BRUNO MATTEI WEEK: Emanuelle and Francoise (1975)

This movie is quite literally the Batman and Superman of Italian sleaze filmmaking uniting to create some art. Those two men have many, many names, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll use the names that they used most often: Joe D’Amato and Bruno Mattei.

Producer Franco Gaudenzi wanted to bring the movie The Wild Pussycat to Italy, but it would have never made it past the Italian censors. For some reason, if the movie was made in Italy, it would pass. This is the country where it’s legal to call your movie Zombi 2, but illegal to use Mrs. Ward’s name. Let’s forget the complexities of law when it comes to exploitation cinema and move on.

D’Amato and Mattei took up the challenge of remaking this movie for Italian audiences with both writing the script and co-directing the picture, even if only D’Amato got directing credit. What was important for the producers was that the film could play theaters and it passed the Italian censorship board on November 5, 1975 after some lesbian elements and scenes with sodomy were removed.

Ironically, when this was brought to Switzerland by Erwin C. Dietrich, he added in actual hardcore scenes with French actress Brigitte Lahaie (who is in Fascination) and dubbed it into German, releasing it as Foltergarten der Sinnlichkeit (Torture Garden of Sensuality) and Die Lady mit der Pussycat (The Lady with the Pussycat).

Truly, scumbag pictures bring all the nations of the world together, do they not?

Francoise (Patrizia Gori, The Return of the Exorcist) has had enough of the abuse from her gambler cad of a husband Carlo (George Eastman!), so she jumps in front of a train. Her sister Emanuelle — no, not Laura Gemser just yet, she’s played here by Rosemarie Lindt from Salon Kitty — gets revenge by drugging Carlo and restraining him in a soundproof room. There, she teases him through two-way mirrored glass as he’s forced to watch her make love to numerous men and women, all while he’s repeatedly dosed with LSD.

Finally, Emanuelle enters the room and attempts to castrate Carlo, who has been repeatedly fantasizing about killing her and finally does so for real. His joy is short-lived as while he’s hiding in the secret room, he gets locked in and the police closed down the crime scene for thirty days, basically leaving him to die.

Also known as Emanuelle’s RevengeBlood Vengeance and Demon Rage, this is exactly the kind of movie that you’d imagine D’Amato and Mattei would make together, filled with numerous sex scenes, frequently spinning and zooming camera angles and a cannibalistic feast sequence.

Back when we reviewed Emanuelle In America, the guys at Severin said, “If you thought that was rough, watch this one.” Their release has a great George Eastman interview in which he says that  D’Amato had the ability to do bigger and better things, but preferred doing ten B movies a year than one A film. You can get the Severin edition of this film and see just how good-looking a completely irredeemable piece of trash — I say that with love — can look.

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