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Synapse Films presents
The Image (The Punishment of Anne) (1975)

"Get undressed. You're going to be whipped."
- Claire (Marilyn Roberts)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: August 01, 2002

Stars: Mary Mendum, Carl Parker, Marilyn Roberts
Other Stars: Yvette Hiver, Michelle Vence, Estelle McNalley, Nicole Rochambeau
Director: Radley Metzger

Manufacturer: DNA Studios
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexuality, sadomasochism, urination, language)
Run Time: 01h:30m:55s
Release Date: June 25, 2002
UPC: 654930301791
Genre: late night

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ BA-B C+

DVD Review

It seems difficult to imagine today, but there was a time in the 1970s when sexually explicit films and artistry weren't considered poles apart. Director Radley Metzger was taken quite seriously by critics in the late 1960s and early '70s, despite quite explicit sexuality in his films. Eventually turning to hardcore film under the pseudonym Henry Paris (including such still well-regarded films as The Opening of Misty Beethoven), Metzger delves here into fetishism in a violent and intriguing triangle.

Writer Jean (Carl Parker) runs into an old friend, Claire (Marilyn Roberts) at a party. He soon learns that Claire now has a young woman, Anne, whom she purports to own. Anne is subjected to cruelties and humiliations galore by the icy Claire, and Jean gradually finds himself drawn into the sadomasochistic relationship, rejoicing in Anne's objectification and punishment.

Short on plot, the film's focus is really on Claire and Jean, even though Anne dominates the screen time. We learn virtually nothing about Anne beyond her sexuality, which is a tapestry upon which Jean and Claire work out their desires. However, one sequence, where Jean runs into Anne without Claire at a bookstall, is particularly telling. Even here, she is buying pornography, and she reacts to Jean's interest and concern with outright hostility. Although he is part of her humiliation, at least at first her emotional attachment is solely with the vicious Claire. However, there is a brilliant moment late in the film where her acceptance is dramatically pictured by Anne embracing Jean with her manacled hands.

The picture is heavily erotic, with one of the most memorable sequences coming when Anne fondles a rose bloom in a garden. Though there are hardcore moments, the film doesn't go to gynecological lengths. The S&M sequences are mostly brought forth by implication, created by sound and shots of reactions, though there are exceptions that are painful to watch. Unlike the Henry Paris films, which have appeared heavily censored on DVD (eliminating all S&M sequences), the film here is presented uncut, transferred from Metzger's own camera negative.

It's been a long time since sexuality and sadomasochism were allowed to appear on the screen together. It's been nearly as long since such an intensely sexual film could be taken seriously. But for the sexually adventurous, The Image is worth a look. The running time is three minutes shorter than noted on the keepcase.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen transfer looks beautiful for the most part, in keeping with the Synapse tradition. Only the occasional nick on the negative detracts from a finely detailed, colorful viewing experience. I didn't detect any notable artifacting of any kind. Occasionally shadow detail is lacking in darker scenes, but that appears to be a fault of the original lighting. There is a brief blur at about 18m:25s, but the notes indicate that this is present on the negative; apparently light briefly got into the camera.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The original mono track is provided, as well as a newly created stereo surround mix. Both are quite clean and good for the era. Hiss and noise are missing for the most part. The surround track uses the music score in the surrounds, keeping dialogue in the center. The result is subtle and pleasing. Dialogue is clear throughout. While there's no low bass information, the music doesn't particularly sound tinny or compressed.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Score, The Lickerish Quartet, Camille 2000, Therese and Isabelle, Carmen, Baby
Production Notes
Isolated Music Score with remote access
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:00m:52s

Extras Review: The disc features an isolated score; unlike most porn films with a monotonous disco audio, The Image has an interesting and moody score that's well worth examining. The audio is very fine indeed on this track. This is an extra I wish more discs would include, and it's thoughtful of Synapse to provide it here. Besides a brief filmography for Metzger and some appreciative liner notes by Steven Bissette, the only other supplement is a set of trailers for five Metzger films (accessible from the filmography). All of these are nonanamorphic widescreen and in iffy condition, except for Camille 2000, which is presented in full frame.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Uncut and often brutally shocking, Radley Metzger's film is presented in a beautiful transfer with an isolated score. Not much else for extras, though.


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