Monday, 12 March 2012

Black Emanuelle 2

Despite the success of Black Emanuelle, director Bitto Albertini was not chosen to helm the follow-up. Laura Gemser had been spirited away to take the titular role in Emanuelle In Bangkok, the first of a series of Emanuelle films directed by Joe D'Amato, which more of less forms the backbone of the official Black Emanuelle series. Not to be outdone, Albertini forged ahead with a rival production, Black Emanuelle No. 2 (as it's known on the English-language print), and cast model Shulamith Lasri as his new heroine. The result was a Black Emanuelle film in name only as Albertini ditched the bohemian, sexually voracious Emanuelle of the previous film for something much more different...

In the film, Emanuelle is under the care Dr. Paul, a psychiatrist determined to find the cause of Emanuelle's violent distaste for sexual contact, and her increasingly fragmented psyche. Paul investigates Emanuelle's past and uncovers a cataclysmic event responsible for her disturbed state of mind... The odd man out of the series, Black Emanuelle No. 2 is best compared with the third Halloween film, Season of the Witch and it's attempt to break away from the previous films, and perhaps Albertini felt similarly, in the wake of Gemser's departure. Watching the film in close succession with the previous installment, the tonal shift is even more conspicuous. While the original film quite readily dispensed with the pretensions, Black Emanuelle No. 2 is a busy, sometimes incoherent mix of flashbacks and imaginary episodes, some of which work, like the film's genuinely disorientating opening sequence; while other fail, like a cringe worthy scene where Emanuelle remembers her father as a drunken bum on the corner of skid row.

The problem with Black Emanuelle No. 2 is that Albertini dispensed with all the elements that made the first film a success. Here the director forgoes exotic visuals in favour of some well trodden New York locations (which inadvertently makes the film look like a Blaxploitation number), with Albertini constantly shooting his actors against the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty or Rockefeller Center. It's quite a stage bound film as well, much of the story takes place at Dr. Paul's clinic whose residents seemingly add up to two Shock Corridor-style patients, a crazy general and a woman who walks a toy dog. Aggravating that is Gemser's absence from the film. Her stand-in, the dour-faced Shulamith Lasri as Emanuelle, simply doesn't cut it, despite being propped up with good turns from Angelo Infanti and Don Powell (both returning from the first film as different characters), and not surprisingly the model turned actress slipped into obscurity after this one-shot gig.

As a skinflick Black Emanuelle No. 2 is no great shakes either. Unlike the original, the film was shot only in a soft version, and some ample female nudity aside and the highly charged opening scene, the film is low of eroticism and sleaze. Bizarrely, Albertini who co-authored the screenplay set Emanuelle up to be a mass of sexual neuroses, (which requires little onscreen action) although a threesome sequence late in the film with Dr. Paul's nymphomaniac niece (?) and a Coney Island stud (whose claim to fame is hanging an anchor off his cock) would seem to cheerfully contradict Emanuelle's problems. All told, Black Emanuelle No. 2 is a curiosity and if it was Albertini's intention to turn the Emmanuelle formula on it's head, it's an admirable one, but the film ultimately doesn't add up to much, and can only be recommended as part of a study of the entire series.

Black Emanuelle No. 2 is available as part of Severin's 3-disc boxset Black Emanaulle Box Vol. 2 from 2007. The 1.85 image looks very nice, with good detail, and only a minimal amount of grain. The audio is strong, and dialogue is perfectly clear. Two extras are offered - the theatrical trailer, and a 15-min interview with cast member Dagmar Lassander (better known as the real estate agent in House By the Cemetery) who reminisces about her acting career in Italy (but makes no mention of Black Emanuelle No. 2 !)


  1. Interesting stuff, Wes, about a series of films I know little about (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)I do remember in the late 1970s that adverts for the Emanuelle (or was it the Emmanuelle films)were often on TV - Goodbye Emmanuelle and Black Emanuelle/White Emanuelle come to mind. They seemed kind of innocent back then. I don't imagine the Just Jaekin original had hardcore stuff added...

  2. Thanks Jon, and yes, there is a kind of innocence with these first two installments of the series, then D'Amato took over and the series got...interesting.

    I'll readily admit that I do like 70's erotica. When I was becoming a teenager in the late 80's I would fantasize about all those Electric Blue tapes that would sit on the top shelves of the video store, and of course Emmanuelle with that great sleeve. Best of all though, a new cable TV company was set up in Cork, and in those early experimental days of satellite television, a multitude a European channels were piped into homes, including the German channel Sat1 which would regularly show German softcore flicks like the Schoolgirl/Nurse/Housewife Report films at the weekends - so I developed a love of sleaze from a tender age. Jeez, I hope my Mom isn't reading this...

  3. Ha Ha. Funny you should mention the Schholgirl/Nurse/Housewife report films. I have just been writing about the director Walter Boos in a piece I'm doing about exorcism movies. He directed Magdalena, Possessed by the Devil, which is not far off soft porn itself...

  4. Oh wow! this one is new to me ! Will this piece be on Shocks or Starburst (or somewhere else) ?

  5. Should be on Starburst site in the next couple of days, to tie in with the UK release of The Devil Inside.