Thursday, June 3, 2021

EMANUELLE AND THE WHITE SLAVE TRADE (1978) (Full Moon Features Blu-ray Review)


Label: Full Moon Features
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 82 Minutes 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 Surround (No Subtitles) 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Joe D'Amato
Cast: Gabriele Tinti, Ely Galleani, Laura Gemser, Gota Gobert, Nicola D'Eramo

Laura Gemser returns to the role that made her famous in Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade (1978), which was directed by Joe D'Amato (Anthropophagous), who made some of the more sensational and shocking Black Emanuelle entries, including Emanuelle in America and Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals. In it eurocult goddess Gemser plays horny photojournalist Emanuelle, who in this entry is out to expose the white slave trade. 

At the start of the film Emanuelle teams-up with comely model Susan (Ely Galleani, A Lizard In A Woman's Skin), as they set out to find an elusive mafia boss in Kenya, but they are sidetracked when Susan makes a pitstop at a car mechanics to have her undercarriage tuned-up; i.e. having sex in the grease pit while Emanuelle stays inside the car and masturbates to the sexy happening. Then it's off to the airport disguised as stewardesses to get close to an elusive Prince. While at the airport Emanuelle sees a weird exchange with a guy named Francis (Gabriele Tinti, Violence in a Women's Prison) seemingly exchanging a young woman in a wheelchair for a suitcase full of cash, which puts the horny reporter on the trail of a new, more interesting story - the white slave trade! She tracks down Francis in New York and goes undercover to attract his attention, and he likes what he sees and recruits her into the sex trade, run by the high-stakes Madame Claude (Gota Gobert, Emanuelle in America), who caters to the perversions of the rich and powerful, including at least one U.S. senator. 

The globe-trotting erotic romp takes from Africa and New York City before heading to the West Coast where most of the story plays out. Having Joe D'Amato at the helm for a white slave trade plot sounds like it would be a fun, exploitation gig but the filmmaking dial has clearly been set to "recycle", and what we get is a long-padded travelogue with copious amounts of nude modeling montages and stock-footage African safaris. Now do not get me wrong, there's still plenty of sex and nudity, Gemser and Galleani are easy on the eyes, but the story and production around them are clearly on auto-pilot and no one seems interested in making an overly interesting movie, let alone coming up with new ideas.

The best material here is the white slave trade stuff with Emanuelle undercover, snapping photos with her Zippo spy-camera, and peeping people through keyholes, but it takes a good while to get there and it never really digs into it.  My favorite stuff is the Madame's right-hand drag-queen, a guy named Stefan (Nicola D'Eramo, Poliziotti Violenti), who aligns himself with Emanuelle after sleeping with her, but ends up in a bowling alley brawl with head smashed in with a bowling pin; it's a definite highlight of the film, but there's not enough of that sort of violent action. The flick also offers plenty of sex complete with multiple lesbian trysts, three-ways, and boning a few too many old men along the way, but it's all a bit tame and none of the couplings have any chemistry whatsoever, aside from the non-sex stuff with Gemser and her then husband Gabriele Tinti. There's nothing even approaching the shocking shenanigans of Emanuelle in America, but hey, there's plenty of nudity, the cinematography is decent, and the score from Nico Fidenco is pretty great, so it's still an entertaining slice of eurocult starring the alluring Laura Gemser

Audio/Video: Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade (1978) arrives on Blu-ray from Full Moon Features and is advertised as "uncut and remastered in HD", in 1080p HD and framed in 1.85:1 widescreen. There's no information about the source of the HD scan but it's a mixed bag, colors look great throughout and the source is in great shape, but the grain looks scrubbed and digitally-manipulated, leaving is with plasticine features and compression artifacts. 

Audio comes by way of English-dubbed 2.0 stereo or 5.1 surround Dolby Digital with no subtitle options. Sadly Full Moon are still in the early 2000's when it comes to audio upgrades, but the compressed track is decent enough for what it is. I thought the surround option offered the most direct action, and II thought the score from Nico Fidenco (Emanuelle and the Last Cannibalswas pretty fantastic, you will be hard-pressed to remove the tune "Run Cheetah Run" from ear ear-holes, and overall it's a pretty swanky disc-era score. Sadly the only extras are eight-minutes of trailers a handful of euro-cult titles. 

Special Features:
- Trailers: Barbed Wire Dolls (1 min), Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (3 min), Naked Girl Murdered in the Park (1 min),  Satanic Sisters (1 min), Voodoo Passion (1 min), Women in Cell Block 9 (1 min) 

Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade (1978) was to be Italian director Joe D'Amato's last entry in the Black Emanuelle series, and it's showing signs of fatigue, leaning too heavily on the earlier entries, but Gemser is still a goddess and a joy to behold in all her many nude sex scenes. It's great to see Full Moon continuing to release these euro-cult titles, I hope they sell a bunch, cause I want to see tons more on the way soon. 

Screenshots from the Full Moon Blu-ray: