“You’re a tramp, just like a sailing ship!” At least that’s what I think it says, this banshee wail shrieking accompanying the distorted high-notes of a horrible, horrible sea-shanty by The Bulldogs (the other song on here is performed by the Silky Sound Singer – perhaps we should get him a spot on The Wheeltappers?) that accompanies Emanuelle’s (Laura Gemser) voyage to Bangkok with no-nonsense archaeologist Roberto (Gabriele Tinti). In time with the ship’s grinding pistons, they while away the hours having steamy sex on the boat and then go their own separate ways when they arrive.
Emanuelle’s off to take some pictures of the reclusive Thai king, the meeting set up via one of Thailand’s many princes; more discerning viewers may be curious as to why he looks so Western, in contrast to “Black” Emanuelle’s more Oriental looks. Wherever he’s from though, he’s a tight cunt. “A woman in my company…,” he smarms, “never has to light her own cigarette or pour her own drink.” Come on man! The least you could do is buy her half-a-pint of stout! By the way, while we’re here, I just thought I ought to warn you that there’s a creepy guy wearing sunglasses, sporting a Terry Nutkins/Anthrophagus The Beast haircut following Emanuelle around Bangkok. You don’t see him too often. Not very often at all.
Emanuelle is certainly the yardstick by which all other tourists should be ruled. She doesn’t waste her time sitting on the beach eating cockles with a hankie on her head. No, she’s straight down the massage parlour for a saucy lesbian encounter with the slightly - I think “slow” would be the best word to describe her - Chi. She also rings the bell-boy’s bell when she catches him, somewhat conspicuously, spying on her (he’s just standing by the wall). Hooking up again with Roberto and a couple of wonderfully stereotypical American tourists (“We’re both Republicans too…”), complete with those horrid, nasally whining, accents that you only get in… er, get in… get in America!, they do some more exploring, watching traditional dancing, Thai boxing, cock-fighting and a mongoose and a snake fighting whilst trapped together in a glass tank. Oh, Italia! Mix this genuine animal cruelty with the odd racist comment, (“It’s not true about Chinese girls having them sideways!”), and you find yourself wondering why Emanuelle hasn’t ended the day tucking into a toasted pooch. Instead, she finishes with another Oriental tradition, a non-stop opium orgy.
We’re about halfway through the film now, and things are starting to get exciting… ish. Emanuelle’s hotel room has been trashed, her pictures nicked and her passport pinched. And the manager’s Fawlty Towers offer, “Don’t hesitate to ask if there’s anything you need!” (Tsk. Euro-humour eh?) isn’t much use when she finds herself being gang-raped by a bunch of guerrillas led by the aforementioned Anthropophagus The Dude (remember him?). Typical of this type of flick, Emanuelle and her attackers are on friendly speaking terms within minutes of the assault, and the slaphead hard rocker tells her there’s been a coup, and she should get herself out on Bangkok… fast!
Without her passport, Emanuelle has to take drastic action, and cheats immigration by dropping her knickers (so that’s how they do it! Someone inform the Daily Mail, quick!), engages in some lesbian sex in the aeroplane’s toilet (we’ve all seen enough films to know that that’s what they’re really for) on her way to Casablanca and goes straight to the American consul, becoming good (as in, “special”) friends with his weirdo daughter.
But that isn’t everyone she becomes good friends with. Way out in the middle of the desert, miles from anywhere, Roberto, in the space of just two or three days, has become engaged to moody English frump Janet, with a dubbed on upper-lip so stiff that she can no-doubt shave Roberto’s knob every time she blows him. Although at first hostile to Emanuelle, Janet finally takes to her after Emanuelle opens her mind to the pleasures of the flesh.
Understandably angry at been deserted by his wife-to-be, Roberto finally blows his top after he finds young Debbie watching him on the job with Emanuelle. “You think I’m going to rape the slut? She’d love to be fucked!” he snarls, before making cinematic history with, “God, I hate lezzas!” I bet you never expected to hear that word back in ’77! Too late though, Roberto realises that his wafer-thin nymph has fallen deeply in love with Debbie, who has now started painting pictures of Emanuelle in the buff. On the edge of your seat, desperately wondering what’s gonna happen next, you see Emanuelle walk into the airport with the painting and then the credits roll.
Aristide Maccaessi made several Black Emanuelle movies, more than series creator Bitto Albertini and Bruno Mattei, under his well known nom-de-plume, Joe D’Amato, and this is easily the tamest of the lot. D’Amato is often accused of being boring, a criticism that I must admit I don’t agree with, but at the same time D’Amato’s real trademark is his downright outrageousness, viciousness and general sleaziness that is severely lacking in Emanuelle In Bangkok. There’s two different major storylines – the coup in Bangkok and Emanuelle’s relationship – and neither are explored properly. The idea of Emanuelle struggling against her own free-love philosophy is hardly D’Amato territory anyway, more suited to Albertini, and the coup climaxing half-way through the movie is a real pisser as it could have made for a really exciting film. The fact that D’Amato tries to liven things up in this pulp-romance by inserting scenes of genuine animal cruelty is, yet again, a stark indication of the man’s general cynicism and his scorn for his audience.
If there is anything interesting about Emanuelle in Bangkok though, it’s Gabriele Tinti. Tinti is Gemser’s real life husband, and only a real dullard would fail to notice that he appears in nearly all the Black Emanuelle films, no matter who the director is. Is this because they make such a great husband and wife team, like The Krankies, perhaps? Or does Tinti just want to make sure his old lady isn’t shagging anyone else, at least not offscreen. In these films, Tinti is nearly always a good guy… even when he plays a bad guy he usually has at least one redeeming feature. Yet here, he’s a right cunt… in fact he’s only one step behind the scumbag photographer he plays (with disconcerting relish) in Black Emanuelle, White Emanuelle. Could it be that the entire Emanuelle cycle is an accurate depiction of the ups-and-downs of this pair’s relationship? Of course not, but it’s something to ponder whilst we’re waiting for D’Amato to roll some excitement our way.
Aka: Black Emanuelle Goes East, Emanuelle Nera Orient Reportage, Emmanuelle in Bangkok