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  Emanuelle in America In Search Of The Story Of The Century
Year: 1977
Director: Joe D'Amato
Stars: Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Roger Browne, Ricardo Salvino, Lars Bloch, Paola Senatore, Maria Piera Regoli, Giulio Bianchi, Efrem Appel, Matilde Dall'Aglio, Carlo Foschi, Maria Renata Franco, Giulio Massimi, Stefania Nocilli
Genre: Horror, Drama, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) is a top photographer who now resides in New York, mostly doing fashion and glamour shoots for magazines, but she is yearning to get back into journalism. What prompts her to return to that direction is when she emerges from her studio onto the city streets, gets into her car and drives off home, only to find there is someone in the back seat pointing a gun at her. He turns out to be the boyfriend of one of her models, threatening to kill her for her lack of morals that he thinks has rubbed off on his girlfriend...

Don't worry, Emanuelle isn't killed off in the first ten minutes of her movie as she has an unorthodox method of escaping that kind of fate, although as this is one in a series of rip-off softcore films to star Gemser, maybe you won't be too surprised at what she comes up with. Besides, there was a lot more to concern the unwary viewers as this became one of the more notorious cinematic efforts to hail from Italy in its heyday of bad taste, the nineteen-seventies. Here what started as a simple enough nudie flick evolved into hardcore, and then took a left turn into outright horror.

If you were unprepared for such developments then you had a right to be shocked, and there were parts of this which made for undeniably uncomfortable viewing. Indeed, there are certain movies, and this decade featured more of them than most, which leave you wondering "Who exactly was this for?" - no surprise for sleaze fans that the man behind the camera was none other than Joe D'Amato, a pornographer who also made forays into genre cinema. Here he had evidently opted to combine the two, with a half-arsed message about the decadent rich into the bargain: the wealthy are not like us, you see, for they revel in depravity given the chance.

Thus Emanuelle spent the first act of the story visiting a millionaire's mansion and private grounds, pretending to be one of his kept women but actually implementing her trusty hidden camera (concealed in an item of costume jewelry) to snap pics of the naughty goings-on there between the owner, his friends, and the ladies who spend their time lounging by the pool when not called upon to service these businessmen. Throw in a scene of horse masturbation (see what I mean - who wanted to watch that?) and you had a softcore film that took a turn into hardcore when Emanuelle visited a duke's palace in Venice.

There he holds an orgy where it should be noted the only cast members getting into the real thing were anonymous extras as Gemser may have been willing to disrobe for the camera, but she wasn't going any further than that. So far, so pages of Penthouse magazine travelogue, but when she alights upon a getaway for rich women to be pleasured by hunky studs (not of the horse variety) our heroine catches an extreme film reel - she's actually stumbled upon a snuff movie! Now, if you happened to be enjoying the sex, this twist will likely put you right off your good mood, as the footage was as grotty as the myth of snuff always made you believe.

This urban legend raised its ugly head around this time and had even been the centrepiece of another film, called Snuff, an infamous hoax that fooled few but proved lucrative, so D'Amato, true to exploitation form, plonked his own version of it for something to liven up the end of this, with a U.S. Senator showing his private copy to Em, and then taking her to see the stuff being shot. At least that's what she believes, as he drugged her beforehand - a simple way of playing up the corruption of the powers that be in a manner outright foolish if it were not so unpleasant. What would be the start of a grim thriller in other hands is the end of our tale here, with only a lame joke as the punchline that kids with the audience's perception of what they've seen, basically all a fake, and leaves that lingering question: seriously, WTF?! Music by Nico Fidenco.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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