The Image (The Punishment of Anne) (1975)

“If you look up the word erotic in the dictionary, you will no doubt see a picture of Radley Metzger staring right back at you directly in the face (with a cheeky little smirk no doubt). No one has ever, or will ever make films like this man had. Way ahead of his time (which historically seemed to work against him) Metzger’s films have survived in relative obscurity or have unfortunately been presented in poorly transferred abridged versions. Enter Synapse Films to the rescue with one of Metzger’s most beloved titles (and most dangerous if you will) The Image (AKA The Punishment of Anne), and a film that absolutely no one could have ever predicted would have surfaced on DVD.

The Image is most certainly not going to be a film for everyone. Consisting of scenes of a sadistic and highly sexual nature, The Image  could cause even the most hard core of viewers to blush. The lines are blurred as the film shifts into a sexual high gear that verges on hard core itself. Although there is no actual visible penetration per say, there are certain manipulations, oral or otherwise, that are unmistakable. The easily offended or prudish need not apply.

There are moments during the chained up and leather clad finale, in which the screams appear a little too real for comfort (poor Anne even has to choose her own whip at one point). If the weakest viewer had stuck around up until this point, here is where they would indeed need to run in terror. Saying The Image isn’t easy to watch at parts would be an understatement (needles to skin anyone?). However, fans of Metzger (or the truly adventurous filmgoer) rejoice, as this DVD is without a doubt a true Metzger fan’s dream come true.

What is it about The Image that separates it from the common late night fare shown on Skinemax? I think it’s partly due to the original and well told story that stemmed from the written work L’Image (written by a woman Catherine Robbe-Grillet, no less) and the completely on target performances. The remaining successes can be placed solely on Metzger. His deliberate pacing and unique storytelling style give The Image its much needed dose of originality.”