Emanuelle in America (1977)

Laura Gemser stars in Joe D'Amato's notoriously sleazy Black Emanuelle film. Blue Underground USA R0 DVD.

The Film

Internationally acclaimed journalist Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) travels to Europe looking to investigate the private hareem of a wealthy tycoon where she watches a naked woman masturbate a horse named Pedro before having a sapphic encounter in a steam room. There she meets an Italian Duke, Alfredo Elvize (Gabrielle Tinti) and travels to his house in Venice where she ends up in a threesome with him and his wife before taking part in an orgy at a party they throw. Later she is sent out to a private holiday resort island where woman play for men to fulfil their ultimate desires, here she sees a couple watching a disturbing snuff film and becomes determined to find out who made it...

Emanuelle in America was the second of five Black Emanuelle films helmed by Joe D'Amato following on from the success of Laura Gemser's Black Emanuelle (1975), itself a cash-in on the globally successful French film Emmanuelle (1974). Writers Ottavio Alessi, Maria Pia Fusco and Piero Vivarelli all return from the first Emanuelle in Bangkok (1976) and the film follows on the same story with Emanuelle a globe-trotting reporter who is not afraid to disrobe in the name of investiagtive journalism. The most marked difference is the depth of sleaze that this story takes compared to its predecessor, where a relatively soft rape scene was as dark as it got. This time around we are treated to some equine masturbation and most notoriously three incredibly vivid snuff movie sequences.

Unfortunately the story itself seems to take a back seat in this entry and there doesn't seem to be much point to Emanuelle's travels - she often comes off as more of a Peeping Tom than a journalist, particularly in the resort scenes where she seems content just to take photos of people having fully consensual sex and the film appears very episodic, with no real connection between the chapters. The sleaze isn't particularly well written in either, with the infamous horse sequence just stuck in at random. The snuff movie scenes are more interesting, with Emanuelle encountering them at a holiday resort and having to track down their origin. Indeed it would have made an interesting subject for the whole film, but as it is, it seems rather tacked on and after finding the source, it is quickly forgotten. Pacing is quite slow and the film does drag in places.

Director Joe D'Amato is again in the chair and we get some of his typically well edited sex scenes, most notably in Emanuelle's steam room encounter and the large orgy scene. The hardcore sex scenes are not blatant inserts like in many films from the period, but are quite flatly directed and in the orgy scene in particular they do not gel with the creatively filmed softcore segments. The snuff movie footage is notably well made and disturbingly realistic - if snuff movies exist, this is certainly what most people would expect them to look like. In an interesting, forth-wall breaking move, he presents all of this in a very grainy and beaten-up print style, even when Emanuelle is viewing it in person, perhaps hoping to create the impression that authentic snuff movie footage was used. The beaten up print looks very realistic and is not subject to the modern computer simulated print damage. Composer Nico Fidenco is as usual on hand to provide the appropriately cheesy soundtrack, which is typical of that he provided for the rest of the series.

Laura Gemser returns once again as the gorgeous Emanuelle and is joined as in the rest of the series by real life husband Gabrielle Tinti although he gets to play an unusual good-guy role and looks surprisingly dashing. There are no other actors of note, although performances are generally strong.

Ultimately Emanuelle in America never quite gels. The softcore sex that fills much of the film contrasts with the random hardcore sequences, the latter surely being to short for hardcore sex fans to really enjoy. However, although the infamous horse-masturbation scene is surprisingly innocuous, the faux snuff-movie shots are certainly up there in the high echelons of Euro-cult sleaze and are genuinely disturbing and sickening; cause enough for recommending this movie to the sleaze fans. There are a couple of good softcore sex scenes but the film is not as erotic as some of the other Black Emanuelle titles (see Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade (1978)). For general Euro-cult fans, the film is one of the lesser entries in the series, with the storyline in particular taking a back seat.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Laura Gemser - the attractive Indonesian star who also appeared in D'Amato's Ator l'invincibile (1982) .
Directed by anyone interesting? Joe D'Amato - one of the great exploitation veterans of the Italian cinema boom he directed films in every genre from Spaghetti Western Giubbe rosse (1974) to erotica Papaya dei Caraibi (1978)
Any gore or violence? Some incredibly violent and gory "snuff movie" scenes. Extremely vivid detail and disturbingly realistic looking.
Any sex or nudity? Many scenes of female nudity and soft sex, the hardcore print contains a few minutes of male nudity with penetration and oral sex.
Who is it for? Fans of sleaze will certainly enjoy this for the snuff movie scenes alone. Of interest to fans of the series but aside from the sleazy aspects it is probably the weakest film.

See Also:
Black Emanuelle (1975) Bitto Albertini's first film - a rather loosely plotted affair that focuses mainly on a series of erotic sex scenes.
Black Emanuelle series Joe D'Amato's five film series of increasingly sleazy adventures for Laura Gemser's Emanuelle.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour
The print is strong - colours and detail are very good throughout.
Note: The snuff movie scenes use deliberately damaged print quality for effect.
Audio English, French and Italian mono - all sound fine.
Subtitles None
Extras The disc includes:
  • Interview with Joe D'Amato. Discussing the Black Emanuelle films, how he came to make them and working with Laura Gemser. Focuses mainly on this film but does touch on the others. In Italian with subtitles. 12 minutes.
  • Audio interview with Laura Gemser, a recording made in 1996. She discusses her career, in particular the films with Joe D'Amato. In Italian, with optional English subs. Plays over a selection of promo images and stills of Laura Gemser.
  • Interesting on-screen text notes on the variety of Emmanuelle spin-offs as well as detailed biographies of Laura Gemser and Joe D'Amato.
Region Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC
Other regions? Also available from Stormovie in Italy as a two disc set including the uncut film with English, German, Italian and French audio, plus an hour long documentary about D'Amato, although this is in Italian only.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut - this is the full hardcore print. The print used has English language credits.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 22nd December 2007 & 22nd November 2010.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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