Thursday, November 20, 2008
When I was a kid I was really intrigued by the “forbidden movies” of the time. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s some movie theaters specialized in adult movies. These were mainly the Cinema Condado (next to the Chinese restaurant, near the Condado Beach hotel, its lobby faced the lagoon), the Miramar (now Fine Arts) and the Excelsior (now ‘El Josco”). I recall seeing the movie posters while walking around and wondering what the fuss was all about.
I had to wait quite a while to finally see these movies. The VCR and late night cable tv made some of these movies available to everyone. So I saw many of them.
One of the first ones I saw was “Emmanuelle” starring Sylvia Kristel. This one played at the Cinema Condado for ages, and I mean ages, it was there for probably close to a year.
It had a reputation for being a classy, couples oriented, sophisticated x-rated movie. And the excellent movie poster certainly portrayed that. It is one of the most creative movie posters of all time.
As for the movie itself, I guess it’s one of those things in which “you had to be there.” I imagine that in the early 1970’s, it was groundbreaking to see a movie that treated sex with some degree of seriousness. But the fact is that this seriousness can now be seen as pretentious and silly. The worst part is the air of terrible self-importance in every line and opinion about sex expressed in the movie.
The movie, of course, has Sylvia Kristel, a truly beautiful woman. So different from the generic porno actresses with fake boobs we see today in late night cable porn fare. She is a sight to behold. And her casual attitude towards sex and nudity is healthy, refreshing, endearing and oh, so European. She makes this movie watchable. This film would have been unbearable without her presence.
The movie was such a hit for Columbia Pictures (a mainstream studio doing “softcore-love the 1970’s!) that two more Kristel movies were made. There was also an onslaught of fake “ Emanuelle” with one “m” that were a pretty bizarre bunch. But to me, there is only one Emmanuelle, she has two “m’s in her name and her name is Sylvia Kristel.