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Soft-core classic with Sylvia Kristel as the inexperienced wife of a diplomat who embarks on an erotic journey of self-discovery in the steamy climes of Bangkok. The superbly monikered Just Jaekin made porn semi-respectable with his adaptation of Emmanuelle Arsan's steamy underground classic. He also practically invented lipstick lesbianism, fuelled the fantasies of teenage boys everywhere and created an unlikely feminist icon in the process (well, in the sense that Emmanuelle is sexually liberated - lets not stretch that point too far).
"Emmanuelle" is a silly, classy, enjoyable erotic film that became an all-time box-office success in France. It's not remotely significant enough to deserve that honor, but in terms of its genre (soft-core skin flick) it's very well done: lushly photographed on location in Thailand, filled with attractive and intriguing people, and scored with brittle, teasing music. Now that hard-core porno has become passe, it's a relief to see a movie that drops the gynecology and returns to a certain amount of sexy sophistication.
Theatrical Release: June 26th, 1974
DVD Review: Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.12 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||French (Dolby Digital 2.0) , DUB: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)|
|Subtitles||English, Spanish, None|
An Erotic Success: The Making of Emmanuelle (53:56)
NOTE: Eric tells us: "The LionsGate transfer is not a new one. The older Studio Canal logo suggests its the same transfer used for the OOP Anchor Bay disc. Its also single-layer sized on a dual-layer disc to accommodate the nearly ninety minutes of documentaries. The first documentary was very informative about Jaeckin's contributions to the film. I always assumed that he was the force behind it and that it looked kind of bland because he was inexperienced as a director and just recreating the look of his fashion photography on film (soft focus, star filters, etc) but now I wonder how much of the beauty of the more assured and stylistically superior STORY OF O he is responsible for (especially when I learned that that horrible opening shot was done by him)."
Funnily enough the Lionsgate package, just like the film, is attempting to exhibit some class... but falling short of the mark. Firstly, lets talk about the case - the worst I have ever had the displeasure of trying to open. A weak cardboard box holds a vacuum sealed digipak case that takes several minutes to unravel - it has some black shiny images of females and holds just one disc in a lightweight compartment.
The Lionsgate image is quite dirty - it is apparent no cleaning restoration has been done and the colors are correspondingly faded. It is not especially sharp but the 1.66 original ratio is maintained in an anamorphic, progressive, dual-layered transfer. I appreciate, as with other Lionsgate world cinema releases, that I don't see excessive manipulation. The original French audio, at times on the quiet side, is supported by English or Spanish subtitles and there is an English DUB offered.
There are two fairly good featurettes as supplements. A 'Making of...' that lasts almost an hour and covers a lot of ground with input from many good sources. The film's production history is actually more intriguing than the main feature. And almost a half hours worth of marketing of the soft-porn classic entitled Soft Sell: Emmanuelle in America. Again it had some decent value.
Bottom line: I wouldn't let yourself get too seduced by this film (or Miss Kristel) - I mean its massively better and more erotic than Caligula, but that certainly isn't the highest complement I can give a soft-porn film. It has some history and its silliness has some charm... I don't know - it's up to you - you might prefer Rochelle, Rochelle.