Emanuelle in Bangkok, Sister Emanuelle & Emanuelle Around the World – DVD Review

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Laura Gemser is the Katherine Hepburn of Eurotique cinema. For the SAT inclined: Gemser is to Cinemax After Dark as Hepburn is to Turner Classic Movies. Before cable, Gemser’s Emanuelle movies were the feature attraction at any decrepit theater with mildew on the screen, slime sticking to the shag carpeted aisles and more than golden flavor dripping on the popcorn. It’s nearly impossible to figure out how many Emanuelle flicks she really made. Long as Gemser held a camera and dropped her dress, a distributor eventually retitled her latest film as Emanuelle Goes to….. The actress from Indonesia conquered the grindhouse with an innocent beauty, a tight body and the ability to be charming during the most disturbing graphic scenes. Gemser became more than a cinematic icon. She’s a fetish for many viewers. Emanuelle Around the World, Sister Emanuelle and Emanuelle in Bangkok were previously issued in the Black Emanuelle’s Box, Volume 1. They have now been released as individual DVDs minus the bonus soundtrack CD.

Emanuelle films featured plenty of location shooting with beautiful views between the X-rated debaucheries. They didn’t merely mix in b-roll footage with rear projected soundstage action. These were the dirtiest travel specials ever made. This is the world journey show that Anthony Bourdain wishes he could make if he had Gemser as his trip companion.

Emanuelle in Bangkok is almost a redundant title since the original Emmanuelle takes place in Thailand. It’d be like CBS touting a new show called C.S.I.: Las Vegas. But this is a completely different heroine without that extra “m” in her name like Sylvia Kristel’s Emmanuelle. Emanuelle needed to discover the forbidden sexual pleasures of Southeast Asia for herself. This film established Gemser’s Siamese cinema cred. Emanuelle gets the assignment to interview the King of Thailand. She drags along her latest man, an archaeologist that isn’t an Indiana Jones clone. Turns out the King is a tough interview so Emanuelle has to kill time. She uses these waiting hours to pour on loads of sex with her boyfriend and a lesbian fling with a local masseur.

Proving her journalistic skills, Emanuelle covers an authentic cockfight. Later that night she takes in ping-pong ball action at a stripclub. To wrap up the fun, she and her friends smoke a little opium. This leads to a drugged up orgy where only the ladies get naked. There’s more educational nature moments when a mongoose tackles a king cobra. It’s the footage the Bangkok Tourist Board really doesn’t want you to see.

The action doesn’t take place completely in Bangkok. There’s political upheaval that leads to Emanuelle getting gang-banged by thugs. She splits the country for Casablanca. Her man is working an archaeological site, but he’s more enthused burying his bone than digging them up. Emanuelle gets more girl-girl love when she hooks up with an ambassador’s daughter. There’s a plot underneath all the naked flesh that fills the screen, but why look so deep? Emanuelle in Bangkok is a good introduction to the series. Gemser’s talents are on full display.

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Fans of Nunspolitation will be thrilled to see Gemser don the wimple in Sister Emanuelle. Turns out that she’s gotten sick of getting boffed around the world. She wants to be pure again. She flees to a convent to hide herself away from the sins of the flesh. Instead of being stuck in the cloisters, she works with wayward girls. She’s sent to pick up Monica. This wild child would have gotten her own week on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show. Turns out the gal upset her dad by having a hot lesbian romance with her new stepmom. She doesn’t get calmed down at the convent. She’s pure temptation to Emanuelle. Will she resist and keep the habit from sizzling off her hot body? If the nuns at my old high school looked like Gemser, who wouldn’t beg to feel the ruler on their knuckles.

The footage of the stepmom and dirty daughter shows reminds us how wrong their relationship is. These two go at it hard and long without caring when daddy is due home. Monica wears out her new parental unit like aerobics instructor on meth. There’s nothing left for dad to enjoy when he’s ready to enjoy his upgraded wife. You can’t blame him for calling the penguins to save his second marriage. Converting the daughter into a chaste teen might be the greatest challenge for Emanuelle. Although the viewers aren’t rooting too hard for the carnality to cease. Far as the level of nasty sex and violence, Sister Emanuelle is rather tame although very far from being acceptable entertainment at the Vatican City Film Festival. This isn’t The Flying Nun. This is top quality nunsploiation.

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Emanuelle Around the World is a bad first date movie. This contains the pure wickedness we’ve come to expect from the series. Emanuelle wants to do a story on women sold into sex slavery. Instead her editor demands she interview an Indian Love Guru. This mystic man allegedly has discovered the ultimate orgasm. That’s a story that sells newspapers. She gets a gander at his giant orgy room on his estate. He has adoring students paying big bucks to learn his technique. There’s even a class for ladies to share their dildos. Emanuelle realizes the guru is a perverted fraud. She wants a real story. A friend describes how American women touring Europe are kidnapped and sold to Arab sheiks to fatten up their harems. This is the professional investigative report that a true journalist must pursue. Emanuelle is on it. While the film’s characters want to rail against the sexual exploitation of women, the movie is pure sexploitation. Emanuelle goes undercover to be victimized by these slavers. She joins a group of women that are drugged, blindfolded and forced to have sex with a disfigured guy in Rome. This turns out to be the light ugliness of the film.

Later we’re given a gruesome bestiality moment in Hong Kong and a hobo gangbang in New York City. There’s a XXX version of the film on a barebones DVD release if you need more hardcore action. How much German Shepherd lovin’ do you need? Don’t answer that out loud. Emanuelle Around the World is the degenerate, kinky violence cinema expected from the series.

Has any major reporter been inspired into a career of a photojournalism after watching Laura Gemser track down a story? There’s got to be at least one woman working at Fox News that uses Emanuelle as role model for pursuing the truth.

While fans of the series will want to get the Black Emanuelle’s Box, Volume 1, offering the titles separately allows a curious viewer to explore without being overwhelmed. If you just want the light Cinemax After Dark fun, you’d be better off with Emanuelle In Bangkok. Anyone that has turned their Catholic guilt into a fetish will appreciate Sister Emanuelle. The viewer who wants to show and amaze his drinking buddies can’t go wrong with Emanuelle Around The World. No matter which one you pick, the magic of Laura Gemser shines through the tawdry images. She’s always a gleaming Sin-ema star.

All three films are presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic transfers. The image quality is good with the occasional scratch or dust. But nothing that looks like the floor of the movie houses that showed these epics. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. The levels are fine, but the audio isn’t quite as crisp in certain sections. But who is listening to the dialogue? They also feature the Italian dub tracks for purists. The subtitles are in English.

Emanuelle in Bangkok trailer (1:31) has plenty of hand holding close ups. The producers want us to think this is a touching movie.

Joe D’Amato at Eurofest (12:00) is one of the director’s final appearances from 1995. It’s a packed house he addresses from the stage. He lets us know that the extreme naughty cuts of the Emanuelle films were exhibited in France.

Sister Emmanuelle trailer (3:43) reminds us what sort of sins will need to be forgiven. This is not your normal religious movie.

Sister Emmanuelle Deleted Scenes has four moments that were snipped. They have found these clips on a video source. “The Train Scene” has a graphic oral sex scene inserted. “The Stepmom Scene” has the ladies share a banana in the bedroom.

Emmanuelle Around the World trailer (2:27) lets us know there’s plenty of nudity as she travels the globe.

Black Emmanuelle’s Groove (13:52) is an interview with composer Nico Fidenco. Since he speaks Italian, you’ll be reading his answers. He talks about the influence Dimitri Tiomkin on Italian soundtracks. He’s not a fan of always going with the full blown orchestra. He shares his LP collection of Emmanuelle soundtracks.

These three films would be so disgusting if Laura Gemser wasn’t such a knock-out beauty on the screen. She reminds us that no matter where you go in the world, you can get laid.

Severin Video presents Emanuelle In Bangkok. Starring Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti and Ely Galleani. Directed by Joe D’Amato. Running Time: 92 minutes. Not Rated. Theatrical release: November 1977. Released on DVD: April 29, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.

Severin Home Video presents Sister Emanuelle. Starring Laura Gemser, Monica Zanchi and Gabriele Tinti. Directed by Giuseppe Vari. Not Rated. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release: August 1977. Released on DVD: April 29, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.

Severin Home Video presents Emanuelle Around the World. Starring Laura Gemser, Ivan Rassimov and Karin Schubert. Directed by Joe D’Amato. Not Rated. Running Time: 102 minutes. Theatrical release: October 1980. Released on DVD: April 29, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.