Weekend Erotica: Making Camille 2000

Adult Filmmaking Legend Radley Metzger Explains the Tricks of His Titilating Trade

Hyperventilation, sheer stockings pulled over the camera lens and a bedroom made entirely of inflatable plastic were just three of the kinky hurdles that faced softcore king Radley Metzger when he made his 1969 movie Camille 2000, as he explains in this behind-the-scenes clip. Metzger spearheaded the 1960s crossover between high production values and adult entertainment, championing a different type of nudie movie, one that aspired to cinematography more often found in the art house than the adult movie theater. “It was an experimental time,” he says. “I don’t think anyone had used inflatable furniture before—there was no guide.” Here the director gives us his opinions on his eventual crossover into harder territory and his views on the erotica industry today.

As the 70s went on some of your films got a bit more hardcore. Was that your decision or did the audience demand it?
Radley Metzger: The market changed. There was no audience for films like Camille 2000 because explicit films became popular and took the audience away. We waited about two years and saw the numbers dwindle so we went in and did five films of a stronger nature. I could only do one thing—storytelling—so I just did the same thing but extended the love scenes. 

Playboy visited the set. Was the magazine a fan of yours?
RM: They must have been as they sent M. Frank Wolfe, one of the top photographers from Playboy, all the way to Rome. He was also a big help in making the film and had a very good sense of framing. 

Is pornography still an art form today?
RM: With what I did, the magic word is timing. We happened to be there when that kind of film was very chic. I am not too familiar with what’s going on today but I do see documentaries on cable television about what it is like. I think it has become an industry and it doesn’t have too much to do with the kind of storytelling we were doing. I don’t say that from a snobbish point of view—it's just very different. 

Camille 2000 is restored and released for the very first time in the UK on Blu-Ray and DVD from February 11.

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Conversations (3)

  • schoolanduniversity.com
    This film doesn't attempt to do much in the way of taboo bashing, at least not in the same way as other Metzger films do. The only real sense we get that this is the swinging sixties is in the fact that both of the main characters are unapologetic about their past promiscuity. However, even that isn't so daring as the basis for the plot is about them committing, or not committing, to one another exclusively. What it does do is to provide a context for the sensual onscreen action and some magnificent settings, and for me, that's enough.
  • schoolanduniversity.com
    I guess that to Ebert, and many contemporary critics, Camille 2000 seemed to have its head up its own *****. A film that was more about style than substance, but desperately trying to say something in the midst of acres of spectacular art direction, but with much soul. Honestly, I can see where that criticism comes from. Daniele Gaubert and Nino Castelnuova both give fairly wooden performances, and since the film's success as an emotionally gripping narrative rests on their chemistry, it is a bit of a stretch. However, what really has me impressed about Camille 2000 is precisely the thing that seemed to bother Ebert. The style is magnificent.
  • Franco De Rose
    salacious and erotic

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