In Emanuelle in Bangkok (1976), director Joe D’Amato and lead actress Laura Gemser continue their quest to take the intrepid reporter Emanuelle worldwide. On another journalism assignment, Emanuelle finds herself in Thailand where she does little professional work but learns a lot about herself personally… And takes the odd photograph or two.
So what can you expect from this entry into the Black Emanuelle film series? Pretty much the same as the rest of them. Opening with a Suspiria inspired shot of an incredibly bored looking Emanuelle trying to develop her photographs whilst her suitor tries to seduce her (she has a face like a slapped arse that screams ‘Fuck off‘), D’Amato instantly sets the tone for the rest of the film. Yes this is Emanuelle but it has none of the eroticism that Bitto Albertini and Gemser displayed in Black Emanuelle which was only released the year before. The sex scenes feel like neither party can really be bothered, wanting to get it done and out-of-the-way quickly because they both have work the next day. An orgy scene in particular finishes as quickly as it started and feel’s as wooden as your friend with erectile dysfunction’s penis. Exactly what you want to pay for when you go and see a sexploitation/softcore porno… Gemser even struggles to try to look like she’s interested, let alone enjoying, the full body massages she gets, as if fed up of their monotony. As much as I don’t like it, credit must be given to Just Jaeckin who at least managed to get his Emannuelle (Sylvia Kristel) seduced not only by her love interests but by the city of Bangkok itself and the culture. Here it just feels like Emanuelle the character and D’Amato couldn’t give a shit about anything.
It’s a real shame because Laura Gemser shines as the Black Emanuelle, her beauty and natural sensuality making her far more superior than the original Emmanuelle Kristel from which the Black Emanuelle series stemmed from. Whilst Gemser looks gorgeous here as she usually does, she’s absolutely wasted acting wise with scenes that are lack lustre and a plot so threadbare (something about a lost passport… I think…?) it makes other sexploitation films with no plot look like The Godfather. Gemser is far better in Black Emanuelle and Emanuelle In Prison, whilst a more competent Gemser/D’Amato collaboration would be Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, a fantastic film released the year after Emanuelle in Bangkok. If this is Emanuelle trying to sell me Bangkok, I’d rather go to Skegness.