Getting the unnecessary deluxe box treatment are three mid-'70s exploitationers sharing the name Emanuelle in the title. Emanuelle had a long and schizoid life in trash cinema history - the original series (spelled Emmanuelle and played mostly by Sylvia Kristel) and the 'Black Emanuelle' series of knock-offs, both about women who share a love of stripping naked to masturbate or have sex with anyone at any time in a matter of seconds. Laura Gemser's version, Black Emanuelle, (it's a skin color thing) is an 'investigative journalist' who mixes it up on the international scene with various baddies, but mostly has softcore sex.
Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade:
The white slave trade in this case consists of rich men bidding on nearly narcoleptic nudie cuties who will serve on their pleasingly mellow sex-farms cum high-class resorts. I gotta take the puns where I can get them, people. Suffice it to say, there's very little actual intrigue here, no peril a little sex can't help, and the worst dubbing this side of The Flying Guillotine.
Directed by Joe D'Amato, (good old Aristide Massacessi) Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade is another silly, sloppy and slap-dash affair. As production values go, yes the international locations add cache, but otherwise we're talking low-rent. Breezy but pedestrian shots betray D'Amato's skill vis-à-vis lightning fast shooting schedules - set the camera up and 'boom' you're done (unless you want to zoom in on the sex and briefly lose focus). But what kills this one is the dubbing, I'm not even sure Gemser did her own overdubs as it sounds like someone else, and most of the other voices are awful too; simpering, stupid, stereotyped and out-of-sync.
On the other hand you get a sex scene or some other form of female full-frontal nudity more than every eight-minutes, far more. Gemser is undeniably beautiful, although her bemused, thoughtful skyward glances and long, straight hair echo Marcia Brady more than Exotic Journalist. Also, she's so thin you can see her ribcage above her breasts - not so hot, I say. Luckily every other lass that doffs dress (and there are a lot) is certifiably cute, especially Ely Galleani who in the first half hour of the film shags a mechanic, showers and shags Emanuelle, has a couple of three-ways and runs naked across the veldt before disappearing from the picture. A karate-kicking transvestite, light-hearted gang-rape and Emanuelle paying passage on a fishing vessel with sex round up the catalogue of cretinous canoodling and casual sex that is the only reason to enjoy (and you will) this stupid-bad sexploitation romp.
Black Emmanuelle / White Emmanuelle:
From Fellini screenwriter Brunello Rondi (8 ½, La Dolce Vita) comes the truly disorienting pervo-soap-opera Black Emmanuelle / White Emmanuelle, a movie that takes the Emmanuelle series to a slow-burn, 'luude-fueled, weirdo-sex 'n' spectacle arena unheard of to most movie viewers.
After a three-minute, grindingly portentous opening sequence that has almost no bearing on anything, we only have to wait another 90 seconds for our first shot of gratuitous nudity. For no discernable reason Emmanuelle (now the world's most beautiful model), and her insane Svengali-like photographer Carlo (Gabriele Tinti) join a hot-momma and her two hotter daughters, a washed up old actor and a nut-case, oversexed, ascetic guru on an aimless trip through Islamic Africa to look at temples and sexually denigrate each other.
Much of the fun in store comes from Carlo, a psychotically abusive rapist / world class fashion photographer who likes to scream that Emmanuelle is a bitch while forcing her to pose nude with massacred bodies of Arab children. Emmanuelle is reasonably upset and stares pensively into the distance while winds howl and camels cackle gutturally in the background. Then Antonio (Al Cliver of Fulci fame) convinces ultra-hot Magda (the wonderfully named Ziggy Zanger, eerily looking like a mannequin) to go down on him while Vangelis-style new-age disco music pulses loudly. Ultimately Antonio hypnotizes everyone in a show-stopping slo-mo freak-out that causes Emmanuelle (Gemser) to sacrifice a goat, drinking its blood before disappearing.
Looking like a hot cross between Annie Lennox and Neve Campbell, the stunning 'White Emmanuelle' Laure (Annie Belle, with her own series of Eurosex movies) adds an entirely new level of drool-inducing weirdness and attitude, playing some undefinable, disco-dancing force for change or something. Truthfully, there's little point in trying to understand what's going on or what it means, it's best to just sit back, get a little lubricated (not necessary, but recommended) and let yourself be ravaged by the sensuous insanity.
Black Emanuelle 2:
This movie has the onscreen title Black Emanuelle No. 2, which is far more charming and descriptive than the title on the box. A charming title is one of the few things going for Black Emanuelle 2, however, a relatively daft and boring entry into the cycle.
"The sickeness (sic) that disturb (sic) me most is myself" is the Sigmund Freud quote used to start off the movie - more charm, but it's the last you'll see. For the remainder of the movie we get the usual mix of awful dubbing, performances that range from somnambulistic (Sharon Lesley as Emanuelle) to ridiculous (Angelo Infanti as Emanuelle's doctor Paul) and a plot comprised of silly melodrama, tepid sex and endless, numbing flashbacks.
With a little too much Laugh-In-style camera work for my liking, the best Black Emanuelle 2 can do is frequently uncover what can only be described as Lesley's mind-boggling chest. Otherwise, there's tons of mileage covered by principals staring intently at each other in medium shots while trying to figure out why Emanuelle doesn't remember much except how to be a tease. Was she affected by a modeling stint in the midst of a Lebanese firefight? Or was it something entirely unrelated and improbable?
Really, who cares, as the ridiculous inanitites pile on (and not in a good way). How about this exchange between Emanuelle and an oversexed psych-hospital roommate: Roommate: "That body - you're like the queen of the night ... or a panther!" Emanuelle: "Grrrr." This turns the two girls on so much that they dance naked to funk music while having an impromptu body-painting party.
I know it sounds good, but it isn't. Emanuelle 2, for all its loopy, perverted charm, is flat, tedious and barely thrilling. There are other bad movies better than this, for sure.
Box Set Final Thoughts: