August 12, 2005


What Emmanuelle achieved for soft-core gloss Emanuelle achieved for (on occasion) hard-core sleaze. Due to the success of Jaeckins movie in Europe, Italy created their very own version. To avoid bureaucracy and copyright the ‘m’ was dropped from the name and Emanuelle was created; or Emanuelle Nera to be precise. A Eurasian beauty Laura Gemser become the heroine and developed a taste for independency. Emanuelle was a freelance photographer and her missions would take her all round the planet. As her character explored new landscapes so the plots placed Em in all sorts of dodgy situations and amourous encounters.

A whole plethora of Emanuelle adventures exploded into the exploitation ether. The most notorious were the collaborative efforts between Joe D’Amato and Laura Gemser. Emanuelle in America has to be the most definitive Em movie, going just as far as you could possibly go with the character and story. This charming beast has the lot hardcore inserts, snuff movies and a (not as bad as it sounds really) bestial moment ‘tween gee-gee and strumpet. You can’t really descend any lower than that. The result is an amazing piece of trash cinema that never fails to disappoint on shocks and nasty expectations.

The ‘genre’/ exploitative versions of Em began with ‘Emanuelle Nera’ (Black Emanuele) in 1975 and continued with the equally exploitative Emanuelle Nera No.2 in 1976, directed by Alberto Albertini. In this version Gemser is replaced with the stunning and bustier Shulasmith Lasri (a.k.a Sharon Leslie) who deals with memory loss, bouts of uncontrollable nymphomania and body painting due to a vicious gang rape by a group of bikers. This cocktail of naughty-naughty will be reviewed in the future.

The films varied in content and theme, quality and concept, actress and director and most certainly budget, but despite all this they all managed to keep hold of that sleaze factor. Although I have only touched upon some of Emmanuelles’ most exciting cinema shag fests we must be aware that some are absolute crap that you need to avoid as it will be a total waste of your time. Even the most ardent Gemser fan must agree some of the vehicles for her are mind numbingly tedious and the Emanuelle moniker is used in name only for sales purposes. I am afraid to tell you that not all Emanuelle movies are of the ‘in America’ variety.

As the fictional ‘Em’ moved places cinematically so the brand travelled to various parts of the globe introducing a cosmopolitan blend of directors to the Emmanuelle/Emanuelle phenomenon. Even the oppressed Brits had their own attempts of realising their ideas about sex onto the big screen with Emmanuelle in Soho and the embarrassingly lame celluloid abortion ‘Carry on Emmanuelle’ in 1978.

Whatever class, culture or demographic Emmanuelle seems to find her niche. A role model for the liberated and an enigma for the oppressed.

On the exploitation front many of her movies are now being ducted off and will see our living room shelves courtesy of these wonderful ‘fringe’ cinema DVD labels. Forthcoming is the Black Emanuelle box set to compliment the first one containing all three ‘original’ Emmanuelle films.
It will be a long time before we see all Emanuelles’ incarnations on DVD and especially in a pristine format but until then make do with what’s out there. I make no recommendations or avoidances as the weird, wild world of Emmanuelle has something in store for most tastes and fantasies, she’s dieing to meet you.

Emmanuellography / Emanuellography

I have tried to list as much info on the Emmanuelle/Emanuelle phenomenon as possible but this list is nowhere near exhaustive. The ‘Em’ brand is still going strong today, the ones listed are the ones you have access to or are frequently referred to more than others. If of special interest will denote *. I will try to get round to viewing as many as I possibly can and will be a joy doing so.

The Tender and Perverse Years

1967 Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan (Maryat Rollet-Adriane) published in France*

1971 Emmanuelle published stateside.

1969 Io, Emmanuelle – Erika Blanc (Italy)

1973 Emmanuelle – Sylvia Kristel (France)

1973 Tender and Perverse Emmanuelle – Norma Castell (France)

Emanuelles’/Emanuelles’ Belle Époque

1975 Emmanuelle 2 – Sylvia Kristel (France)

1975 Emanuelle Nera – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1975 Forever Emmanuelle – Annie Belle (Italy/France)*
*Directed by Emmanuelle Arsan. The movie is also known as Laure.

1976 Emanuelle Nera No.2 – Sharon Leslie (Italy)

1976 Emanuelle in Bangkok – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1976 Emanuelle on Taboo Island – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1976 Emanuelles’ Revenge – Rosemarie Lindt (Italy)*
*Also commonly known as ‘Blood Vengeance’

1976 Emanuele Bianca e Nera – Malisa Longo & Rita Manna (Italy)*
*Not to be muddled with Black Emanuelle, White Emanuelle, this movie is supposed to have Emanuelle having many a dalliance at the time of the plantations and slavery, would love to see it but would imagine it to be a rare beauty.

1976 Yellow Emanuelle – Chai Lee (Italy)

1976 Emanuelle in Tokyo – Katsunori Hirose (Japan)

1976 Nea, a Young Emmanuelle – Ann Zucharias (France)

1977 Goodbye, Emmanuelle (Emmanuelle 3) – Sylvia Kristel (France)

1977 Emanuelle in America – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1977 Emanuelle around the World – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1977 Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1977 Sister Emanuelle – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1978 Emanuelle & the White Slave Trade – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1978 Emanuelle in the Country – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1978 Emanuelle the Seductress – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1979 Emanuelle Queen of Sados – Laura Gemser (Greece)

Emanuelles’/Emanueles’ Departure

1981 Emanuelle in Soho – Angie Quick (G.B)

1982 Emanuelle Queen of the Desert – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1982 Emanuelle Reports from a Womens Prison – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1983 Emanuelle in Prison – Laura Gemser (Italy)

1983 Unleashed Perversions of Emanuelle – Laura Gemser (Italy)*
*Not a unique Emanuelle film but a rehash of Gemsers’ previous outings with a narrative chucked in for good measure.


Was Emmanuelle a real person? Well yes, she was and as far as I know still is, of sorts.

Maryat Rollet-Adriane is in fact the original Emmanuelle. Rollet-Adriane was the wife of a French diplomat at UNESCO. She joined him at his diplomat posting in Bangkok, Thailand.

‘Emmanuelle’ published in 1967, echoes the reality, Rollet-Adrianes’ story is a lavish sexually charged expedition as a young wife Emanuelle, journeys from Paris to Bangkok to be with her husband. When she arrives he encourages her propensity for an erotic odyssey. Rollet-Adriane wrote under the pseudonym Emmanuelle Arsan. The book was so explicit that it was banned in France and consequently because of this became a bestseller.

In 1969, Emmanuelle fever kissed Europe fleetingly and the innovative Italian film industry cast euro scream queen Erica Blanc as the titular femme-fatale in ‘Io, Emmanuelle’ (u.k title ‘A Man for Emmanuelle’). From what I have read about the movie most is indicative that this is just a tepid drama from the director Cesare Canevari he went on to direct the notorious ‘sadiconazista’ classic ‘The Gestapos Last Orgy’ in 1977.

1971 saw ‘Emmanuelle’ first published in America, the simple tale of sexual awakening and heady eurotica meant that after a bit of a hit and miss start Emmanuelle became trendy again. This also fell into place at a time of new liberalisation and freedom sexually and politically, Emmanuelle could not have made a better timed entrance.

France 1973, Just Jaeckin directed softcores answer to hardcores ‘Deep Throat’, ‘Emmanuelle’ became a box office smash. Classic romance met sensual burlesque, Emmanuelle the movie was a liberated view of pure sexual impulse. The cinematography is stunning taking and milking all it can get from the Thai landscapes and the Thai culture from the topaz paradise of fertile vegetation to the sweat and steam rawness of the claustrophobic opium dens, we share all this.

Emmanuelle was massive in Europe and Stateside and boosted ‘porn chic’ to new dizzy heights and made it accessible to the mainstream that lapped it up. It spawned numerous sequels and despite the dampening of hype still continued to chug along proving lucrative. Sylvia Kristel pops up now and again to remind us of the Emmanuelle brands pioneering beginnings with her at the helm.

The video boom of the 1980’s ensured Emmanuelles transition from the big screen to the small one was smooth and lucrative once more. From VCR to cable Emmanuelle gets about a bit.

Maryat Rollet-Adriane re-invented herself by emphasising the erotic and stifling the mundane and became an icon of the cottage industry of soft-core porn.

It’s what was going on in the seedy realms of exploitation that was and is, retrospectively, the most fascinating.....................