LOS ANGELES—There probably isn't a porn fan alive who hasn't heard of (and likely seen) The Opening of Misty Beethoven, the 1975 film which was listed near the top of AVN's 100 Best Adult Films of All Time. The movie, which starred Constance Money, Gloria Leonard, Terri Hall and the late Jamie Gillis, was directed by "Henry Paris," the "hardcore" pseudonym of erotic film director Radley Metzger. And now, Metzger's softcore works will be the subject of a retrospective at the UCLA Film & Television Archive in June, and Cult Epics, a major purveyor of obscure international films, will release, as its 100th disk, Camille 2000, Metzger's Italian-language send-up of Alexandre Dumas' 1852 novel and play, La Dame aux Cammelias.
"Set in Rome amid the height of psychedelic fashion," Cult Epics' press release stated, "Camille 2000 ... follows the tragic affair between Marguerite (Daniele Gaubert), a doomed courtesan, and Armand (Nino Castelnuovo), a naïve bachelor who falls for her. The couple drifts through a seedy world of haute couture, inflatable furniture and fetish parties as their romance unravels to the pulsing accompaniment of Piero Piccioni’s lush score."
"Two versions of this newly restored gem will be offered June 28," the release continued. "The first, from [distributor] CAV, is an extended version of the original that incorporates 12 minutes of additional footage compiled by Metzger. The second, from [distributor] Entertainment One, features the original theatrical version of the film and includes those additional scenes as extras. Both versions of the film—each expanded with the same additional bonus features—will be available on Blu-ray and DVD."
Both DVD versions will include a commentary track by Metzger and film historian Michael Bowen, a mini-documentary on the restoration of the film, and a "behind-the-scenes" segment featuring Metzger and the film's stars.
As AVN has previously noted, Metzger's five hardcore "Henry Paris" films—The Opening of Misty Beethoven, Naked Came the Stranger, The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, Maraschino Cherry and Barbara Broadcast—are available in Platinum Elite editions from Video-X-Pix, which worked with Metzger himself to restore the classics to pristine condition.
Perhaps even better, Metzger is currently hard at work on a new film—his first since retiring from filmmaking in 1984.
"Solarium is being produced by Cult Epics founder Nico Bruinsma," the Cult Epics press release revealed. "The film tells the story of five beautiful women who meet at the Wanda Solarium."
"In this relaxed setting, the women allow their primitive instincts to emerge and explore what Carl Jung refers to as the 'shadow side'," Metzger explained. "It's an exciting story, and one that drew me back into theatrical storytelling." Casting is currently underway as Bruinsma searches for the perfect quintet of Solarium seductresses.
The UCLA Film & Television Archive retrospective isn't the first time Metzger has been honored in mainstream media—that may have been his appearance at the 1994 Telluride Film Festival, which also featured porn film historians Constance Penley and Linda Williams (both University of California professors) and stars/directors Nina Hartley and Veronica Hart—but this festival will feature not only an "extended director's cut" of the famous Lickerish Quartet, but Metzger himself will be present after the screening on June 2 to answer questions about his life and work. He will also attend the screening of Camille 2000 on June 3, and will attend a party later that evening co-sponsored by Cult Epics, the Hammer Museum and the UCLA Film & Television Archive in the Hammer Museum courtyard to celebrate the June 28 release of Camille 2000. The party is free and open to the public.
The festival, which will run for five days in early to mid-June, will also include Therese and Isabelle (June 6), Carmen Baby and Little Mother (June 9), and Score (possibly the hardcore version) and The Image (June 17). All films will be screened at the Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Ticket information can be found here.
Bottom line: June is Radley Metzger month, and the modern-day adult industry is welcome to get on board!