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The Image is a 1975 American film that was re-released in an edited version in 1976. The film is also known by two other titles: The Punishment of Anne and The Mistress and the Slaveand was directed by Radley Metzger. The film is based upon the classic 1956 sadomasochistic novel L'Image, written by Catherine Robbe-Grillet and published under the pseudonym of Jean de Berg.
The story of middle-aged Jean, a writer (played by Carl Parker), who meets an old friend, Claire, a lesbian and also middle-aged (played by Marilyn Roberts) and is soon drawn into her world of sadomasochism, in which they torture Claire's youthful slave, Anne (Mary Mendum, aka Rebecca Brooke, and Metzger's girlfriend at the time).
The movie's structure is divided in 10 chapters, separated by white writing on a black background:
- An Evening at the X...'s
- The Roses in Bagatelle Gardens
- Too Much Water and Its Consequences
- False Starts
- The Photographs
- An Expiatory Sacrifice
- The Fitting Room
- In the Bathroom
- The Gothic Chamber
- Everything Resolves Itself
- "Anyone into sado-masochism will get obvious fulfillment by watching the surface physical thrills that Metzger provides. The true fulfillment for this viewer was delving deeper into the themes of dominance and submission that the characters were exploring in their relationships." – Boris Lugosi
- "This is a must own for anyone interested in the fetishes portrayed (graphic oral sex, bondage, whipping, and urination), and also for those who would like to see what quality porn can look like."
In 2011, Synapse Films re-released The Image on Blu-ray and DVD. The original 35mm negatives were scanned to facilitate the high definition release. In addition to the visual remastering, the audio was also reworked for the re-release, adding DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 to the Blu-ray. Synapse also created new cover art for the re-release.
The Image received mixed critical reviews. Buzz Burgess of DVDTalk gave the film four out of five stars for content, stating that "Metzger [...] has created a piece argued by some to be the best erotic film ever made." Charles Tatum, of eFilmCritic.com disliked the film, awarding it just two out of five stars, citing a lack of substance, "The Image is just that- pretty pictures of pretty people whipping each other during sexual sessions. Its infamy is understandable, but not deserved." Michael Den Boer praised the actor's performances, especially Brooke's, even implying that she carried the movie with her portrayal of Anne.