|Directed by||Radley Metzger|
|Written by||Jerry Douglas|
Score is a sexploitation film directed by Radley Metzger that was one of the first films to explore bisexual relationships. It was part of the brief porn chic fad in the early 1970s that also included Behind the Green Door, The Devil in Miss Jones and Deep Throat. The film was based on an off-Broadway stage play that ran for 23 performances at the Martinique Theatre from October 28 through November 15, 1971 and that featured Sylvester Stallone in a brief role (as telephone repairman Mike). The theatrical version of Score was written by Jerry Douglas, who later became a mainstream screenwriter. It was set in a shabby Queens tenement, while the film was set in an elegant, mythical land and sported a relatively high budget for an independent film of that era.
It has been released in both soft-core and hard-core versions. One DVD release, a soft-core version, shows a renewed copyright date of 1976 (all prints featuring the 1976 copyright are the director's approved, edited version), but the film itself was actually released in the United States in December 1973. Hardcore prints, including full-frontal male nudity and fellatio, run 91 minutes, while the ubiquitous soft-core prints were released in an 84-minute format. First Run Pictures marketed the original hardcore version on videocassette, though it was a limited release available by special mail order only. These extremely rare prints occasionally surface on eBay. The hard-core version is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
In the mythical European city of Leisure, married couple Jack and Elvira have an ongoing bet regarding who can seduce whom. This comes up in the wake of a swinging night with a couple of tourists picked up via a newspaper ad. Elvira, a self-professed "sexual snob" has bet she can seduce newlywed Betsy, married to handsome marine biologist Eddie. If she fails by a certain midnight, then Jack gets to seduce Eddie.
While Jack and Eddie go to work separately, Betsy comes round to visit her new friend Elvira. She's very intrigued by Elvira's open admission of her swinging lifestyle, including spouse-swapping and drugs. When Mike, the telephone repair man, arrives (Elvira had sabotaged the phone earlier just in hopes of a handsome man showing up), Betsy is fascinated and shocked as Elvira seduces him right before her eyes. She also admits that she's not really happy, especially after catching Eddie masturbating in the bathroom. But she says Elvira's actions are not for her, because at heart she is still a Catholic schoolgirl. Elvira tells a story about Jack, about just before they were married, and how he said he would "climb aboard a porcupine" if he had a mind to.
The two couples get together that night, and get slightly high on pot. Pulling out a trunk of costumes, they decide to play dress up. Jack dons a sailor's uniform while Betsy wears a very revealing modeling outfit. To Betsy's shock/tititalation (and Jack's huge amusement), Elvira's costume is based on a nun's wimple, but with nothing underneath. They tease Eddie into putting on a cowboy outfit.
As the night progresses, the two wives and two husbands pair off to wander and chat. During the course of their conversations, each of the naive couple admit to dissatisfaction, including a questioning whether they ever should have gotten married. Eddie, it turns out, was Betsy's brother's best friend. There is a hint that he and Eddie were maybe closer than friends, although Eddie doesn't seem to know that Betsy might realize that. Betsy, meanwhile, lets her hair down and is even a little worried something might "happen" between her and Elvira. She also gets giddy at saying the word "fuck" for the first time. Downstairs, Jack, remarks to Eddie that just before he and Elvira were married, she commented, "Jack, I'd hop in the sack with a porcupine if it struck my fancy."
Elvira and Betsy end up in the upstairs bedroom, with Jack and Eddie in the downstairs den. A quick phone call between the swinging couple has them agree that midnight is the deadline for them both. As the late night progresses, both introduce their perspective seductees to amyl nitrite (each says the same line as they do: "Bingo!") and when asking for the time, interpret the respective watches as either "slow" or "fast" depending upon their own desires.
Both Eddie and Betsy are simultaneously seduced, receiving and giving oral sex. Betsy is even penetrated with a strap-on (while wearing a collar and leash). Eddie, penetrated by Jack, has a brief hallucination that the person making love to him is Betsy.
In the morning, Jack and Elvira consider the score pretty much even. Betsy and Eddie are confused, each thinking perhaps the other is the "normal" one. Betsy even makes a remark about them both being "porcupines." When Mike suddenly arrives for a visit, just as Jack and Elvira are getting ready to have a ménage à trois with Betsy, Jack invites him, too, boasting that they "play all kinds of games around here". A chance remark brings out the fact Mike and Eddie both enjoy bowling. Somewhat to Jack and Elvira's surprise, Mike leaves to play with Eddie and Betsy, who suggests they all get together soon to play "Bingo".
- Claire Wilbur (Elvira Jackson, the swinging wife)
- Calvin Culver (aka Casey Donovan) (Eddie, the closeted husband)
- Lynn Lowry (Betsy, the naive wife)
- Gerald Grant (Jack Jackson, the swinging husband)
- Carl Parker (Mike Nixon, the horny telephone repairman)
- Darren, Alison (2000). Lesbian film guide. Sexual Politics. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 182–183. ISBN 0-304-33376-X.
- Murray, Raymond (1994). Images in the dark: an encyclopedia of gay and lesbian film and video. TLA Publications. p. 324. ISBN 1-880707-01-2.
- Score (1974) at the Internet Movie Database
- Blu-ray Review, at DVD Resurrections.com
- Online Review
- Another Online Review
- Score podcast interview with Radley Metzger, GreenCine Daily, October 2010