Radley Metzger

Radley Metzger (also known as Radley Henry Metzger, Radley H. Metzger[1][6][7][10] and by the pseudonyms, "Jake Barnes", "Erich Farina" and "Henry Paris")[8][9][10][11] (January 21, 1929 – March 31, 2017)[2][4][19][20] was an American pioneering filmmaker[2][21][22] and film distributor, most noted for popular artistic, adult-oriented films,[2][23][24][25] including Camille 2000 (1969), The Lickerish Quartet (1970), Score (1974), The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann (1974), The Image (1975), The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976) and Barbara Broadcast (1977).[26][27][28] According to one film reviewer, Metzger's films, including those made during the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984), are noted for their "lavish design, witty screenplays, and a penchant for the unusual camera angle".[25] Another reviewer noted that his films were "highly artistic — and often cerebral ... and often featured gorgeous cinematography".[26] Film and audio works by Metzger have been added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.[29][30][31][32]

Radley Metzger
Radley Henry Metzger

(1929-01-21)January 21, 1929[1]
New York City, United States
DiedMarch 31, 2017(2017-03-31) (aged 88)[2][3][4][5]
New York City, United States
ResidenceNew York City, United States
Other names
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationB. A. degree in Dramatic Arts
Alma materCity College of New York;
Columbia University
OccupationFilm director
Years active1957 – 2010s
Known forArtistic, adult-oriented films and related works[2][12][13]
Notable work
Style"a Euro-centric combination of stylish decadence, wealth and the aristocratic".[12]
Home townNew York City, United States
Parent(s)Julius; Anne[1]
Relativesnephew, nieces[14]

Early life

Radley Henry Metzger was born on January 21, 1929 on the Grand Concourse in The Bronx, New York City, and was the second son of Jewish parents, Julius and Anne.[1][6][14] He claimed he found relief from his allergies in movie theaters, especially at the Audubon Ballroom theatre, while growing up.[33][34] Later, Metzger received a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from City College of New York,[25] where he studied with filmmakers Hans Richter and Leo Seltzer. He also studied acting privately with director Harold Clurman. During the Korean War, Metzger served in the U. S. Air Force with the 1350th Photographic Group, which interrupted his graduate studies at Columbia University.[25] His older brother, now deceased,[14] had become a physician. Metzger later married and had a daughter.[1][6]


Early in his career, in the 1950s, Metzger worked primarily as a film editor[19][35] and was a member of Local 771 of the IATSE.[25] He was employed in editing trailers for Janus Films (now The Criterion Collection),[5] a major distributor of foreign art films, especially those of Michelangelo Antonioni,[25] Ingmar Bergman,[1][23] Federico Fellini,[34] Jean-Luc Godard[34] and François Truffaut.[1] In 1953, Metzger was credited as assistant director to William Kyriakis on the film Guerilla Girl.[34] Later, in 1956, he worked on the dubbing of And God Created Woman, starring Brigitte Bardot.[6] His directorial film debut, Dark Odyssey (1961) (co-directed with Kyriakis), was a drama concerning the experiences of a Greek immigrant arriving in New York. The film was favorably reviewed by The New York Times[35][36] and others.[37][38][39] In 1959, he edited the film The Gangster Story, starring Walter Matthau,[34] and, in 1960, Metzger was a presenter for the Japanese film, The Warped Ones.[40]

Later, in 1961, along with film distributor Ava Leighton, Metzger founded Audubon Films. The company was named after the Audubon Ballroom theatre, one of his favorite movie theaters while growing up.[33] The newly founded distribution company specialized in importing international features, some of which were marketed into the gradually expanding adult erotic film genre. Metzger's skills as an editor were employed in re-cutting and augmenting many of the features Audubon handled, including The Twilight Girls (FR,1957) and, their first runaway success, Mac Ahlberg's I, a Woman (DN/SW,1965).[41]

Metzger's second directorial effort, The Dirty Girls (shot in 1963 and released in 1965), marked his emergence as a major auteur in the adult erotic film genre. His subsequent films were often shot in Europe[35] and adapted from novels or other literary sources, including Carmen (by Prosper Mérimée), La Dame aux Camélias (by Alexandre Dumas), L'image (by Catherine Robbe-Grillet), Naked Came the Stranger (by Penelope Ashe),[42] Pygmalion (by George Bernard Shaw), Six Characters in Search of an Author (by Luigi Pirandello),[34] The Cat and the Canary (by John Willard),[35] and Thérèse et Isabelle (by Violette Leduc).[43][44][45] He cites John Farrow, Claude Lelouch,[24] Michael Powell, Alain Resnais[22] and Orson Welles as influencing his work.[35] Metzger worked with the French film director Jean Renoir, as well as the American actor Hal Linden.[25] Andy Warhol, who helped begin the Golden Age of Porn with his 1969 film Blue Movie, was a fan of Metzger's film work[25] and commented that Metzger's 1970 film, The Lickerish Quartet, was “an outrageously kinky masterpiece”.[1][2][46] In 1972, Metzger directed the film Score,[1][21][47][48] based on an erotic off-Broadway play that included Sylvester Stallone.[34][41][47] Films directed by Metzger included musical scores composed by Georges Auric, Stelvio Cipriani, Georges Delerue, and Piero Piccioni.[35] Metzger's signature film style of his "elegant erotica"[49] had developed into being "a Euro-centric combination of stylish decadence, wealth and the aristocratic".[12]

Under the pseudonym "Henry Paris,"[1] Metzger also directed several explicit adult erotic features during the mid- to late-1970s. These films were released during the Golden Age of Porn (inaugurated by the 1969 release of Andy Warhol's Blue Movie) in the United States, at a time of "porno chic",[50][51] in which adult erotic films were just beginning to be widely released, publicly discussed by celebrities (like Johnny Carson and Bob Hope)[52] and taken seriously by film critics (like Roger Ebert).[53][54] Metzger's films are typified by high production values, especially The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann (1975)[12] and The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976), and are generally critically celebrated.[1][55][56] Some historians assess The Opening of Misty Beethoven, based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (and its derivative, My Fair Lady), as attaining a mainstream level in storyline and sets[28][57][58][59] and is considered, by award-winning author Toni Bentley, the "crown jewel" of the Golden Age of Porn.[6][7]

Some of the adult erotic "Henry Paris" films, including Score (1974),[47][55][44][45] have also been presented in softcore versions.[24][35] Many of Metzger's films, including Score (1974), The Image (1975), The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976) and Barbara Broadcast (1977), as well as his earlier softcore films, Camille 2000 (1969) and The Lickerish Quartet (1970), have been released in Blu-ray versions.[60][61]

With his 1978 feature The Cat and the Canary,[22] Metzger distinguished himself as one of the few adult film auteurs to direct a dramatic feature outside of the adult erotic film genre. The film starred Honor Blackman, Edward Fox, Dame Wendy Hiller and Carol Lynley.[1]

Later life

In the 1990s, as a result of the passing of his long-time partner, Ava Leighton, due to cancer, Metzger produced several videos on alternative health care, including one on cancer treatment and a five-part video series on homeopathy with Dr. Andrew Weil. According to Metzger: "I felt that in the 1990s, people needed more information on an intelligent approach to health and disease — that they needed to know about alleviating guilt. That was my emphasis."[25]

Later in life, Metzger considered several "Henry Paris"-like film projects, including one titled "Solarium",[62] another one based on the book "The Surrender" by Toni Bentley, and a third one based on his own original script, using Shakespearean dialogue, tentatively titled "The Heat of the Midnight Sun". However, all of these film projects were ultimately left unfinished.[63]

According to film reviewer Adam Schartoff of Filmmaker Magazine in April 2017, Metzger was a "truly unique and exquisitely talented director", his films had "strong visuals and narratives ... whimsical, funny, intelligent and always ambitious stories", his treatment of female characters were "way beyond his time". Schartoff and a producing partner, Judith Mizrachy, considered making a documentary overview about Metzger and his films, but the project currently is unfinished.[4]

Film and audio works by Metzger have been added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.[29][30][31]


Radley Metzger died of undisclosed causes in New York City on Friday, March 31, 2017 at the age of 88.[1][2][3][5][20][32]

Awards (selected)

In 1977, Metzger's film The Opening of Misty Beethoven was the recipient of the first Adult Film Association of America awards for Best Direction (as Henry Paris), Best Film, and Best Actor (Jamie Gillis)[15][16][17][28] and, as well, won the X-Caliber award for Best Direction (as Henry Paris).[9]

In 2001, Metzger's film work was the subject of a retrospective in Boston, Massachusetts.[34]

In 2002, Metzger's film The Opening of Misty Beethoven won Best Classic Release on DVD by the Adult Film Association of America.[64]

In 2010, Metzger was also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oldenburg International Film Festival, where he served as a judge in 2011.[18]

In 2011, Metzger's film work was the subject of a retrospective at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.[65][62][66]

In 2014, Metzger's film work was the subject of a retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.[1][23]

Partial filmography (director)

See also

The following listing includes directors also known for artistic, adult-oriented films:


  1. Sandomir, Richard (April 4, 2017). "Radley Metzger, Whose Artful Erotica Turned Explicit, Dies at 88". New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  2. Metzger, Juliette; Feldman, Caryl; West, Ashley (April 2, 2017). "Press Release: Radley Metzger, pioneering filmmaker, dies at 88". The Rialto Report. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  3. West, Ashley (April 2, 2017). "Radley Metzger – A Friendship Remembered". The Rialto Report. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  4. Schartoff, Adam (April 5, 2017). "Radley Metzger, 1929 – 2017". Filmmaker. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  5. Hudson, David (April 2, 2017). "Radley Metzger, 1929-2017". Fandor. Archived from the original on April 3, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  6. Bentley, Toni (June 2014). "The Legend of Henry Paris". Playboy. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  7. Bentley, Toni (June 2014). "The Legend of Henry Paris" (PDF). ToniBentley.com. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  8. Bentley, Toni (August 7, 2014). "The Art Cinema Erotica of Radley Metzger". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  9. Staff (2016). "Henry Paris". IAFD. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  10. Staff (2017). "Radley H. Metzger". Complete Index to World Film. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  11. Staff. "Filmlexikon - Radley Metzger". zweitausendeins.de (in German). Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  12. Staff (April 3, 2017). "'The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann' (1974): The Birth of 'Henry Paris'". The Rialto Report. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  13. Vermuellen, Dries (May 29, 2019). "The X-Rated World of Radley Metzger". ReprobatePress.com. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  14. Staff (August 29, 2017). "Paid Notice: Deaths Metzger, Anne". New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  15. Hilton, Thomas H. (August 1, 1977). "The Porn Awards". Adam Film World. Vol. 6 no. 6 (issue=66). pp. 16–17.
  16. Hilton, Thomas H. (December 1, 1977). "The First Annual Erotica Awards". Adam Film World. Vol. 6 no. 8 (issue=68). pp. 18–21.
  17. Staff (March 14, 1984). "AFAA - 8th Annual AFAA Erotic Film Awards — official program". Adult Film Association of America.
  18. Staff (October 8, 2010). "Oldenburg International Film Festival honors a master of erotic cinema Radley Metzger". Oldenburg International Film Festival. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  19. Staff. "Dreams of Desire – The Films of Radley Metzger". Mondo-Digital.com. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  20. Kernes, Mark (April 3, 2017). "Pioneering Adult Director Radley Metzger Passes". AVN. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  21. Hudson, David (August 7, 2014). "This Is Softcore: The Art Cinema Erotica of Radley Metzger". Fandor. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  22. Weston, Hillary (August 19, 2014). "Porn Before It Was Chic: An Interview With Radley Metzger on Sex and Cinema". BlackBook. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  23. Dollar, Steve (August 5, 2014). "Radley Metzger Retrospective Opens at Film Society of Lincoln Center". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  24. Staff (August 7, 2014). "This Is Softcore: The Art Cinema Erotica of Radley Metzger". Film Society of Lincoln Center. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  25. Gallagher, Steve (August 7, 2014). ""This is Softcore": The History of Radley Metzger". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  26. Simpson, Claire (October 2, 2013). "Adults Only: 5 Films By Radley Metzger". WhatCulture.com. Archived from the original on May 24, 2015. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  27. MacFarlane, Steve (August 6, 2014). "Interview: Radley Metzger". Slant Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  28. West, Ashley (April 7, 2017). "'The Opening of Misty Beethoven' (1976): Jamie Gillis and Constance Money". The Rialto Report. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  29. Rist, Ray C. (January 4, 1974). Book - The Pornography Controversy: Changing Moral Standards in American Life. The Pornography Controversy: Changing Moral Standards in American Life. p. 124. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  30. Lehman, Peter (2006). Book - Pornography: Film and Culture. Pornography: Film and Culture. p. 9. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  31. Staff (2016). "Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) - DadaBase Search Results - Radley Metzger". Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  32. Staff (March 4, 2017). "Obituary Of The Righteous - The Porn Of The Fabulous 60s And 70s Loses One Of Its Pioneers And Masters: Radley Metzger - Photographer Of War, The MOMA Presents A Retrospective: His Erotic Films Made History - Video: 'Score', On The Relationships Of Couples Of The 70s, In An Uncensored Version". DagoSpia.com. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  33. West, Ashley (April 6, 2017). "Radley Metzger's Beginnings: The Audubon Ballroom". The Rialto Report. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  34. Staff (2015). "Radley Metzger – TCM Archive Materials". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  35. Staff. "A Talk With Radley Metzger". Mondo-Digital.com. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  36. Thompson, Howard (June 26, 1961). "Screen: 'Dark Odyssey':Low-Cost Drama Has Premiere at Cameo". New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  37. Morris, Gary (1998). "Radley Metzger - Dark Odyssey and Little Mother". ImagesJournal.com. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  38. Georgakas, Dan (1998). "Dark Odyssey". Senses of Cinema. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  39. Hasan, Mark R. (2011). "DVD: Dark Odyssey (1961)". KQEK.com. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  40. Staff. "The Warped Ones (1960) - Kyônetsu no kisetsu (original title)". IMDb. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  41. Gallagher, Steve (Summer 1997), "The Libertine", Filmmaker Magazine, retrieved May 24, 2015
  42. Staff (April 5, 2017). "'Naked Came the Stranger' (1975): The Hoax, The Film". The Rialto Report. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  43. Lezard, Nicholas (February 28, 2012). "Thérèse and Isabelle by Violette Leduc – review". The Guardian. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  44. Morris, Gary (April 1, 1998). "Seduction Is Universal: Thoughts on Radley Metzger". BrightLightsFilm.com. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  45. Morris, Gary (August 1, 1999). "Four Metzger Classics on DVD: Therese and Isabelle; Camille 2000; The Lickerish Quartet; Score". BrightLightsFilm.com. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  46. Staff (August 8, 2014). "The Lickerish Quartet". Film Society of Lincoln Center. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
  47. Staff (April 4, 2017). "Radley Metzger's 'Score' (1974): Behind the Scenes". The Rialto Report. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  48. Kramer, Gary M. (January 8, 2014). "Interview: Radley Metzger, dir. of Score". Cinedelphia. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  49. Nichols, Peter M. (November 21, 1997). "Home Video; Elegant Exotica On Small Screen". New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  50. Blumenthal, Ralph (January 21, 1973). "Porno chic; 'Hard-core' grows fashionable-and very profitable". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  51. Staff, Porno Chic (Jahsonic.com)
  52. Corliss, Richard (March 29, 2005). "That Old Feeling: When Porno Was Chic". Time. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  53. Ebert, Roger (June 13, 1973). "The Devil In Miss Jones - Film Review". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  54. Ebert, Roger (November 24, 1976). "Alice in Wonderland:An X-Rated Musical Fantasy". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  55. Staff (January 17, 2012). "The Films of Henry Paris". Mondo-Digital.com. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
  56. Paasonen, Susanna; Saarenmaa, Laura (July 19, 2007). The Golden Age of Porn: Nostalgia and History in Cinema (PDF). WordPress. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  57. Hopkins, Brent (June 3, 2007). "Porn: The Valley's secret industry". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  58. Rohit, Nitesh (June 6, 2008). "The Opening of Misty Beethoven". WindsFromThe East. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  59. Mathijs, Ernest; Mendik, Xavier (2007). The Cult Film Reader. Open University Press. p. 517. ISBN 978-0335219230.
  60. Staff (May 25, 2015). "Films of Radley Metzger on Blu-Ray". Amazon.com. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  61. Staff (May 25, 2015). "Films of Radley Metzger on Blu-Ray". VideoxPix.com. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  62. Staff (May 16, 2011). "Radley Metzger: A UCLA Retrospective, New DVD & New Film". AVN. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  63. West, Ashley (April 9, 2017). "'The Heat of the Midnight Sun': The Untold Story of Radley Metzger's Last Film Project". The Rialto Report. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  64. Staff (January 11, 2002). "Adult Video News Awards - Winner - Best Classic DVD". AVN Award. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  65. Staff (June 2, 2011). "Smooth Operator: The Opulent Eroticism of Radley Metzger". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  66. King, Susan (June 2, 2011). "Around Town: Radley Metzger's erotica, Tim Burton's exotica, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock and more". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  67. Staff (2019). "La baie du désir". FilmAffinity. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  68. Morris, Gary (November 1, 1999). "Radley Metzger: The Dirty Girls, Carmen Baby, The Princess and the Call Girl on DVD". Bright Lights Film Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  69. Staff (October 11, 1967). "'Carmen' Updated". New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  70. Staff. "Body Lust (1981) - Alternate title: The Tale of Tiffany Lust". New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  71. West, Ashley (June 23, 2019). "'The Sins of Ilsa' (1985): The Untold Story of Radley Metzger's Unreleased Last Film". The Rialto Report. Retrieved November 3, 2019.

Further reading

  • Cook, David A. (2002). History of the American cinema. 9. University of California Press. pp. 274–275. ISBN 0-520-23265-8.
  • Heffernan, Kevin, "A social poetics of pornography", Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Volume 15, Issue 3, December 1994, pp. 77–83. doi:10.1080/10509209409361441.
  • Lehman, Peter, Pornography: film and culture, Rutgers depth of field series, Rutgers University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8135-3871-8.
  • Williams, Linda, Hard core: power, pleasure, and the "frenzy of the visible", University of California Press, 1999, ISBN 0-520-21943-0.
Barbara Broadcast (04:09); Camille 2000 (02:23);
Lickerish Quartet (02:45); Misty Beethoven (03:01);
Pamela Mann (02:55); Score (03:38); The Image (11:07)
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