Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Black Emanuelle 2 (1976)

Character Name: Emanuelle Richman
Actress: Shulamith Lasri
Actual Movie Title: Emanuelle Nera No. 2
Known Aliases: The New Black Emanuelle; Black Emanuelle No. 2; Black Emanuelle 2
Country of Origin: Italy
Character Nationality: U.S.A.
Character Age: 23
Occupation: Model
Religion: Catholic
Married: Fred Morgan on April 19, 1973 at St. Paul's Church
Locales: Beirut, Venice, Manhattan
Release Date: July 31, 1976 (Italy)
Director: Bitto Albertini
DVD: Black Emanuelle's Box, Vol. 2 (1976-1978)
Stats: Second Black Emanuelle #2

Story: The movie starts with a black screen and the words "THE SICKNESS THAT DISTURB ME MOST IS MYSELF," attributed to Sigmund Freud. Next, we see the new, African-descended Emanuelle fully nude with her arms bound above her head. She's whipped bloody by a medieval torturer and ordered to speak, but refuses. Next, she's barking in a bamboo cage in the jungle, wearing skins, as a white poacher threatens her with a pitchfork. Next, she's taunted in a Latin prison by a knife wielding officer who cuts the threading of her dress to expose her large breast. Next she's kicked to the forest floor by a guerrilla, again demanded to speak. Next she's manhandled under the hot lamp in a jailhouse interrogation.

That was the title sequence. It had nothing much to do with anything, and it's all downhill from there.

The new Black Emanuelle's story really begins in a mental health clinic, where she's suffering from amnesia and wild delusions. We are told she was in Beirut in January 1976, where we're shown a surprisingly well staged action sequence, as warring factions exchange gunfire on a ravaged street. The world-famous model is being guided through the chaos by her photographer, John Farmer, but an explosion knocks her unconscious. From there we're back to the booby hatch.

Her therapist Paul (Angelo Infanti, a young Martin Landau lookalike) is trying to help Emanuelle Richman regain her memory. He's less concerned with his recently-returned niece Sharon, who sees her routine institutionalization as a vacation and opportunity to seduce her fellows. Paul also has an attention-starved wife at home, Susan (Dagmar Lassander,) who pouts that the clinic has "widowed" her.

Paul sets about investigating Emanuelle's past, starting with what looks to be the same newspaper/magazine offices the Laura Gemser Emanuelle works out of. Paul questions the photographer, John Farmer, who has a great professional relationship with his model, but tense personal one. Per his account, Emanuelle once seduced him, only to violently spurn him before actually copulating, screaming he was a "filthy pig." Emanuelle later claimed she was the one seduced, but the photographer attacked her while wearing black leather and a red motorcycle helmet.

Emanuelle next recalled her father, who she said was a ghetto alcoholic trumpet player who tried to molest her. We're even treated to his vomiting in a gutter, which sure turned me on. Thing is, Emanuelle's father came to visit her, well-dressed, and never having had a drink in his life. He was a musician, but mostly played piano, as well as guitar and cello. He revealed his daughter's mother had died in childbirth, and "left us both pretty lonely." Mr. Richman (Don Powell) played night clubs, while Emanuelle grew up isolated, but otherwise average. "Except that I think she was more intelligent than most kids." She grew up in Harlem with Fred Morgan (Percy Hogan.)

Emanuelle became friendly with a nurse named Gloria over her stay, who was sleeping with the night watchman. Overbearing niece Sharon thrust herself into Emanuelle's life, declaring all psychiatrists "voyeurs," then began manipulating Emanuelle for her own satisfaction. While playing an audio tape relating Emanuelle's childhood arousal at watching animals mate, the pair engage in brief mutual masturbation.

Mr. Richman visited Emanuelle's estranged husband Fred Morgan in the city, hoping he could help his daughter, but was refused. Richman then visited Emanuelle for the first time since her arrival at Paul's approval, but she didn't recognize her own father. With concentration, she saw him as the fictionalized derelict, and then as husband Fred, who she tried to make out with. Mr. Richman pushed her away when she went for his pants, and he left her room in tears.

Fred Morgan, famed pro basketball player (formerly of the Black Tigers, now with the Five Stars) was interviewed by Paul (posing as a columnist) about his temporary decline on the court two years earlier. Fred blamed Emanuelle's sexual insatiability, and forsook the marriage for his game.

Sharon talked Emanuelle into drunken nude body painting and cavorting in the only extended sequence of interest. Sharon then triggered an alarm, left Emanuelle sauced on an observation room floor, showered, and called her uncle's wife to insinuate he was having an affair with Emanuelle. Paul figured out who was behind the debacle, and quelled his wife's fears.

A long dull period sets in here, partially involving a silly subplot with a committed military general. Fred remembers his romance with Emanuelle, including their near-first time at the beach. Just as suddenly as she wanted sex, Emanuelle threatened Fred away with a rock, calling him "filthy." Their attempts at sex always floundered. On their wedding night, she revealed she wasn't a virgin, and had been with many men, perhaps white-- she couldn't remember. After that confession and with Fred's tenderness, Emanuelle switched from frigid to ravenous with her husband.

Paul made up with his wife. Sharon took Emanuelle to the shore for an awkward three-way with a well hung beach bum. Emanuelle was reunited with Fred, her mind envisioning their wedding day as present. Fred later hooked-up with Sharon, who called to tell Emanuelle in the midst of the action. Emanuelle remembered a motorcycle accident. Paul's research into archived newspapers turned up an article (sics-o-plenty):

"The red helmets strike again

Sam and Emanuelle Richman, a young negro brother and sister, were attached last night by this violent and elusive gang.

Sam died under the vicious blows of the as-sassins. His sister is will recover within five days. The Police are working in the dark."

Paul confronted Mr. Richman with the new evidence, the key to Emanuelle's fractured psyche. Dad was all out of the town at the time, like that mattered when it came to revealing this huge trauma, or leading the audience on that Emanuelle was an only child. The movie eats itself. Paul leads Emanuelle to a motorcycle stunt show, which triggers the repressed memory of Sam's murder and her rape. Emanuelle is cured and released from the hospital.

Emanuelle is forced to choose who she'll leave with: her father, her husband, and (out of nowhere) the photographer John Farmer. A figure rides up on a motorcycle, covered in leather with a red helmet. It's crazy niece Sharon, with whom Emanuelle rides off to catch a plane to Maui. Paul and his wife go to see Mr. Richman play.

Notes: In regard to its place in the "Emanuelle Nera" cannon, this was "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch." It's a series entry with a numerical designation, but was released after the second Laura Gemser entry, and featured entirely different characters and situations of limited interest to fans.

Summation: The second Black Emanuelle is actually black for a change, but she's no Emanuelle. While attractive and questing, this Emanuelle has a full backstory and crippling inhibitions that separate her almost entirely from all others. While this entry is probably the best written movie of the Black Emanuelle series, as it has a proper story, it's also the closest to a wet blanket with its frustrating lack of healthy sexuality. The sex scenes are perplexing in their brevity and interruptus. Ultimately, unlike the Emmanuelle series, Black Emanuelle is really defined by one actress, Laura Gemser. Saddled with a script that confused neurosis with sexploitation, Shulamith Lasri never stood a chance of unseating her, and she never made another picture. There are so many unrelated Laura Gemser movies re-branded as "Emanuelle," it's easy to forget this number and assign any one of them the role as second in the series.

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