Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This is a movie, ‘Black Emanuelle 2’, that I would love to know the history behind. Hot of the heels of what I assume was the ‘success’ of the absolutely putrid ‘Black Emanuelle’, the creator of that film Bitto Albertini wasted no time in getting a sequel together. But apparently the original films star Laura Gemser had moved on to do other, ‘better’ Black Emanuelle movies so Albertini needed a new star. Say hello to Shulamith Lasri, christened as Sharon Leslie in this movie. Now we here at the FCU love us some Laura Gemser, we make no bones about that considering the number of movies that feature this woman that are littered throughout this site… with almost none of these movies that we can legitimately label as ‘good’… good being relative of course. We also want to point out that Shulamith Lasri doesn’t possess Laura Gemsers smoldering screen presence or mysterious sexuality and amazingly she can’t act as well as Ms. Gemser (!) but where Laura Gemser is beautiful, Shulamith Lasri is, as we used to say, is foine. Good God almighty Lord help us is this woman fine. I’m talking Thelma on Good Times fine. I’m talking Salma Hayek in Dusk to Dawn fine, Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. fine. Eventually I’m sure we’ll get around to talking the actual movie but for now let us focus on Shulamith Lasri. A beautiful face housing sleepy gray eyes and full lups, perfect size six feet, not that I have a foot fetish or anything, and a body that could turn a gay dude straight.

Nope, not time to talk about the movie yet. Imagine my heartbreak to find out that this was Ms. Lasri’s only film role. Admittedly she might not have been Meryl Streep but surely 1970’s era exploitation film directors could’ve found some use for this woman, no? Or maybe the trauma of being groped and stared at for however long it took Albertini to film this movie was too much and she decided this just wasn’t the life for her. Perhaps she met someone soon after shooting this and just settled down for a life of domestic bliss. I need to know! Does anybody out there know? I need to know! How in the hell did thirty five years pass with me being completely unaware of this woman’s existence. It’s an outrage!

Sharon Leslie’s physical dominance aside this movie is better than ‘Black Emanuelle’ for one simple reason and that’s because Team Albertini chose to put an actual plot in this one. Emanuelle loses her memory in Beirut while her psychiatrist unlocks the secrets of her mind to get it back. That simple device keeps this movie moving forward as opposed to the stagnant ‘Black Emanuelle’ which was just us sitting around watching nothing… not even any decent exploitation… for ninety or so minutes.

Another thing that’s different in this movie is that it actually explores issues of race. The first film touched on it slightly and of course all future Black Emanuelle pretty much ignored it completely dedicating itself to sleaze but possibly because Sharon Leslie is actually Black, I think, and not Indonesian this movie had almost had a blaxploitation feel to it on a number of levels. The film had a number of black characters in major roles featuring Don Gordon showing up again as Emanuelle’s father and Percy Hogan as Emanuelle’s basketball playing husband… note that Percy Hogan really doesn’t possess much game. Emanuelle herself is race conscious and has an inherent mistrust of the White Man! Right on sista! Except her psychiatrist (Angelo Infanti) who is attempting to unlock the secrets of her mind.

Truly all of these things are appreciated. An actual plot, a little social consciousness, black people, Sharon Leslie’s existence… but the movie is still total crap. I don’t think we’d be hurting anybody’s feelings by pointing out that Bitto Albertini just wasn’t much of a film director, may he rest in peace. The same could probably be said about the late Joe D’Amato, but the man was a great exploitation film director. Joe knew how to do this kind of thing. Like the movie it follows ‘Black Emanuelle 2’ isn’t exploitative enough to truly be exploitation despite the fact it was loaded with elements begging to be exploited, and the narrative, while appreciated was so poorly told and scattershot it’s not good enough to be a regular movie either.

So what we are left with here is Shulamith Lasri and her one semi-comatose performance in the first and last movie that this woman would ever appear in. If the lady had just showed up in any other movie doing anything else… waiting tables, feeding pigeons, hang gliding… and if she was doing these things naked we wouldn’t recommend that exploitation fans watch this nonsense but considering this it… I’m sorry but you have to watch it now. Where are you Shulamith? We know, assuming you are still with us, that you have to be pushing hard on sixty about now… but we need to know why they took you away from us before you even had a chance to get started. It’s an outrage.

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