Review: The Image (DVD)

Synapse Films reissues Radley Metzgers true erotic masterpiece uncut & uncensored on DVD!

  • Director: Radley Metzger
  • Starring: Rebecca Brooke, Carl Parker, Marilyn Roberts
  • Year: 1975
  • Runtime: 91 Minutes
  • Company: Synapse Films
  • Format: DVD
  • Discs: 1
  • Video: 1.85:1 - 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Audio: English 2.0 Mono, Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, Isolated Music & Effects Track
  • Region: All
  • Released: 6/14/2011


At a Paris party, suave womanizer Jean (Carl Parker, Metzger's Score) sets his sights on young beautiful blonde Anne (Rebecca Brooke credited as Mary Mendum) from across the crowded get-together. Jean makes his way towards her when he crosses paths with his old friend, Claire (Marilyn Roberts). Claire knows Anne and introduces her to Jean who is smitten with attraction. Unbeknownst to Jean, Claire & Anne have a special kind of relationship. Jean soon learns that Claire is the master and Anne is her sexual slave. Intrigued and excited, Jean joins the debauchery resulting in a sadomasochistic menage a trois that involves humiliation, pain and pleasure. Once the fun ends, the trio's sexual games begin to escalate leading to an explicit finale still shocking to this day.

The Image is all about exploring secret sexual desires and Metzger pushes the envelope wide open. Claire has little remorse when it comes to exploiting Anne. Anne is equal to a dog in her mistress eyes and Claire will do whatever is necessary to keep the "little whore" in check. Jean witnesses this first hand but never raises a finger to stop it. Jean becomes infatuated with the master/slave ordeal and his playboy sensibilities get the best of him. This includes but not limited to whips, chains, oral sex (which is uncensored and unsimulated), public fellatio and various torture centered around pleasure.

The imagery is borderline pornographic but Metzger never let's it cross that line. It's extreme but never meant to exploit. Albeit graphic it's all done artfully thanks to prime direction from Metzger as he crafts a wholly erotic tale that had me engrossed from beginning to end.

I'm slightly acquainted with Radley Metzger's work but not fully versed. I've seen the uncut version of Score which I liked to an extent (a second watch is in order) but I wasn't fully taken with it as many others are. Going into The Image I had no knowledge of the film other than I've heard it's Metzger's masterpiece. After hearing the same praise for Score, I was slightly hesitant about what to expect. By the time the end credits rolled up I knew right then I absolutely loved what I just witnessed. The Image is an erotic roller coaster filled with striking imagery that won't soon leave your thoughts. Unique, unrelenting and unforgettable. I have honestly never seen anything like it and as the years go by I'll question if I ever will.

  •  Video
Synapse has remastered the film in HD from the original 35mm negative, creating flawless picture quality and giving The Image it's best video release ever. I don't own Synapse's first DVD release to compare but I believe it is safe to assume this is the superior of the two. The high definition transfer is strikingly lush to the point where I had to remind myself this is just a DVD! Colors pop during outdoor scenes while grain is natural and consistent throughout. It is a tad soft sometimes but I'd say that's due to it's production roots. There is a scene that has some motion blurring but have no fear because it is not a transfer hiccup. The liner notes included with this release state that there was a light leak while filming the scene causing the blur which burned into the film negative used by Synapse. A few hairline marks appear here and there but are hardly noticeable. This is a first class transfer and the amazing painstaking work from Synapse truly shines. Be sure to order the Blu-ray release also which boasts a far superior image in titillating 1080p.
  • Audio
The new 5.1 Surround remix was my choice and I was very pleased with it. Strong and clear with no problems. The original 2.0 Mono is included as well as an Isolated Music & Effects Track.

Bonus Features
  • Liner Notes
Written by Mondo Digital's resident video junkie Nathaniel Thompson, this is an informative read detailing Metzger's career as well as The Image's production history. If anyone reads Nathaniel's site you should already know he knows his shit and his write up is well versed. I love having insert booklets to read and I'm glad Synapse continues to provide them in their releases.
  • Director's Filmography
This is a text based feature chronicling all of Metzger's feature films, including his XXX Henry Paris outings.
  • Isolated Music & Effects Track

Highly Recommended