I'm going to horrify everyone right now. Although I was a young child in the 1970s when the softcore porn Emmanuelle movies came out, I remember seeing portions of them. I have no idea how. Did they run on late night TV? I generally watched whatever I liked on television as a child, my mother being the opposite of a helicopter parent. Although the movies obviously contained sex, I don't remember any sex. (Maybe they were edited for TV? Was I too young to know what I was seeing?) But I do remember the exotic locations, the strangely dubbed voices, the woo-woo music, the surreal '70s vibe, and, of course, the beautiful face of Emmanuelle. The first actress to play her was a woman named Sylvia Kristel, who has died of cancer at age 60.
In the movies, Emmanuelle is a beautiful young woman (usually brunette) and free spirit who runs around the globe having various sexual adventures. This was the '70s, you know, so a woman could run around having sexual adventures without any talk of AIDS mucking things up.
Sylvia, who starred in the first and most successful of the series, was Dutch but the movie was made in French. It was such a hit that it inspired a franchise that went on for four decades. (Somehow I doubt the newer films are as interesting.) After Emmanuelle, Sylvia eventually moved to Hollywood and starred in several other films, but eventually gave up being an actress because she couldn't get any roles that didn't require her taking her clothes off.
The '60s and '70s were a fecund time for erotic movies -- films like Deep Throat and I Am Curious Yellow went mainstream. I'm not really sure you could get away with it today. When it comes to violence, movies are as gory as they've ever been. But we seem to be in a Victorian Era when it comes to sex. Which is why it's sort of interesting that Fifty Shades of Grey is so popular right now. Makes you wonder if they'll somehow cut out all of the sex in the movie version! Or, maybe if that film is successful, we'll start seeing more erotic films again (ones where the heroine likes sex but doesn't also like to kill!)
Here's the original trailer for Emmanuelle, the first movie that "let's you feel good without feeling bad" (as the narrator puts it). The trailer seems pretty tame to me, but if you're worried, wait until you're in the privacy of your own boudoir to watch it. Better yet, if you're curious about the movies, a lot of them are on Netflix. Could make it a fun indoor weekend!
Do you remember the Emmanuelle movies?
Image via YouTube