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Image Entertainment presents
Girls Who Like Girls (2001)

"The film reinforced the popular image of lesbians, as a perverse other species: possessive, aggresive, predatory, and with a definite yen for ritualistic entertainment."
- Betty Ward (narrator)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: August 07, 2002

Stars: Betty Ward
Other Stars: Claire Wilbur, Lynn Lowry, Silvana Venturelli, Erika Remberg, Essy Persson, Catherine Deneuve, Anna Gaël, Uta Levka, Sandra Julien, Marie-Georges Pascal
Director: Pauline Edwards

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:29m:02s
Release Date: June 04, 2002
UPC: 014381150629
Genre: late night


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+B+B D-

DVD Review

Girls Who Like Girls is a 2001 compilation of "the steamiest lesbian scenes" from Radley Metzger and the Audubon Films Library presented as a documentary on the changing face of the depiction of lesbianism in cinema. In the 1960s and early 1970s, Metzger, who was also a distributor, directed a series of stylish, soft-core erotic pictures, becoming one of the few true artisans in the genre.

While hardly a comprehensive look at the subject, and ignoring many highly influential foreign films, Girls Who Like Girls does uncover many traditional lesbian representations and stereotypes. To demonstrate its point, the film presents a collection of lesbian scenes from Metzger's work including Carmen Baby, Therese and Isabelle, The Lickerish Quartet, Score, The Alley Cats, and The Dirty Girls. Through this series of clips are presented a gamut of characterizations, from the innocent schoolgirl, to the opportunistic predator to the sadomasochistic dominatrix.

The narrative describes the evolution of lesbians on screen, who until the 1950s were primarily regarded in mainstream cinema in a marginalized fashion, if at all. Later, as erotica became more fashionable, they were presented as part of a more adventurous heterosexual subculture, with the lesbian encounter a voyeuristic pleasure and foreplay for a male partner.

Creating one of the first realistic depictions of a lesbian relationship in 1968's Therese and Isabelle, Metzger pushed the envelope in terms of content, with a sumptuously shot adaptation of French author Violette Leduc's scandalous novel. Here, the women were left on their own, exploring their feelings of attraction, friendship and eventual passion against the setting of a Catholic girl's school. Of note to Metzger fans is the alternate "safe" ending for the film, which was not included on the original Image DVD.

1970's The Lickerish Quartet, a decadent and surrealistic erotic adventure set in a medieval castle, plays erotic vignettes against a backdrop of a projected stag film, where the viewers become actors on screen. 1974's Score created a sexual farce that was released both in soft- and hardcore versions, depicting a bisexual couple who challenge each other to seduce a younger couple into a series of sex games, culminating in both gay and lesbian encounters, only the latter of which is shown here. This features Metzger's trademark sense of design and visual flair, highlighted by his shooting sex scenes through various glass objects or via reflective surfaces.

Catherine Deneuve's screen debut, in André Hunebelle's 1957 feature, The Twilight Girls is examined for its controversial and groundbreaking legal challenge that in essence caused the demise of the New York State Censorhip Board. Re-edited for its US release to include more explicit lesbianism, this sequence compares the original and revised editions.

Also included are scenes from Max Pécas' Her and She and Him and I am Frigid, Why? with José Bénazéraf's productions The Fourth Sex and Sexus, with its extended mock sadomasochism sequence. Although this feature does play like a trailer reel for Audubon's films, the narrative does more than just promote the film collection, as the introductions and commentary are interesting, despite being limited to one distributor's catalogue.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Considering the breadth of source material, the overall quality here is pretty reasonable. None of the Metzger library is exactly in pristine condition, some of the segments are a little worse for wear, but most are quite presentable. Unlike Image's DVD release, the scenes from Score are full-frame, while those from Therese and Isabelle have the same type of aliasing present in the widescreen image found on that DVD.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Mono audio is fairly reasonable, with the narrative being a touch edgy at times. The film segments are well presented, though will display limitation in their source material depending on the title.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no real extras included, however each film covered does get its own chapter stop.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Girls Who Like Girls assembles a collage of lesbian encounters from a variety of films from the 1930s through early 1970s. While there is some informative commentary, the lack of coverage for many films outside the Audubon library limit its effectiveness as a documentary. Note that the erotic content is probably more suited to mainstream audiences than the gay community.

 


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