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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 7/23/02

The Image
(aka The Punishment of Anne)

1975 (2002) - Audubon Films (Synapse Films)

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

The Image (aka The Punishment of Anne) Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/C+

Specs and Features

94 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1.78:1), 16x9 enhanced, Amaray keep case packaging, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:00:52 in chapter 8), liner notes by Stephen R. Bissette, isolated music score, theatrical trailers, film-themed menus with music, scene access (11 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0 and mono), subtitles: none

Well, how about this. Leave it to our wily old friends over at Synapse to release an art film all men can enjoy. The Image, the Radley Metzger film too hot for any other DVD company to release, is a true sight to behold. Not only is it a fantastic looking DVD, but it's one of the greatest pieces of artistic pornography ever popped into my player. At least under the classification of me having no idea it was going to be pornographic when I chose to give it a spin in the first place.

I'm not a naive man. I knew a DVD featuring a naked woman suspended by chains on the cover (obscured artfully by the title logo, might I add) was going to dance on the sexual side. And, judging from most of the Metzger films I've seen in the past distributed by Image and First Run Features, I knew there was going to be a bit of sex and some flashes of female nudity. But... I was in no way prepared for the jaw dropping levels of sexuality in this film. No way.

And don't think I'm complaining, because I'm not.

The Image is done so well, you hardly expect what happens to happen. Half the movie goes by and you think you're firmly imbedded in a nice old-fashioned European sex romp. You have the badly dubbed voices, the standard Metzgerian/Freudian visual puns layered in and the bad 70s fashion. It's all here. But somewhere, about 40 minutes in, the film takes a turn. The young girl featured on the cover finds herself wantingly chained to a chair with a woman behind her explaining her moistness levels to a man who is whipping out his manhood and sticking it lovingly in the girl's waiting mouth. No cuts. No obscured angles... the guy's pecker is in her mouth and she's a-sucking. The film was based on a book called L'Image and the film was originally released as The Punishment of Anne (later renamed The Image). But I think a more fitting title would be The Man Who Loved Blowjobs, 'cause from the point I just described on, that's all that's in this film. Well... that and a ménage between the man, the girl and a hot little redheaded store clerk... and then an S&M scene that has gone down in the annals of filmdom as one of the greatest bondage scenes ever filmed for a legitimately released movie.

I like The Image. I like it a lot actually. I like it more on this new DVD. Synapse really did pretty great with this release. They pulled out all the stops to make sure it looks and sounds as good as possible, and it does. The image quality is as good as you'll see in any major studio release of one of their older titles. The new anamorphic transfer, struck from the original 35mm camera negatives, is incredible. The colors are pure and solid, the blacks are crisp and, aside from a few flaws inherent the original camera negative, there's not a thing marring this film. The sound is just as solid. There's a full and resonant mono track, with clear dialogue and supple music, along with an even nicer newly remastered stereo track. And if you like the music (and you will if you like 70s porno music), as an extra you'll find the score isolated on a separate track. It's a great listen.

The extras are a bit light, but still. We get a selection of trailers from other Metzger film's like Score and The Lickerish Quartet, as well as a nice liner note essay from Stephen R. Bissette. The disc is not jam packed, but considering how beautiful the film is presented, it wouldn't matter if there were nothing else on this disc.

All in all, I wouldn't be surprised if stores carrying this title have it in the regular alpha section and not in adult. I'd be they just have NO idea. Just in case you picked this title up and thought it was an art film you can watch with the kids (yeah, right), the disc does support parental lock. If you have that set-up on your player, this disc won't play.

So if you think it's the kind of thing you might enjoy, give this classic bit of porno a spin. It's not your average porn flick. It's a very well done little art film... that just happens to explore the darker side of sexuality. Not quite Harry Potter, but that's a good thing in my opinion.

Todd Doogan
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