An illustrated guide to the classic erotic film series and the many, many copycats, spin-offs and spoofs that came in its wake.
Taken from the novel by Emmanuelle Arsen, Emmanuelle was one of the biggest cinematic hits of the 1970s – a soft-focus, softcore alternative to the hardcore explosion of the time, it had a wide appeal to audiences – couples in particular – who wanted some erotic thrills without the graphic penetration shots. Inevitably, the slickly-made film spawned a handful of immediate sequels but it also gave way to a host of imitators, which managed to use the Emmanuelle name simply by tweaking the spelling slightly (usually to ‘Emanuelle’). You can’t help but think that the producers needed better lawyers.
Ironically, in the 1980s, the official Emmanuelle films began to resemble the copycats, with a conveyer belt of increasingly forgettable new actresses replacing Sylvia Kristel and a series of outlandish plots that included pitting her against Dracula and sending her into space. The most recent incarnation has been American adult star Allie Haze, who has played the role in the direct-to-video Emmanuelle Through Time series.
You can read the full story of the rise and fall of the official series here.
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