Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

SCORE

Casey Donovan (Cal Culver) and Gerald Grant 
SCORE (1974). Director: Radley Metzger.

Elvira (Claire Wilbur) and Jack (Gerald Grant) are a pair of married swingers who like to invite other couples over for some sexual fun and games. As both spouses are "bisexual," Elvira tries to score with the wife while Jack goes after the husband. The two have turned this into a competition to see who can get the highest "score." Elvira and Jack's latest party-goers are Eddie (Calvin Culver) and his wife, Betsy (Lynn Lowry), who are much less sophisticated than their hosts. As the evening progresses towards a midnight deadline, Elvira and Jack both make strong attempts to get it on with their opposite number and win some points. Score actually works up some suspense as to whether or not the couple will "score," and the major set piece of the film -- not that this will surprise anyone -- is that they do, in a protracted hardcore sequence that jumps back and forth from the two women to the two men. Based on an off-Broadway show by Jerry Douglas, who also wrote the screenplay, Score is typical of seventies "porn" in that there is at least an attempt to develop real characters and storylines -- there are some witty lines and the acting is good -- although this could not exactly be called a bisexual Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? [Like the infamous The Devil in Miss Jones, this picture also played in "legitimate" moviehouses.] Due to the rise of the modern gay rights movement, bisexuality (both real and imagined) also came out of the closet, albeit of the self-conscious, somewhat phony variety demonstrated in Score -- it might be called a gay movie with bisexual pretensions. [There is one straight sex scene in the movie, but most of it is homosexual in nature.] Jack tells his wife regarding Eddie, "you wouldn't appreciate him half as much as I do, and worse than that, he won't appreciate you half as much as me." The film more than suggests that the two gentlemen, at least, are far, far more interested in men than they are in their wives or women in general. While Score is meant to be a fun-loving, open-minded, free love free-for-all in which one's full sexuality is encouraged, one can't escape the suggestion that Jack is basically a gay man living with and off a wealthy lesbian, which actually makes the movie seem dated in these days of gay marriage. Aside from a few genuine bisexuals or the bi-curious, the movie seems to defeat itself because the gay male viewers will be bored by the lesbian scenes and vice versa -- it's a question of the filmmakers wanting to have their cake and eat it, too. Hetero men may enjoy the "girl-on-girl" action but as for the rest ... ? Jerry Douglas (who is not to be confused with The Young and the Restless actor of the same name), also wrote and directed a film entitled Both Ways, in which Gerald Grant again plays a bisexual husband who has an affair with a gay man (Dean Tait) and, in a regressive twist, murders him. Neither film successfully ushered in a new genre of bisexual porn. Calvin Culver was better known as erotic film star Casey Donovan and was the boyfriend of actor-writer Thomas Tryon for several years. Grant and Wilbur had only a few film credits, but Lynn Lowry had a long list of credits, frequently in horror films. Radley Metzger also directed the non-exploitation The Cat and the Canary and did a slick editing job on The Flesh Eaters.

Verdict: If the description gets you excited, than by all means watch it! **1/2 out of 4.

2 comments:

angelman66 said...

REALLY dying to see this one, Bill, after all I have read about it and about Cal Culver. I have always had a strange penchant for 1970s porn--str8, gay, bi, whatever...perhaps because I used to sneak looks at my dad's and uncles' Playboys and Penthouses and Oui, or perhaps because all those films had real storylines that put the action in a proper context. Bad acting, yes, but at least a narrative to follow.

This one looks positively titillating...thanks for the recommendation.
-Chris

William said...

My pleasure. Actually the actors in this are pretty good (and I don't just mean attractive, ha!) especially Grant and Wilbur. Lowry is also good and did go on to many, many credits. Culver maybe overdoes that innocent puppy dog quality, but in his case it's certainly acting!