23 March, 2007

BLACK EMANUELLE'S BOX: Continued



Just to clarify my comments concerning the runtime of EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD. The soft version included in the boxset is a legitimate release version and complete in that regard. I'll be covering Severin's DVD of the XXX Euro version but it must be noted that, as with Jess Franco's LA COMTESSE NOIRE, a non hardcore version was shot for some markets and a XXX cut prepared for other territories. I should note that these are the only versions I have seen to date, there may be more out there.

As illustrated by the above collage the two D'Amato directed features are presented with the original US release adverts on the covers, while the CD is illustrated with the original vinyl EMANUELLE NERA cover. Giuseppe Vari's SISTER EMANUELLE is presented with a promo still of Laura Gemser in her shocking white nunsploitation gear with Euro-hottie Monica Zanchi (EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS) kneeling before her in birthday suit. I wish the film itself were as provocative as the DVD cover.

Shot entirely in Italia, SUOR EMANUELLE suffers from the loss of D'Amato as its director/cinematographer and especially from the lack of another deliciously quirky Nico Fidenco soundtrack. This DVD has the same specs as the other two and is a nice transfer from almost pristine elements. It's nowhere near as deliriously colorful as the other two, but that's because DP Gugliemo Mancori had mostly dreary castle interiors to light. This one is best watched in Italian with the English subtitles on since all the action takes place either in Venice or the castello doubling as a school for wayward girls. Note that the castello is the same location used in BLOODY PIT OF HORROR and numerous other Italian horror films of the 1960s and 70s. The real problem with this film starts with Mario Onorati's script which has Emanuelle suffering for her past "sins" under the watchful eye of the stern mother superior, who chides her for such "blasphemies" as not wearing her "chastity" undergarments. You don't want to have Emanuelle stuck in this situation for the entire runtime, although they do come up with a DEAD OF NIGHT style twist to liberate her at the end.

With the exception of some erotic flashbacks, showing how Monica Zanchi got there (for seducing her stepmom), everything which occurs is rather dull and predictable. Ms. Zanchi does heat up the proceedings by having close encounters with everyone in sight, including an escaped convict (a very welcome Gabriele Tinti), but one longs for the wilder international adventures and exotic tone of the D'Amato Emanuelle entries. It's all shot from absolutely static camera positions which leave one wondering why Vari and Mancori didn't bother to compose an occasional inventive image to create some visual interest. The energetic wind and percussion cues of maestro Stelvio Cipriani try hard but just can't make up for the absence of one of Fidenco's infectious Emanuelle themes. His work is craftsmanlike but it's not one of Cipriani's more memorable scores. This one is all by the numbers.

Four deleted scenes in Italian language only, featuring brief glimpses of hardcore action performed by body doubles for Gemser and Zanchi, are included. But even if they were inserted into the feature it wouldn't help much. One is appreciative that they are available here even if the very soft picture quality (are they sourced from an Italian vhs?) is way below the quality of the feature print. The English language theatrical trailer, letterboxed and in good quality, is also included. All told, this is an excellent presentation of one of the lesser Black Emanuelle titles. It just confirms that Bitto Albertini and D'Amato were really the prime movers of this series.

Also included as an extra are an array of postcard sized Italian adverts for the features. They're colorful and fun to look at. It's all packageed in an appropriately black box which features a glossy image of the sultry Ms Gemser staring out from a window cut out of the gatefold cover. The cover opens up to reveal her svelte torso, nude from the waist up. It's a great cover and a terrific boxset. I await Vol. 2 with high hopes. By my count, Gemser made at least eight Black Emanuelle films between 1976 and 1983 so there's a lot of material to choose from out there.

As stated before Severin's separate disc,the XXX Euroversion of EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD,contains several scenes of hardcore action. They involve scenes of group sex and two instances of bestiality. I'm not going to describe them in detail, you'll have to discover them for yourself. The do appear to have been shot at the same time as the feature as altenate footage for a version intended for select adult markets. They are just XXX extensions of scenes already in the soft version and they really don't add much to the film except for 4 or 5 extra minutes. It will be of some value to Eurocult collectors and D'Amato completists. Laura Gemser wasn't directly involved in any of the hardcore footage. In any case, she always had a body double for hardcore scenes where her presence was implied. Any information or comments on the variances between these two versions of EATW is very welcome in the comment section below. This is my first exposure to both versions. It might be interesting to come up with some suggestions for a Vol. 2 BLACK EMANUELLE Box.

(c) Robert Monell, 2007

3 comments:

Jan said...

Hi there,

Not related to your post, but have you see this: http://bxzzines.blogspot.com/2006/10/jess-franco-sex-stars-system-n1-051975.html
?
Jan

Robert Monell said...

Thanks, and welcome to the blog. I'll check it out.

Buko-san said...

Whoa ! Many thanks Jan !Interesting discovery you made there. Got some more reading to do more. :)