The Image

The Image (1975)
Synapse Films
Cast: Mary Mendum, Carl Parker, Marilyn Roberts
Extras: Isolated Score, Filmography, Trailers

Radley Metzger’s ’The Image’ is an adaptation of Jean de Berg’s erotic tale of bondage and sadomasochism. Right off the bat that little summary should clue you in as to whether or not this film is likely to be your cup of tea. For those inclined to walk on the wilder side of the cinematic arts, Synapse’s new DVD release is a true labor of love.

At a party in Paris suave man about town Jean (Carl Parker) meets the lovely young Anne (Mary Mendum) and the older Claire (Marilyn Roberts). After much verbal foreplay the threesome engage in all manner lewd acts in various public and private places. Before long Carl finds himself unwittingly drawn into playing a very active role in the degrading domination of Anne by her forceful mistress.

Well, that about sums it up but viewers should certainly be forewarned that each and every sexual act is played out on screen in very graphic terms. While not technically a hardcore pornographic film the abundant depictions of degrading S&M acts is of the sort to make most viewers squirm uncomfortably in their seats.

Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, ’The Image’ arrives on DVD fully uncut and with a gorgeous new transfer. Once again Synapse Films has taken a very niche market film and given it the four star treatment. Colors are wonderfully vibrant and black levels are solid throughout. There are some minor blemishes and a few problems inherent in the source materials but this transfer really does look stunning with a pleasingly sharp and finely-detailed picture.

Audio comes in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono and 2.0 Surround mixes. Not much separates the two save for a slightly wider front soundstage and some faint surround usage in the latter mix. The quality of both tracks is quite good with no major distortion. Dialogue and music come through very cleanly although the post-dubbed dialogue does get out of synch at times.

Extras on the disc include a nice isolated mono musical score, a Radley Metzger filmography, and trailers for five other Metzger films.

The last softcore film to be directed by Metzger before his switch to full-on hardcore work, ’The Image’ could arguably be classified as an intellectual skin flick. Just this side of being true hardcore, the film manages to tell its somewhat depraved story without pandering to the audience or going off on any non-plot related sexual escapades. Not really my type of film, I can still appreciate the obvious care that went into creating ’The Image’ both on film and on DVD. Synapse has done a wonderful job with this release and Metzger’s fans are sure to find this disc to be a wonderful treatment of a film that has been seriously neglected throughout its previous hacked and edited video releases.