Marguerite is the tart who sleeps her way up the social ladder to help Armand Duval, a commoner who happens to be her boyfriend.
‘Porn chic’ director Radley Metzger’s colorful, glamorous and arty, wide-screen Panavision, sexploitation feature (dubbed, without subtitles) was an updated, futuristic soft-core version of Alexandre Dumas’ 1852 novel “The Lady of the Camellias”, using the character’s names. Metzger’s other well-known films included Therese and Isabelle (1968), The Lickerish Quartet (1970), and Score (1976).
This steamy, highly-stylized romance was set in the year 2000 in the hedonistic world of the wealthy in the Italian Mediterranean, where straight-laced Armand Duval (Nino Castelnuovo) met sensuous, social-climbing, libertine, drug-using party girl Marguerite Gautier (Danièle Gaubert), and fell in love.
In the film’s most iconic sequence, Armand and Marguerite began to make love on her circular bed in her mostly-white bedroom. The view changed to a top, mirrored-ceiling, reflective vantage point, as the two lay motionless after kissing and making love – possibly metaphorically suggesting her duplicity.
When Armand woke up, he slithered over onto Marguerite’s naked body and began to pleasure her with oral sex. The camera began with the focus on her face only (on the left side of the screen in the background). This was juxtaposed with the view of a nearby bouquet of blooming whitish camelias (on the right side in the foreground). The two images went in and out of rack-focus – expressing her delirious, pulsating sexual response (along with the sounds of her heavy, rhythmic breathing).
Problems arose for the couple when bachelor Armand demanded a monogamous and faithful relationship from the ‘kept’, evasive and non-committal courtesan Marguerite, and he sent her a threatening message written in lipstick on another female’s naked back-side: “You are a whore! I was an idiot”; Marguerite met her end in the film’s tragic conclusion in a white hospital room within an oxygen tent.
Director: Radley Metzger