Retro Porn Review – The Image

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Randy Metzger, responsible for classic films like The Opening of Misty Beethoven and The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, brings us The Image, a beautifully photographed story of sadomasochism and the confusion of emotional boundaries.

The film is based on the 1956 S&M novel L’Image, written by Jean de Berg. Also known by the title The Punishment of Anne, the movie was shot entirely on location in Paris, and the French capital plays a huge role in the characters’ setting. As with most Metzger movies, this is not your average porno. The director’s signature story style was evident from the beginning: He tends to have smart, worldly, aristocratic characters whose sexual lives were much wilder than the ones their expected high society behavior would suggest. He manages to convey the Playboy lifestyle and the lovely Parisian locales impeccably, if at times a little pretentiously.

A writer named Jean (Carl Parker) runs into Claire (Marilyn Roberts), an old friend of his, at a high-class party. He also spots Anne (Mary Mendum), a young woman who intrigues him. As Claire introduces them, she also informs him Anne is her slave. Confused at first, Jean simply observes Claire’s undisputed dominance over the submissive Anne, and soon they embark on a very erotic sadomasochistic triangle.

http://youtu.be/zXp4oE9N-74

Obviously, this is not a film for everyone. If you’re offended by humiliation, bondage, whipping and urination, this might not be a good fit for you. It’s also not for the impatient, as the sexual tension just keeps growing very slowly and there are few actual sex scenes.

In my opinion, though, The Image is essentially a love story. A very fucked up one, for sure, but aren’t most of them, really? It’s an interesting study on the way humans handle their boundaries and the slow inevitability of role reversals when real feelings are involved.

But don’t let that “love” reference bum you out! There’s a lot of hot stuff here, even if you’re not all that S&M-oriented. While I enjoy a healthy dose of mild kink, I’m not the biggest fan of domination or torture videos. This would mostly fit within my limits (although is was pretty racy for 1975) and even when it goes a little out of my comfort zone, I can still appreciate it.

It’s not quite that it doesn’t have a plot, it’s that the plot is basically the whole interaction between the three characters and the evolution of their relationship, which is great because it makes it all very personal. The scenes escalate in terms of pain, while the humiliation side is a constant throughout the movie.

All three leading actors do a pretty solid job and the story is good enough to hold your attention for an hour and a half without needing a lot of traditional sex to keep things interesting. It’s definitely one of the most important movies of its time, and undoubtedly groundbreaking for a film of relatively high budget and distribution capabilities.

Retro Porn Review – The Image 1 vote

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