December 18, 2014

The Lickerish Quartet (1970)

Directed by Radley Metzger. Starring Silvana Venturelli ("The visitor"), Frank Wolff ("Castle owner"), Erika Remberg ("His wife"), and Paolo Turco ("Her son"). Rated X.

Source: Streaming on The Movie and Music Network
Running time: 01:27:46
Country: Italy, USA, West Germany

When THE LICKERISH QUARTET opens, a wealthy family of three is sitting around watching a silent porno film on a projector. There's some bickering amongst the family and in the process we get some meta commentary on the ability to manipulate film. The patriarch seems to be the only one who's stoked on this unusual family activity. His wife appears somewhat interested but distracted. Her son is somewhat offended, which is understandable; I couldn't imagine watching a porno with my family and not feel awkward about it.

The family movie night didn't quite work out, so they decide to travel into town and check out the circus. It's there that they spot a brunette doppelganger of a blonde actress in the porno movie they just watched. The father gets the bright idea to invite the attractive woman back to their house with the intention of watching the skin flick with her and possibly engaging in further activities depending on where the night takes them. Fortunately for them (well, mainly just the perverted patriarch), she agrees. As the night goes on, the patriarch and his wife keep insisting that the nameless brunette is the star of the stag film they've been obsessing over, but she constantly denies it. It's eventually suggested that perhaps they were mistaken in assuming she's the same woman in the movie, but, as they come to this understanding, the mysterious guest undergoes a transformation - both visual and somewhat symbolic. Appropriately, the film takes a strange turn at this point, in which we get more self-referential moments, occasional cracks in the fourth wall, and beautifully shot scenes of erotica that would make Jess Franco jealous.

"The visitor" goes on to have sexual flings with all three members of the family and essentially becomes what they individually fantasize about or seek in a sexual partner. They also come to realizations about themselves and their relationships to each other in the process.

THE LICKERISH QUARTET is probably not something you wanna watch while sleepy. There are moments where not a whole lot happens and the plot doesn't move along, but those moments might not be an issue if you have an appreciation for art films. For example, there's a scene where the four characters are sitting in complete silence and watching the porno film. This scene goes on for a few minutes, and there's something beautiful and tense and obviously erotic about it as the characters don't say a word and give each other sideways glances while the camera focuses on each person. However some people might be bored to tears by this particular scene, and the same can be said for a good chunk of the film's running time.

The castle and mountainous area where THE LICKERISH QUARTET was shot are absolutely stunning. The setting is one of the highlights of the film along with the amazing score by Stelvio Cipriani. The theme song that plays during the opening credits and occasionally throughout sounds like something that would be right at home in a Giallo or even a bleak Eurocrime movie. The story and some of the more symbolic and metaphoric elements of the film might go over a lot of heads. Even I had an idea of what it was going for but couldn't completely grasp the message - if there even was one. It does feel a tad pretentious and purposely inaccessible at times, which comes with the territory when you're dealing with art films, but it's such a gorgeous movie that I found myself mesmerized by it more often than not. This is my first Radley Metzger film but I do plan on watching more of his work when I get a chance because of how much I dug this one. Yeah, so if you're into sexy art-house movies, definitely give this one a look. And remember, you can watch it right now, this very second, at the links below.

Score: 7.5

The Movie and Music Network
Cult Epics Channel
The Erotica Channel
The Death Rattle's Review Channel

No comments:

Post a Comment