict exists on the level of the narration, while physically his character remains impassive as a challenge to Claire's provocations. Valerie Marron, who plays the dress-shop girl in one of the film's hardcore sequences, also appeared in a handful of softcore and hardcore pictures including works by Shaun Costello (COME FLY WITH US) and Roberta Findlay (THE CLAMDIGGER'S DAUGHTER). Metzger photographed the film under the name "René Lefèvre," and his use of color and framing is as elegant as his earlier 35mm productions (and many of the French erotica films he was distributing through Audubon Films). The film's hardcore content is restricted to a handful of sequences during the middle twenty minutes of the film (after a compelling buildup), but it is the climactic (and extended) "Gothic Chamber" sequence which is most memorable, chilling, and harrowing.

Eric Cotenas

***

From highly acclaimed director Radley Metzger, THE IMAGE (aka THE PUNISHMENT OF ANNE , THE MISTRESS AND THE SLAVE) is a fascinating study of the sadomasochistic relationship between a man, a young girl, and an older woman. Jean (Carl Parker, SCORE), meets his old friend Claire (Marilyn Roberts) at a party and is introduced to the young, seductive Anne (Mary Mendum). Jean discovers the two women have a master/slave relationship and gets seduced into their perverse sexual games. Based on the classic novel L' Image from Catherine Robbe-Grillet (under the pseudonym of Jean de Berg), this masterpiece of cinema is hailed by critics as one of the best erotic films ever made. Beautifully photographed with highly explicit imagery and provocative situations, THE IMAGE will titillate, arouse and shock you like no other film you've ever seen.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 10 September 1975 (Canada)

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Comparison:

Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Synapse Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

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

(Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Synapse Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Synapse Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Synapse Films
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:51 1:31:04.584
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.22 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,301,550,803 bytes

Feature: 23,894,452,032 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.31 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

 

Synapse Films

 

Bitrate:

 

Synapse Films Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3364 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3364 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2044 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2044 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2043 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2043 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Synapse Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Isolated Music Score
• Theatrical Trailers for SCORE, THE LICKERISH QUARTET, CAMILLE 2000, THERESE AND ISABELLE, and CARMEN
• BABY
• Liner Notes Booklet by Stephen R. Bissette

DVD Release Date: 25 June 2002
Amaray

Chapters 11

Release Information:
Studio: Synapse Films

 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,301,550,803 bytes

Feature: 23,894,452,032 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.31 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Isolated Music Score

• Director Filmography

• Liner Notes Booklet by Nathaniel Thompson

Blu-ray Release Date: June 14th, 2011
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 11

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - June 11': A pretty 'hot' film even by Metzger's standards with nudity and graphic sex all over the place. As it turns out - it is also adeptly crafted and perhaps the director's best work. The 1080P transfer improves in many noticeable areas - most especially noise which was more prevalent on the SD rendering. This is advertised as "Newly remastered in high definition and created directly from the original 35mm camera negative". There are some appealing visible textures, flesh tones warm up (which is probably more accurate) and the contrast shows the healthy density of the source. It can be brighter in the outdoor scenes and dimmer in the darker moments. It is also very clean but without depth. The thickness is appealing and I think it looks quite good.

Perhaps as equally noticeable depending on the viewer is the audio. We get robust lossless tracks (DTS-HD Master) for a decently mixed surround, option for the original stereo and the isolated score. It is surprisingly effective in spots and elevates the production. Synapse have seen fit to include optional English subtitles (see sample below).

Extras are limited to the aforementioned isolated score, a static page Director Filmography and 2 pages of liner notes by Nathaniel Thompson.  Fans of the director's brand of erotica should definitely pick this one up. I doubt we will ever have it looking or sounding better than in this 1080P transfer from Synapse.

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: Synapse had access to Metzger's original 35mm negative for this transfer, and it is a very strong one for the time. The film seems ideally framed at 1.85:1 (Metzger's Super 16 to 35mm "Henry Paris" hardcore titles were also framed for 1.85:1). Although shot on the cheap (with exteriors in Paris and interiors in New York), Metzger's choice of colors in the art direction are vivid from shot to shot and well-represented here. Besides the original mono mix, Synapse has also included a stereo mix (mislabeled "stereo surround"). The new mix is not too adventurous, but there is a clearer separation between music and dialogue (the faint hiss on the mono track is also evident here). A nice bonus is the isolated score track (the score is compiled from the KPM library cues, some of which have appeared in the British sexploitation film EROTIC INFERNO as well as a cue in the Australian slasher NIGHTMARES); Synapse is one of the few labels that has endeavored to include isolated score tracks on many of their releases. The only other extras are trailers for some of Metzger's more familiar films (no rarities here, since they also appear on the First Run and Image DVDs of their respective releases), but the liner notes booklet by Stephen R. Bissette is a must-read (the insert also includes an uncensored version of the cover shot as well the original poster artwork on the chapter selection page). The booklet also warns of a moving blur at 18:15 which is explained as a light leak (a vertical line in a long shot later in the film appears to be an in-camera scratch since it disappears in the close-up insert shot, but reappears when the long shot resumes).

 -Eric Cotenas

 



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Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: DVD

 
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Distribution

Synapse Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Synapse Films
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 




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