Pathfinder Pictures released a series of 3-D movies on DVD, and Blonde Emmanuelle is the latest entry in that run. Originally a hard core porno movie entitled Disco Dolls in Hot Skin, (among other names) this movie was reedited for the soft core market and retiled somewhere along the way.
WARNING: Being a soft core porn movie, there is a lot of sex in this movie. Every few minutes someone is jumping in bed with someone else. There nudity is all above the waist, and no genitalia are shown, but there are very explicit situations, including an orgy and lesbian scenes.
The 3-D effects in Blonde Emmanuelle are created by making the viewer wear a pair of glasses that have different colored lenses, the right one is red an left one is blue. Two color coded images that are only slightly different are displayed. The colored lens filters out some of the information, so your left eye and right eye see different images. This creates an illusion of 3-D. Or at least it is supposed to.
So, how did it work? The short answer was that it didn't. I had a LOT of trouble seeing any 3-D effects. The introduction to the movie says that the hue and tint on your set might need to be adjusted to get the full effect. I played around with my televisions setting, and the lighting in the room for a full half an hour! In the end, I left the parameters on the least annoying settings, but still didn't get much of a stereoscopic effect. The picture was very blurry and the whole movie looked dark, and that was at the best settings.
Blonde Emmanuelle pretends to be an erotic retelling of Casablanca, but the similarities are slight. The main character, played by porn standard William Margold owns a bar that is also a bordello. An old girlfriend asks to borrow some money, and he turns her down. Soon after he gets a visit from some muscled goons. Then there is an orgy scene, where a girl eats a mysterious note left under a piano. If this doesn't make a lot of sense, don't worry, neither does the rest of the movie. There is a lot of sex, and not a lot of plot.
This movie's main claim to fame, aside from being a 3-D porno film, is that it has an appearance by John Holmes, the man that Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights was based on. John is only in one scene, and you don't get to see his immense talent, so I don't think the DVD is worth getting just for him, but his appearance is a nice bonus.
There are some mildly humorous and campy moments in the movie (most unintentional,) but overall this didn't do much for me. Since it was intended as a hard core sex show, having a strong plot wasn't the main thrust (no pun intended) behind movie. The acting was very wooden of course, and the production values almost nonexistent. Still, it is an interesting slice of movie history in a way.
The audio is not that great. The two channel mix has a fair amount of hiss throughout the movie, and there are is a lot of distortion too. Granted this film is twenty five years old, but I was expecting much better.
The letterboxed 2.35:1 picture is not that great either. The colors were faded and muted, and the there was some print damage. The whole film was dark, and the contrast wasn't what it should have been. An average transfer from a poor print.
This disc is packed with extras. I was really surprised by how much they put on this DVD. The most exciting extras was the commentary by star William Margold. Margold has been working in the porn industry in one capacity or another since the 70's, and he knows it inside and out. His comments about the making of the film and the state of the porn industry in the 70's was very interesting. He does run out of things to say at points, but he always picks up again. Some of his comments are fairly astounding. My jaw was on the floor after he made his assertion that HIV is not as lethal as people are led to believe. (If it was, all of the porn industry would be dead by now, or so he claims.) He also questions whether that was the reason John Holmes died. He's not considered a controversial character for nothing.
There is also a 20 minute short entitled Margold's World that examines three for charity porn related events he sponsored over a three day period. There was an adult film star car wash, a topless bowling night, and a "Spanking Censorship" night at a bar where porn stars auctioned off their underwear and were paddled. It was not as engaging as I was hoping, focusing more on the actresses rather than on William himself. Worth watching though.
There is also a 2-D photo gallery of production stills and a trailer
for the film, in addition to the two pairs of 3-D glasses.
An amusing part of film history, Blonde Emmanuelle may have been better in the original hard core version, but then again, maybe not. I can't think of it having any less of a plot than it does now. I had a horrible time getting the 3-D effects to work, and eventually gave up. Since that's the main reason someone would want this DVD, I'll have to recommend that you skip it.