After hundreds of films reviewed it was all but inevitable that I review an Emanuelle film. Truth be told I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed all of them by now, considering the era, genre and subject matter of film of which it seems I have become hopelessly mired. For those of you not in the know Emanuelle or rather EMMANUELLE it was the series of soft-core works originally based on the 1959 Emmanuelle Barton novel named (You guessed it) Emmanuelle. The original actress to play this character was none other than Sylvia Krystal and the early entries of this series were x rated albeit only “technically”. Nonetheless, the original films became the golden nipple ring for hardened purveyors of Euro smut all over the world. Of course, all successful films invite imitators and the Italians had their own version of Emmanuelle played by Laura Gemser and with only one “m” in the protagonist’s name. Known as the “Black Emmanuelle” Gemser’s portrayal of the international, jet setting unrepentant sensualist whose pretentious brooding hyper sexuality that was the both the cause and cure of every man’s problem made her the second best known Emmanuelle in history and perhaps even the most revered after appearing in several installments directed by the notorious Joe D’Amato. With more pornographic (alternate X version) inserts, savage yet sensualist plotlines that took sex and violence to a whole new dramatic echelon and “mean spirited” sexual assault action that was usually set to soft music and romantic instrumental themes these “Black Emmanuelle” films are indicative of a darker period for this franchise in more ways than the obvious.
It is from that second wave of Emmanuelle films that I pulled my latest film EMMANUELLE: QUEEN OF THE DESERT. While this isn’t even an official, unofficial “EMANNUELLE” film (Her character is never actually called Emannuelle but Shelia) the fact that it contains Laura Gemser who gets naked a lot and uses seduction as a deadly weapon makes this technically an Emanuelle film, even though it most certainly isn’t saying much. Further confusing a matter is the fact this film was also known under the name the THE DIRTY SEVEN which is an alternate version with a lengthy flashback sequence removed in its entirety.
Thankfully the film is pretty straightforward so I can explain it easily. Four filthy mercenaries of obvious bad intention make their way across a desert landscape to get across the border. They meet a beautiful “clothing optional” local girl who ingratiates herself into their party as a guide and shamelessly teases and torments the men by flashing her breasts and drives them to commit acts of murderous violence upon one another. Once she has liquidated about half of them the film regresses to flashback mode for over 40 minutes and we learn that they didn’t find her wandering through the desert after all, in all actuality she had been tracking them as she bore a secret grudge as undeniable as her own often naked breasts and it was a burden she would relish unleashing upon the hated men in the final ten minutes with no less subtlety. The film is valid but doubles back on itself needlessly and the “startling” plot revelation of the flick is that the desert isn’t filled with beautiful, oversexed women who wish to please your every carnal need after all. It seems some women who offer promises of sex with you and all your three best buddies may have ulterior motives of their own where they actually don’t want to have relations with you at all, but in fact only want to get close enough so you may lower your guard all so they can murder you for the bad things you did to her sister in your last stay in their village. Wow, that’s deep! How complex a creature is woman? Still the story makes basic sense even if the most authentic thing about it is the fact that the print of the film itself looks like it was lost in the desert as well for the past couple decades.
I have always felt EMMANUELLE films are the exploitation version of a Godzilla movie. Both of them have countless variants released by numerous studios that go back for decades but anyone who sees just one of them knows what to expect from all future volumes: lots of foreign accents, lots of mock violence, and a pair of big things that lay bad men everywhere low once they are exposed. When will we as men ever learn the folly of our experimentation with atomic energy and international brothels?
Extras include nothing.