Related to Just Jaeckin's softcore classic in name only, Jess Franco's The Inconfessable Orgies Of Emmanuelle is a very pretty looking but ultimately rather vacant slice of European softcore typical of the mediocrity that the genre is often times associated with.
When the film begins, Emmanuelle has decided to settle down a bit after acting out her wildest fantasies for the last little while. She meets a man she wants to spend the rest of her life with and soon enough, the pair is married. They head off to a seaside village to enjoy one another on their honeymoon, and spend a fair bit of time making out. Later, Emmanuelle gets drunk and gets it on with a woman at a bar, and from there she learns that old habits die hard. Before you know it, she's back up to her old tricks again, and her husband is none too pleased with her return to form. She tries to make amends, but before you know it three hooligans have their way with her, reinforcing the belief that she was, is and always will be a woman of extremely loose moral standing.
There's really not a whole lot to say about The Inconfessable Orgies Of Emmanuelle as it follows the tried and true softcore formula of padding out the running time with sex and putting the plot second. As such, the film has some very obvious pacing issues as the bump and grind comes before the story. If you keep that in mind going into the picture, Franco leaves us little to complain about, but by its very nature the softcore film is, more often than not, fairly simplistic. If nothing else, Franco has made sure that his picture looks fantastic here. Lots of great scenery and some interesting set design ensures that the movie looks lush and exotic and more expensive than it probably was to make. So whilst the bulk of the film is made up of copious scenes of copulation, they're presented nicely.
In terms of the talent assembled to appear in front of the camera, Muriel Montessa is certainly easy enough on the eyes that she makes for an effectively sultry female lead. She's not the most charismatic of actresses but when she takes off her clothes she looks fantastic, and in this type of film that's really all that matters. Aside from that, everything is fairly standard here, much like the plot itself.
Those expecting Franco to purge his own demons in this film as he has on many of his better and more personal projects are bound to walk away from the picture completely disappointed as aside from a stand out scene in a wax museum, the film is vapid. It's well shot and it tightens the pants now and again as a good skin flick should but it really could have been directed by anyone with decent technical skills. Big time fans of the director's work might find more to appreciate about the picture than casual Franco-philes but even seasoned viewers will have trouble really getting into this very average and unremarkable picture.
Severin presents the film in a sterling 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that really makes the film look a whole lot better than it actually is. Color reproduction looks great, print damage is kept to a minimum and save for a little bit of grain here and there things look really clean. Detail in both the foreground and the background of the picture is nice and strong and while some scenes were obviously meant to look a little on the soft side, for the most part the image is quite strong.
Included on this disc are English and Spanish audio tracks, both presented in Dolby Digital Mono and with optional English subtitles. There's a bit of mild hiss present in a couple of spots but unless you're looking for it, odds are slim that you'll even notice. Dialogue is clean and clear and there are no problems to report with distortion or balance issues. The Spanish track plays a little more seriously than the English one does, but in terms of fidelity, there's little difference between the two, they're both fine.
Franco contributes a fine seventeen-minute on camera video interview here that allows the director to explain in his own words how this project came together and how he never liked the original Emmanuelle film in the first place. He talks about the film industry, talks about how adult performers tend to get blacklisted and sheds some light on the film's score. Franco is always an interesting guy to listen to and while not everything he says relates directly to the film at hand, at least his stories are enjoyable enough. He's a strange guy and he always makes for an interesting subject.
Aside from that, we get some animated menus and a chapter selection option.
The Inconfessable Orgies Of Emmanuelle is far from top tier Franco but it looks good and the sex is at least very well photographed. Severin's presentation is top notch and the film looks great and sounds good. Fans will want this one for the interview and to complete their collections, everyone else, rent it first.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.