A sexually liberated couple (Claire Wilbur and Gerald Grant) set out to seduce a young newlywed couple (Lynn Lowry and Calvin Culver).
Having explored familiar heterosexual obsessions in well-regarded softcore dramas like CAMILLE 2000 (1969) and THE LICKERISH QUARTET (1969), director Radley Metzger upped the sexual ante with SCORE, a good-natured bisexual romp which crosses the boundary into hardcore territory popularized in US theaters by the likes of DEEP THROAT and THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES (both 1972). Based on a play by screenwriter Jerry Douglas, SCORE pits a couple of worldly, uninhibited predators against naive, conservative-minded ‘virgins’ during a weekend get-together at Wilbur and Grant’s luxury Riviera villa. Having plied the hapless duo with drink and soft drugs (“I’m not a very good junkie!” Lowry complains) and dressed them in costumes which tally with their sexual fantasies (cowboy, nun, sailor, etc.), Wilbur and Lowry pair off for a lesbian encounter, while Grant and Culver descend into the basement bedroom for a full-blown gay seduction.
Artfully photographed by Metzger himself and veteran cinematographer Franjo Vodopivec on location in Yugosalvia, and framed as an adult fairy tale (the delightful opening narration locates the action “…in the lush little land of Plenty, in the enviable state of Affluence… deep within the Erogenous Zone”!), the movie is distinguished by clever dialogue which removes outmoded notions of sexual parameters from the outset. When asked how she differentiated between sexes during the orgies she’s attended in the past, Wilbur replies: “First you don’t know, then you can’t tell, then you don’t care!” The plot is wafer-thin, and the acting is merely OK (the women fare best in this regard), but Douglas’ script – played out for the most part in a single interior set, with only a handful of outdoor sequences – allows Metzger to build slowly and surely to the climactic double seduction, using reflective surfaces (amongst other devices) to convey sexual dualities within the characters. Viewers hoping for a non-stop flesh-fest may be irritated by the long narrative preamble (punctuated by Wilbur’s rough-house tumble with studly repairman Carl Parker), but there’s still plenty of uncompromising nudity, and the film manages to stimulate the brain whilst simultaneously tickling your, er… fancy. Great music, too, including an ultra-groovy (and uncredited) theme song! The film exists in two separate versions: Metzger is said to prefer the softcore edition (85m), but the all-important sex scenes are seriously compromised by jarring edits and obvious gaps in the soundtrack. Try to see the full-on hardcore print (92m), which includes rather more graphic detail during the gay sex scenes.
‘Calvin Culver’ is actually gay porn performer Casey Donovan, star of groundbreaking titles like BOYS IN THE SAND (1971) and THE OTHER SIDE OF ASPEN (1978), though he later re-teamed with Metzger for the director’s hetero masterpiece THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN (1976). Co-star Grant only appeared in two other films – Metzger’s NAKED CAME THE STRANGER (1975) and Umberto Lenzi’s EATEN ALIVE! (1980) – and it’s sad to report that both he and Donovan have since passed away. Wilbur featured in the original stage version of SCORE, but her only other screen acting credit appears to be TEENAGE HITCH-HIKERS (1974), while the beautiful Lowry has since pursued a career in mainstream movies, including THE CRAZIES (1973), SHIVERS (1975) and CAT PEOPLE (1982). Writer Jerry Douglas adopted the pseudonym ‘Doug Richards’ and made a name for himself in gay porn, writing and directing a number of celebrated productions, including THE BACK ROW (1973), BOTH WAYS (1976) and MORE OF A MAN (1991), the latter featuring Joey Stefano and Chi Chi LaRue, while SCORE’s production manager Branko Lustig has since become a major Hollywood producer, with titles like SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993) and GLADIATOR (2000) to his credit!