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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The Jeweler Creates Erotic Sculptures with Tuscan Marble Once Used by Michaelangelo
The slopes and quarries of Tuscany’s Monte Altissimo provide a dramatic backdrop for the designer and sexual anthropologist Betony Vernon’s first foray into marble, shot by NOWNESS contributor Estelle Hanania. The créatrice behind erotic jewelry line Paradise Found, Vernon has exhibited at the annual Salone del Mobile and London’s Victoria and Albert museum, in addition to collaborating with brands including Missoni and Gianfranco Ferré. A native of Virginia now based between Paris and Milan, she traveled to the famed marble headquarters after being asked to contribute to KAMA: Sex & Design, the forthcoming exhibition at Milan’s Triennale Design Museum, for which she decided to expand her repertoire to include marmoreal creations, recruiting the help of Henraux President and foundation spearhead Paolo Carli. “I want to see the material, I want to learn, I want to have a scalpel in hand and chip away at the marble and feel the way the handle bounces off it,” effuses Vernon, who Carli placed with one of the company’s long-term artisans for the project. A stalwart leader in marble, Henraux has worked with storied artists including Henry Moore, Joan Mirò and Tony Cragg since its establishment in 1821. Its quarries, meanwhile, have been in use since they were discovered by Michaelangelo and excavated by the Medici family in the 16th century; today, an educational institution dedicated to preserving that age-old level of craftsmanship in the region takes advantage of the remains. “Think what’s been made with marble,” Vernon says. “It is the symbol of skin.” The newfound sculptor weighs in on sex and substance.
What do you find most sensual about Italy?
The abundance of Caravaggio, the remnants of Pagan culture, and the primary ingredients that make for fabulous food!
Do you have a favorite or little known aphrodisiac ingredient?
Puntarelle with salsa d'acciughe. Puntarelle is a fall vegetable that I have only ever seen in Italy and that seasonality is one of the reasons it’s so sexy.
What piece of art do you find most erotic?
It is impossible to choose just one! The Frescoes in Pompei, Gustave Courbet’s Origin of the World, Irving Klaw’s images of Bettie Page, and John Willie’s fabulous erotic illustrations all come to mind at once! My head is spinning.
What is the best piece of erotic literature?
Anne Desclos’ The Story of O.
What's the most interesting new fetish you've heard about?
It is certainly not new, but suddenly revived: the moustache fetish!