Monday, April 18, 2011

Emanuelle in America (Joe D'Amato, 1977)

Her home is America, and her currency, well, you could say she pays her way by liberally employing the jagged peeks and caramel valleys of her slender yet racially complex frame. Of course, she doesn't purchase items like groceries or film for her camera using this flesh-based form of currency, that would be silly. But everything else she desires is pretty much paid for in this unorthodox manner. You could say the super-tight confines of her sugary sweet vaginal expanse is the only thing keeping the world's economy from collapsing. (Just for the record: I won't be saying that, as I don't want to come off as a creep.) Anyway, welcome to the sensual world of Emanuelle in America (a.k.a. Black Emanuelle - Stunden Wilder Lust), just one seedy, polyurethane spoke in a tawdry series of films about a jet-setting woman named Emanuelle, a New York fashion photographer/freelance journalist/disrobing expert. Keen observers will notice that her name seems to be missing an 'm' (the name "Emanuelle" is usually spelled with two 'm's'). Well, that's not an error on my part, as this film isn't about Emmanuelle, the wide-eyed focus of Just Jaeckin's classic about a naive young woman's erotic adventures in far off corners of the globe. No way, man, this film is about Emanuelle, and, like its French counterpart, it explores the limits of mutual debasement and sexual desire, but it's more perverted, much darker, and, most importantly, it's directed by Joe D'Amato (Beyond the Darkness) and it's Italian.

What I liked about Emanuelle compared to Emmanuelle is that she seemed to do stuff. What I mean is she's not content to squeak by on her good looks. This Emanuelle (Laura Gemser), a fashion photographer and freelance journalist, approaches both jobs with a fiery passion. The latter in particular, as it requires her to throw herself headfirst, or, in most cases, cuntfirst, into all sorts of dangerous and lascivious situations. Equipped only with a tiny camera she hides inside a gaudy necklace, her svelte frame (which I'm sure tastes like freshly squeezed molasses on the morning of your gothic bat mitzvah), and a figurative goblet filled to the brim with moxie, Emanuelle uses her connections to get the dish on all kinds of shady business.

Sometimes, the shadiness finds her, as is the case with Tony (Giulio Bianchi), the virginal boyfriend of Janet (Stefania Nocilli), one of Emanuelle's favourite models. Sticking a gun in her face (he was hiding in the backseat of her car), Tony blames Emanuelle for the all the ills of society ("All you know about is sex!"). Quick thinking and an impromptu blow job get Emanuelle out of the sticky ordeal, one that, surprisingly, left her not that sticky (Tony runs away before Emanuelle could finish the job). This, it should be pointed out, is the first instance where Emanuelle utilizes her main weapon of choice, which is: Sex.

After obtaining a tip from a boxer named Joe (Efrem Appel)–her go-to guy for info–Emanuelle joins a harem in the suburbs. Hoping to expose an illicit den of sexual slavery, Emanuelle is given a fancy gold bracelet and a red thong with an astrological sign emblazoned in gold on the crotch (Emanuelle is pretending to be "Virgo"). "Working" for Eric van Darren (Lars Bloch), some rich asshole who thinks he can buy anything, Emanuelle snoops around his spacious compound looking for any signs of illegality (she puts a small camera inside her complimentary bracelet). After she's done snooping, she meets the dapper Alfredo Elvize, Duke of Mount Elba (Gabriele Tinti), that's right, a Duke. Impressed with her prowess as a poker dice player, the Duke invites Emanuelle to come to Venice. Of course, she first has to get a swimming pool lesbian threeway ("the water is like chicken soup"), make a fool out of Eric van Darren, engage in some steam room sex with Gemini (Lorraine De Selle), and watch Pedro the horse get a human handjob out of the way, but the next thing you know, she's on a plane and off to Italy.

Arriving in Venice, Emanuelle immediately gets involved with yet another threeway, this time with the Duke and his gorgeous wife Laura (the tantalizing Paola Senatore), a woman with the world's most succulent thighs. When she realizes her body is no longer needed to sustain the momentum of the threesome, Emanuelle gets up, puts on her robe (one of the few instances where she is seen putting on clothes), and proceeds to do what does best, and that is, poking around in other people's business–and, of course, have sex against a door (while a symphony rehearse twenty feet away) with Bill (Riccardo Salvino), her playboy boyfriend (aww, he flew in from New York just to straddle her in public).

While attending a chic banquet being thrown by Alfredo and Laura, Emanuelle witnesses an orgy that transpires, funny enough, after an elderly senator finds a golden peanut wedged in his slice of cake. You see, whoever finds the golden peanut wins the entire cake. I know, it doesn't sound like much of a prize. I mean, really, who needs that much cake? But underneath all that flour and frosting awaits a surprise, a sexy, naked surprise. Sitting cross-legged and wearing nothing but creamy layer of icing, the senator grabs his prize by the hand (a young woman whose face practically screamed undignified bemusement), and proceeds to lick her body with a reckless form of abandon. As you would expect, the man's aggressive tongue work on the cake lady seems to send the crowd into a bit of a frenzy, as they all start tearing their clothes off.

I'm telling you, never has the sight of multiple clumps of thick pubic hair being forcibly freed from their fabric prisons seemed so electrifying than it does during the Venetian orgy that takes place in Emanuelle in America–and, believe me, I've seen plenty of forced freedom over the years. The way underwear is clawed at in this movie (mostly by tuxedo-wearing letches, but even Emanuelle gets into the pantie-ripping act later on) made me wish I had a hairy pussy in 1970s. The sensation of owning a hirsute undercarriage must be like having a second head of hair, only its appearance is a well-guarded secret. Speaking of which, on top of having the best thighs this side of Kamloops, I liked how the colour of Paola Senatore's fuzzy pleasure triangle didn't even come close to matching the colour of the bundled clump sitting atop her pretty little head. It was like she had two separate personalities: one for genteel social functions, and one for hot, crotch compromising sex.

During the banquet, Emanuelle notices a suave, yet dim-looking blonde man wearing a collar with the number five on it. Before she can ask him about the collar, his piercing eyes smouldering with a musky brand of indifference, a female party guest in a light blue see-through top (the alluring Gota Gobert) interrupts her and claims ownership of the blonde man. That's right, she owns his hunky ass–by the way, I would kill to be Gota's boy-toy. This leads to Emanuelle's next stop, an island in the Caribbean that allows single ladies to secure their weekly (or daily, depending on the their level of randiness) allotment of cock in a tropical environment. Run by Diana (Maria Piera Regoli), a closeted lesbian who has a love/hate relationship with penis-shaped finger food, Emanuelle manages to weasel her way onto the grounds of the exclusive resort and starts taking snaps with her trusty necklace camera.

If they ever decide to make Emanuelle in America action figures, I just want to let it be known that I would be the first in line to purchase the figure based on Gigolo #5.

As the ladies are sizing up the guys on the menu, I couldn't help but notice that one of them says," fan-fucking-tastic," while commenting on the quality of the man meat parading in front of them. Call me grossly unaware of such things, but I had no idea people were slipping the word "fucking" into the middle of their adjectives in the mid-1970s (I know for a fact that the junkie played by Stanley Knapp in Liquid Sky says, "abso-fucking-lutely," but that was in 1982). At any rate, I was like, what did she say? Forget about realistic snuff film footage and horse stable stroke jobs, the most shocking aspect of Emanuelle in America was the expletive infixation used by the horny woman during the gigolo pageant.

Snuff film footage, you say? While Emanuelle with one 'm' is taking pictures, she comes across a room where two people who are getting it on (no surprise here, as the entire resort has turned into one giant fuck fest), but off to side she notices a disturbing movie being projected onto a screen. Depicting some of the most ghastly acts I have ever seen captured on film (and don't forget, my eyes have seen the Jessica Simpson vehicle/toothbrush ad, Blonde Ambition), the grainy film shows a bunch of sweaty men in military uniforms brutally torturing and sexually assaulting naked women in a warehouse setting.

A quick show of hands, how many people didn't care for the way Rick 'Ercolino' Martino presented his load as "Gigolo in Beach Hut" in Emanuelle in America? One, two, three, four, wow, that's what I thought. Feel free to call me a wad snob, but the expedient manner in which my toothpaste squirts out of its tube is more robust than his drippy excuse for an orgasm.

When she gets back to New York, Emanuelle is determined to find out where the disturbing film she saw was made. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, depending on your level of cynicism, Emanuelle ends up in Washington, D.C. where she hooks up with a politician (Roger Browne) who gets off on snuff films. Now up until this point, I wasn't sure if this was a Joe D'Amato film. After all, where was the all sick and twisted gore? However, the moment the snuff film footage (sliced up to make it look even more realistic) started to play on that dinky screen was when I realized that this was in fact a Joe D'Amato film.

Wasn't the horse tugjob scene a clear indicator of who directed this film? Yes and no. Yes, it's an extreme moment, but there was no horse climax. Anyway, when I saw that she was only going to be using her hands on Pedro's black and pink equine member, I was quite relieved. I'm not a big fan of bestiality. On the other hand, I am a big fan of 1970s interior design, and everything in Emanuelle's apartment, from the orange throw pillows to the fern leaf curtains, was to die for. I don't drink and I don't smoke (I prefer green tea and the movie Teen Witch), but I do want a coffee table that looked like a giant pack of Marlboro cigarettes and contained a fully-stocked wet bar. In addition, the erotic artwork seen throughout the film was breathtakingly vulgar.

In closing, you gotta love a film that opens with its protagonist shooting a bunch of models posing on a motorcycle in striped socks mixed with shots of them walking the streets of Manhattan in a white leisure suit (which, I must say, looked amazing against Laura Gemser's skin). If only more movies had the wherewithal to start off like this, the film world would be a much sexier place, especially if the fabulous music of Nico Fidenco is playing on the film's killer soundtrack (the "Emanuelle in America Theme" is a sensational piece of music). But I'm afraid the art of titillation is dead. Topless women in thigh-high striped socks being photographed on motorcycles, their untamed swathes of hearty pubic hair mocking the shaving industry with every playful pelvic thrust, is no longer chic. Nothing is allowed to be sexy anymore. Sure, I could have done without the emasculating unpleasantness of the horse scene and the nipple slicing excesses of the snuff footage (the ending could have used some tweaking as well), but nothing beats the sight of a strong, sexually liberated woman traveling the world in designer threads and exposing wrongdoings at every turn.

video uploaded by JohnnyStanwyck


  1. Great post. The amazing mocha-nippled Miss Gemser was the stuff of my Cinemax-fueled junior high-era fantasies and probably the reason I tend toward the "darker" end of the spectrum with women today. (Sorry, blondies.)

    Oh, and the first insertion of "fucking" in the middle of words that I recall was from a gritty little Dustin Hoffman crime flick called Straight Time (1978) in which (I believe) Harry Dean Stanton's character gives terms such as "un-fucking-professional" an airing.

  2. Uh, okay...
    So, how about the Canadian election? I've been glued to my satellite radio, listening to CBC radio. I even listened to the debate! :D

    And I love the ads:


  3. @Scott Is NOT A Professional: Thanks.

    I like the expression "mocha-nippled."

    "Un-fucking-professional" sounds like something Mr. Pink from Reservoir Dogs might say.

    @Karim Amir: Funny, I was gonna ask if you were gonna vote or not.

    By the way, you should totally be eligible to vote. After all, you know who Nash the Slash is.

    Wait, you listened to the debate?!? What the... If so, then you should definitely be able to vote (I watched the "highlights").

    Michael Ignatieff, "he can also lift things." Well, I'm sold. :D

  4. Funny you mention Tarantino in relation to Straight Time.

    It was based on the novel No Beast So Fierce by Edward Bunker, who of course played Mr. Blue in Dogs and has a cameo here. It was one of the movies that Tarantino and his DP sat down and watched in preparation for Jackie Brown, to get that "grimy '70s crime" thing down.

    And, given that it involves knockabout L.A. career thieves who hit jewelry stores, it's a safe bet that it was one of the ingredients in that stew of influence on Dogs.

  5. Dude, there was a Some Kind of Wonderful Jeopardy! clue!

    Yes, I'd totally like to vote.

    dissent was asking why you're reviewing Emmanuelle films. :D Silly dissent. The movie with the dancing Cream of Wheat guy was much weirder. :)

  6. @Scott Is NOT A Professional: What a weird coincidence. I just happened to think of Mr. Pink because Steve Buscemi has been known to play characters who not only curse a lot, but do so in a semi-creative manner.

    @Karim Amir: What the f? Damn, I must have missed it (I always seem to miss the first five minutes of the show). I did, however, did get the George Stephanopoulos clue right (he is totally married to Alexandra Wentworth).

    Why?!? Hmm, I wasn't planning on watching/reviewing any other Emanuelle flicks (despite the fact that Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals looks wonderfully awful). Does dissent want to recommend something? ;)

    Oh, and, yeah, blowing a dancing box of Cream of Wheat is way weirder than giving a horse a handjob.

  7. I would just like to mention that in Richard Attenborough's 1978 film, "Magic," Anthony Hopkins as the ventriloquist dummy Fats not inserts "fucking" into words several times, but also uses the phrase "Abso-fucking-lutely fan-fucking-tastic!" at one point.

  8. Some say it was Magic. Some say Straight Time. I'll leave it to greater minds than my own to sort that one out. But let's not forget the most important lesson of all here: Laura Gemser and her ribcage changed my life.

    That is all.

  9. "freshly squeezed molasses on the morning of your gothic bat mitzvah"


  10. Excellent article! Glad my video upload came in handy for you! I stumbled on your blog while researching my own, and I'm very impressed, really digging your style!

  11. While I occasionally tend to disagree with some of the opinions voiced in your reviews, there's no argument that you're a wizard with words. Time and time again I find myself drawn to the house of self-indulgence craving some more of that fabulous, chic and tongue-in-cheek prose of yours. Congratulations!

  12. Thanks for dropping by the Emmanuelle in America entry. Not to toot my own instrument, but it's one of my fave reviews.