Blu-ray Review: Score (1974)

Score BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Radley Metzger

Starring: Claire Wilbur, Casey Donovan, Lynn Lowry, Gerald Grant, Carl Parker

Score is an adaptation of a stage play by Jerry Douglas that shifts the story from a grubby New York tenement to an imaginary (and presumably European) coastal resort called Liberation, which may give you an idea about what you’re about to get involved in. The score that the title refers to is the point-scoring match between husband and wife Jack (Gerald Grant) and Elvira (Claire Wilbur), a pair of bisexual swingers who try and outpoint each other with their sexual conquests, scoring double points if they can seduce a member of the same sex. Setting their sights on newlyweds Betsy (Lynn Lowry – Shivers) and Eddie (Calvin Culver a.k.a. gay porn star Casey Donovan) Elvira bets Jack she can bed the relatively inexperienced Betsy by midnight and if she hasn’t done it by then, Jack gets to try and bed Eddie. To plant the seeds in Betsy’s mind that nothing is off limits with her she gets it on with Mike (Carl Parker), the telephone repair man who visits the house while Jack is out (in a role portrayed by a young Sylvester Stallone in the stage play), in full view of Betsy. But that’s nothing compared to what’s planned for that evening when the innocent couple are invited over to dinner…

The most sexually explicit of Arrow Video’s Radley Metzger releases, Score is also the most accessible, forgoing the arty touches that graced Camille 2000 and the quasi-surrealism of The Lickerish Quartet in favour of a fairly straightforward narrative. The film moves at a fairly decent pace, introducing the four main characters within the first five minutes and putting the game into action not long after, and Metzger’s swift direction, the witty script and the performances all combine to make a very sexually-charged atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re intruding in the lives of these people, despite the fact they’d probably want you to watch!

Perfectly capturing the sexual liberation of the times, Score is an amusing, exciting and occasionally difficult film to watch – three adjectives that apply now so imagine how it was received back in 1974. Although this is being sold as ‘uncut’ there has been some trimming as a few of the scenes have sudden jumps and inserts that don’t flow very well and are obviously trying to conceal something that the BBFC don’t want you to see, which makes very little sense as the film is about the freedom of sexuality but that’s another discussion for another day. Whatever the moral applications of the censors, what we are left with is a film that openly challenges the established order by showing graphic scenes of same-sex lovemaking – both male and female – and also throws in some drug use just to rub it in a bit more.

The extras consist of a commentary track by Radley Metzger and film historian Michael Bower, an interview with star Lynn Lowry, behind the scenes footage, trailers and a reversible sleeve, and the HD transfer is a pretty decent one, keeping everything clear and bright. The soundtrack is also playful when it needs to be and dramatic when called for, hitting all the right beats and adding extra depth, so overall Score “ahem” scores very highly indeed.  Expertly crafted by Radley Metzger and full of excellent performances – especially that of the striking Lynn Lowry as the naïve Betsy – Score is definitely a film to watch and enjoy as a daring piece of 1970’s erotica that still “ahem” stands up today (sorry…).


Special Features: Audio commentary with director Radley Metzger and film historian Michael Bowen, On the Set of Score featurette, Keeping Score with Lynn Lowry interview, original trailers, reversible sleeve featuring original and newly illustrated artwork by The Red Dress, collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Robin Bougie.

UK Release Date: 11th February 2013

Arrow Films – Website


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