I'm not sure what's come over me but I'm beginning to actually like the Emanuelle films. Don't get me wrong - I've not suddenly found hidden depths of meaning or unplumbed pockets of brilliance in these rambling T & A movies - but I have somehow found a frame of mind in which I understand their appeal much more than when I saw them as pointless excuses for nudity and soft-core groping. This change of heart happened while watching 'Emanuelle in
Usually I would have been frustrated by the lack of any real story or forward
momentum but instead I found myself caught up in the pure sensual pleasure of
looking at beautiful women and beautiful places. I felt at ease; maybe even
comforted by the pace of the film with its essential lack of story and almost
complete absence of conflict. It soothed me... Nay, it washed over me like warm
soapy water dripping from a naked oriental massage girl. But I've gotten ahead
A few years back Severin released a series of boxed sets of the "Black Emanuelle" films and I have worked my way through them. Produced in the 1970s and '80s, they were a huge international hit quite apart from the Emmanuelle (spelled with two M's) films they were imitating and they now have a much more vocal fan base in the 21st century. Whether by accident or design the three movies I'll talk about here show Laura Gemser's Emanuelle move from lustful sex kitten to crusading journalist to penitent daughter of Christ. It's a long strange trip but I definitely enjoyed it.
The onscreen credits give the title of the first film in the set as 'Black Emanuelle En Orient' but the more common name is Emanuelle in
After a group opium smoking session at the prince's house an impromptu orgy breaks out that sees the American couple decide that maybe they weren't made for each other. And as both of them end up sleeping with Emanuelle, maybe this reporter has a vocation as marriage counselor in her future. Up until now the film has been a plotless but gorgeous travelogue of
Now I would never claim Emanuelle in
But as I advanced to the next film in the set, Emanuelle Around the World (onscreen title Le Vice Dans La Peau), I find that director Joe D'Amato (real name Aristide Massaccesi) opted for something different this time out. He decided to have not only conflict, but a story! Not necessarily a bad idea, but a funny thing happened on the way to a plot. While Emanuelle in
fun in a silly way, by injecting a serious tale of white slavery into
Emanuelle's world the tone goes from silly to stupid. While EIB was
ham-handed in its construction and character motivations (when there were any),
it didn't matter so much as we weren't being asked to take things seriously at
all. But in EATW we are confronted with all kinds of sexual cruelty
that repeatedly destroys the occasional eroticism. At best we are placed in the
arena of the drooling voyeur crudely trying to see where that banana is going
to be shoved. It’s a film at least as technically accomplished as EIB but it is
just not enjoyable in the same fashion.
The film starts with Emanuelle arriving in
After this sad encounter our feisty girl reporter decides she wants to do something important with her life and selects violence against women as her target. She travels to
Clearly emboldened by their success (and forgetting the rape, I suppose) the two reporters follow another lead to
Kong, where they dig into the Oriental white slavery market. Here
we witness more rape and some forced bestiality with a German Shepard before we
learn that an Arab emir is the true beneficiary of the slave trade. He turns
out to not be too bad a guy; in exchange for sex with both Emanuelle and Cora
he ends the white slavery ring operating out of Macau!
Is there nothing that woman's moist nether regions can't accomplish? After this
triumph Emanuelle gets a lead on a crooked politician in Washington so it's off to D.C. for another
bout of rape courtesy of a group of bums enticed by a naked girl forced to
dance before them. Once again we jump to the next day, with the cops having
arrived to fix everything and Emanuelle getting out of the situation with
little more than another rape or two. At this point the film has passed the 90
minute mark so our intrepid do-gooder sails off into the distance with Dr.
Robertson for a vacation. The End.
After the casual sexual shenanigans of Emanuelle in
So following her conversion to conscience-driven reporter it's a little easier to accept the major change the divine Ms. E makes in Sister Emanuelle. Having become disillusioned by her hedonistic lifestyle, she has entered a convent and become a nun. Trying to put her lustful past behind her, she strives to overcome her sexual desires but this is made much harder when a new student is enrolled in the convent's school. Monica (Mónica Zanchi) is a beautiful young girl forced by her rich father to attend the convent. Showing a healthy appetite for both sexes, Monica tempts Emanuelle even before the girl climbs into her bunk on the train ride to the school. The sister holds her off so she slips out to have sex with the conductor. Nymphomaniacs just want to have fun! Once at the secluded school the new student quickly seduces her prim roommate and then by pure luck finds a fleeing criminal named René (Gabriele Tinti) hiding in the woods nearby. Working her considerable charms on the bankrobbing killer, she sneaks him into the school and hides him in an unused tower. (A girl's got to have some variety in bed.) Contriving to have Sister Emanuelle find the two of them puts René in the position of forcing the nun to keep silent by threatening to kill everyone. Monica then informs Emanuelle that René wants the virginal Anna (Vinja Locatelli) brought to him, prompting the nun to offer herself instead. Monica brings Anna up to watch E and René having sex but the girls are spotted by the mute, guntoting groundskeeper. The resultant mess finally gets the lascivious girl expelled but as Sister Emanuelle drives her to meet her train a new surprise is in store.
The only movie in this set not directed by Joe D'Amato, I really enjoyed this one as it managed to have a story (if slight and ultimately shaggy-doggish) and be quite erotic without the nastiness of EATW. That Emanuelle is not the main lovely engaging in the romps is also a nice change. Mónica Zanchi steps up to the challenges of the central role quite effectively, bringing both a natural beauty and a bed full of enthusiasm to every scene. Of course it wouldn't be a Black Emanuelle film without Ms. Gemser showing off her fine form and eventually making with the horizontal bop, but the change of main feminine scenery was inspired. Having the young nympho be a conniving pain in the ass also added to the interest level, throwing a few curves that I really couldn't see coming. There is very little wasted time in Sister Emanuelle aside from the silly few minutes spent on an older nun's bladder control problem (!); the film's conclusion made me curious about the further adventures of the beautiful Emanuelle. That's something I never expected to say about this series of movies. I should mention that there is one odd moment near the end where there is obviously some footage missing... After Emanuelle strings Monica up in a barn the girl goes from fully clothed to mostly naked with a jump cut that just screams 'trimmed for content'. With all the flesh on display I wonder what might have prompted this edit?