While all of adult film auteur Radley Metzger’s soft and hardcore films bear his unmistakable stamp of elegance, only The Opening of Misty Beethoven broke the XXX mold and earned respected as a well made film which happened to contain actual sex. Thanks to a witty script, deft perforamances (yes, everyone here can act), striking sets, and continental locales, this is one for the time capsule.
While cruising the red light district of Paris, bestselling author and sex expert Seymour Love (Jamie Gillis) finds his adult film viewing (at a theater showing the French classic, Pussy Talk!) interrupted by a crass hooker, Misty Beethoven (Constance Money), who offers to take out for a quick, good time for fifty dollars. Seymour agrees and begins to quiz the enterprising but unappealing Misty about her lack of experience. Striking up a bet with his partner Geraldine (terrific one shot wonder Jacqueline Beaudant), Seymour wagers he can turn Misty into the toast of the town as the revered Golden Rod Girl at the next high society party thrown by vain magazine publisher Lawrence Layman (Ras Kean) and his wife (Gloria Leonard). Seymour, Geraldine, and Misty jet off to New York, where he instructs his pupil in the arts of pleasure and sends her out to build her reputation with a variety of men, including a mostly gay art dealer played by Score’s Calvin Culver. As Misty’s fame spreads, Seymour’s arrogance conceals a growing attraction to his ugly duckling.. but can he still have her?
As most lit students will recognize from the above description, The Opening of Misty Beethoven is actually a thinly disguised retelling of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, also musicalized as My Fair Lady. Metzger had already experimented with sexy literary twists on Carmen and Camille, but this proved to be his most radical and critically successful attempt yet. The impeccable soundtrack of Euro lounge and pop music (culled from library tracks) and tastefully chosen locations (art galleries, opera theaters) establish just the right touch of playfulness, though the sex itself remains graphic and raunchy enough to satisfy the raincoat crowd. In fact, the satirical tone allows Metzger to get away with slipping in an amazing number of taboo images involving senior citizens, strap ons, and cross dressing, among other —mondo-digital.com
Radley Metzger was born in New York and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of the City of New York where he attended their film Institute. His Master of Arts studies at Columbia University were interrupted by induction into the United States Air Force where he served as a senior film editor working on training and propaganda films.
Upon release, he entered the motion picture industry as a film editor, joining the nascent foreign film community in New York.
Among his assignments were working with Jean Renoir, adapting his French Can-Can for American release.
While employed by Janus Films (now The Criterion Collection) he created the trailers and English versions of the films of Francois Truffaut, Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman.
His entry into feature film directing was “Dark Odyssey”, a study of a young Greek boy bent on avenging his sister’s honor, whose classic Greek culture impacts tragically with the Greek-American society… read more
Many people claim this is one of the best adult films of all-time and I don't understand why. It has its moments, and a great soundtrack, but I think it's really overrated. The story just doesn't work for me – I've never been terribly fond of My Fair Lady-type movies – and the sex scenes were passionless for the most part. It's nowhere near the quality of a film like The Devil in Miss Jones, for instance.